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Friday, July 24, 2015

Family Friday: Teaching Respect

Written by Dr.Robert Hooker

One of the biggest problems we have in child rearing is getting our young people to understand early on to respect authority and to seek and honor wisdom. Leviticus 19:32 "Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the Lord." Of course not every gray head is filled with God’s wisdom and that is why we have Proverbs 16:31 "The hoary head is a crown of glory,if it be found in the way of righteousness.

It is essential that as we get older and move into the grandparent stage that we continue in righteousness, following the Lord. It is also essential that when we are young parents that we begin early to teach our children to respect their elders, leaders, teachers, pastors, grandparents. The failure to lead them to respect will, in fact, lead them to a paradox- a right that is wrong. The scripture says that there is a man that does right, but it is right in his own eyes. Proverbs 12:15 “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes:but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.
The man that does right, but it is his right and not authorities right- not leaderships right- not God’s right- is a fool. This is a dangerous place for our children to be, for there are other attributes of a fool.  Both Psalms and Proverbs teaches us that a fool denies God, a fool refuses correction, a fool lacks understanding, a fool is rebellious and prideful. These are just some of the characteristics of a fool and it all begins when a young person is allowed to believe that his way is the right way. They will think, feel and say “I am not doing anything wrong” because they follow only their own heart, not understanding that what they are so sure is right is often very wrong.

This all begins early in child rearing when we spoil them and allow them to have their own way, rather than disciplining, correcting and teaching them. This lack of discipline, that the world promotes, teaches and pushes, has led us to a generation described in Proverbs 30:11-14,“There is a generation that curseth their father,and doth not bless their mother. There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes,and yet is not washed from their filthiness. There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes!and their eyelids are lifted up. There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth,and the needy from among men.“ 
Lack of loving correction leads to spoiled, selfish children who bring heartache to their parents and to society and all the while they are doing right, but THEIR right which is wrong.

This training begins when they are very young. Have you ever been in a store and watched a child throwing a tantrum and screaming their lungs out to get something they wanted? So often the frazzled parent hands them the item just to shut them up. This is training the child to continue this behavior to make sure they get what they want. The answer is to let it be known from the beginning that the moment they cry for something, that the item is automatically eliminated and they will not get it. A right attitude may bring the reward they desire, but a wrong attitude will definitely eliminate it. This made shopping with 6 children a lot more pleasant and they learned early on that their way was not always the right way.
It is not always easy at times to rear and teach your children this, but the effort is worth it, for the result is children who live blessed lives. My wife will tell you that there were times when a child was misbehaving in a store and throwing a fit that she left her cart in the store, took the child out to the car or even home, at times, in order to instruct them in having a right attitude. If the child knew that they were going to be in big trouble if mom had to leave a store and this training would be greatly intensified. This also cut down on temper tantrums.
At some point, training has to be more important than the demands of life. I have traveled to foreign countries where economically they struggle, but when it comes to a respect for the older generation they often surpass America. Many of these lands understand that with age comes the opportunity for great wisdom and experience. This is also what scripture teaches. Today in America the older generation is shoved into a corner, relegated to insignificance because they may not understand technology. This generation again thinks it is right to believe that intellect and knowledge equates to wisdom, but again this right is often wrong. Wisdom is obtained through the Word of God, from wise men and from life experience. Teach your children to respect the gray head and they will be truly right for learning right from those who have learned right which means that they will know a right that is right and not wrong.

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