Thursday, February 21, 2013

Some thoughts about parenting and how vital it is to society

A word to myself that someone else might enjoy...

"Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart." (Proverbs 29:17 ESV)

This verse has rattled around in my head all day. I can speak for both Care and myself and say, we really do desire our children to be disciplined disciples as they go through life. We pray for that. We know God must make us finer folks, growing constantly in both who we are as disciples and as parents. We know the only way to help our children grow is to be growing right along with them.

Two things...

I know my children have free will. I know they are sinners. I know they need to be responsible, be held accountable, make decisions for themselves at times and must, themselves, have a growing relationship with the Lord. I know we / they will constantly be pushing back against the enemy, the world, the culture and the flesh. I know people tell me the teenage years will change everything and I'll lose those sweet little girls into bitter teen years (I don't receive that!). I am aware of the realities, but I am looking unto the Lord, from whom my help comes.

I work with young people. I see a lot. It's tough being young. It's tough being a family. It's tough parenting. I am aware of these realities, too. Many folks in our culture aren't parenting very intentionally. Sure, young people eat and have a place to sleep (for the most part), but many aren't being trained unto righteousness.

Discipline is missing in our culture. I don't mean yelling and beating people. That's alive and well. I mean formative shaping of someone's life. Education is alive (maybe not well). Leisure and pleasure are going strong.

The word "discipline," as found in Proverbs 29:17, means "to chasten, discipline, instruct, admonish." It also means to "chastise" and to "correct." It's a full word.

I went to the ESV Study Bible notes and they made an interesting observation about verses 15-18. The notes say, "Verses 15 and 17 both insist that parents should teach their children, and vv. 16 and 18 both describe a society in upheaval. The chaos of a child out of control is comparable to the chaos of a people who have abandoned integrity and revelation."

Is that not much of what we see these days? Our society is in "upheaval" and folks are continually living more and more undisciplined day by day.

Here are the verses together: "The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. When the wicked increase, transgression increases, but the righteous will look upon their downfall. Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart. Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law." (Proverbs 29:15-18 ESV)

I think my parenting is constantly growing, and much of what I believe is being reinforced by the teens I work with. I also feel like I am still in school; I'm still learning. I feel I have much to share, but much to learn.

Between the battle of being a parent to my own and being a student of parenting, I am loving the adventure of growing.

Being a youth minister, and a student of the age in which I live, I see Proverbs 29:15-18 as a reality. The "wicked increase" and "transgression increases." There is no vision and "the people cast off restraint."

I am convinced more than ever that the change our society needs comes from the Lord. I am convinced more than ever that He will deliver generational change through families. Not through politics or through the school house, but through homes and families. Just read those verses together again. See for yourself; think it through.

In my work, I am going to begin praying about how I can reach more families. Not just children and teens, but families, too. Lord, help me...

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