EPHESIANS 6:1-4 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. 2Honor thy father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise; 3that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. 4And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath; but bring them up in the Lord.
As we prepare for graduation in many homes, I’m reminded of an old quote that says, “what our children need most from us as parents are roots and wings.” Roots to know who they are, who their family is, what their values are, where they will find life’s meaning and then, ultimately wings to fly away to become self-sustaining. Our children need roots and wings, just like we needed them.
God has freely chosen to give some people children and not others. Some children have birth defects, learning disabilities. Some children are loved from birth to death. Some children never seem to find any love or any peace. I don’t know your situation but if you’re a parent, we need to be thinking in terms of roots and wings. If you’re a child or teenager old enough to understand then you too should be thinking in terms of roots and wings.
Children, obey your parents is not a request, but a direct order from the Word of God, because it is right, in their presence and out of their sight. Honor means to treat as precious and the statement in verse three means that as a general principle, you are promised well-being and longevity in your life. The responsibilities of a child is to honor, listen, learn and obey. Obey means, “to be controlled by or follow the guidance of”. They are to get their roots and wings smothered in love, security and discipline from their parents. Just how serious do we take our responsibilities as parents? Just how serious do our children take their responsibilities?
Remember as Christians, our children must not only develop through natural child development, but also through a spiritual development. The role of the parent shifts and even diminishes, while the accountability and responsibility of the child intensifies. As children grow up, conflicts arise between parents and child at several critical points. Some kids want responsibilities we haven’t prepared them for yet. On the other hands, some children aren’t prepared because they refuse to accept responsibility and accountability. These seem to be normal problems but they have to be addressed and we can’t downplay spiritual matters and think sports and secular activities are far more rewarding in life than the spiritual things.
Often times parents don’t understand the biological changes taking place in a child. We as parents can’t be well prepared to help our children if we can’t understand physical changes in their bodies first. First in infancy – they didn’t ask to come into this world. We asked for them from God. It’s our responsibility to train them. Then comes puberty – nature has a way of placing potential problems on children before they’re ready to cope with them. Their bodies begin to develop physically into adults but the mind is still immature. There’s something wrong when a 29 year old woman is a grandmother. Then the teen years or adolescence – the child is going through quite a bit of turbulence. They need guidance, love, patience and yes even authority over them. Here’s where we are to act like parents, not buddies, and then, of course, comes the young adult years or the stupid years. Parents are stupid from the time kids are about 14-24 then parents automatically know something again when our kids get to be about 25.
Not only do our children grow, they must be taught how to make quality decisions. We teach that ALL decisions as Christians are based upon Jesus and the Word of God. The role of the parent is an awesome responsibility but the child must assume the responsibility to obey and honor parents. Children will decide for themselves, at some point in their lives, whether they will perish eternally or be saved from perishing eternally. Parents must do all they can to help them and direct them as children when they are forming beliefs and values, especially their spiritual values and beliefs.
Children will become accountable for their learning and their moral actions at some point in their lives. We as parents must be concerned about helping our children learn how to make quality decisions about life, but, we as Christians can never forget the, “monkey see, monkey do” rule. They watch us and they tend to follow and do what we do. Much is preached and always will be on the role of the parent, but be sure that there is a role for the children, just like there is for a husband and a wife. It’s the 5th commandment by God. Disrespect for parents in the Old Testament was punished by death. Exodus 21:15. If parents do their roles in teaching, training, loving and disciplining, then there’s a great chance the children will honor and obey parents. Parents are usually the best example or the worst example for their kids to see. Which are you?
The world gives family life a false and oftentimes a sickening value system. God’s value system is right, wonderful and acceptable. No other will do. Honoring means treating them with respect, kindness, love and courtesy. There is a promise from God when we honor our parents. The same principle of not divorcing and forgiveness. We must give our kids roots – to know Christ and to know who they really belong to and we must give them wings to fly away where they will serve God properly and faithfully – even in honoring our parents for a life time so that all may be well.
Congratulations to all our high school graduates and families. It is my prayer that each graduate has been given roots and wings by their parents. If you want to use God’s word as a helper, be sure to stop by one of our great churches and learn about your, “roots and wings”!