From the Pastor's Pen
Teach Them Early!
Most parents are deeply concerned about the education of their children. They worry that their children may not be learning skills needed to face life and find adequate jobs. Education has become a hot topic in our society. It has become a major priority because there are bright minds that are going to waste. The United Negro College Fund used to have a TV ad that challenged people to invest in higher education for black young people. The ad concluded with some powerful words, "The mind is a terrible thing to waste."
In fairness to those hard working and caring school teachers, they have it rough. Children are rebellious and don't care whether they pass or fail. The plight of teachers can be seen from an exchange that went on at a hockey game. One of the players rammed hard into the boards. As he struggled to regain his balance he gasped, "There's got to be an easier way to make a living." A woman in the front row replied, "You want to trade jobs?" "What do you do?" the player asked. She said, "I teach sixth grade." "Forget it," he said, and he was gone.
The training of our children is not only a priority in our society. It must be the priority of the church. But even more important is for Christian parents is to teach our children the moral and spiritual values of the Bible.
Motivating children to learn and teaching them spiritual values is not a simple task. One thing we can do to make a difference is "Impress (God's commandments) on your children." (Deuteronomy 6:7) This verse pictures children who are moldable and shapable. We are to mold and shape our children to follow the commandments of God.
When I was growing up we had an old wooden churn that we used each week to make butter. We would save up cream from each day's milking until we had enough to churn. It would take about an hour to turn the handle. As the cream began to harden into butter, the handle would get harder to turn until all that was left was a large chunk of mushy butter. When my mother took the butter out of the churn, she would get out her little wooden mold with a pretty design carved into it. She would fill the mold full of soft butter, then use the push stick to push out one pound blocks of butter that had a pretty design on it. The butter was shaped into blocks to be sold.
Children are born into this world a lot like that lump of unshaped butter. They need to be shaped emotionally and spiritually on the wheel of life. Parents need to shape their children into responsible, mature persons by impressing into their lives moral and spiritual values. This is our God-given responsibility as parents.
Parents, God has given you authority to lead your children where you feel they need to go. You are to teach and train them in spiritual and moral values. You are to help your children find the higher path of life. Yet many parents are afraid of their kids. They are afraid of offending the kids, afraid of setting boundaries, afraid to discipline their children.
How about your family? What are your children learning about God from you?
Clarence E. Byerly, Pastor
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Updated January 17, 2002