What Parents Owe to Their Children
The Flip Side of The Fifth Commandment
What Parents Owe to Their Children: The Flip Side of the Fifth Commandment
The 5th Commandment tells children to honor their parents... the bible also instructs parents that they have some serious responsibilities they owe to their children. This message review 6 responsibilities parents have according to the bible.
The Responsibilities As A Parents: the other side of the 5th commandment
Today we will review the responsibilities of Godly parent. I have a listing of 6 things that you owe to your child.
- Reproduction: Choose to Have Children
Your responsibilities as a parent comes upon you because you chose to have children. It may have been otherwise in other places and other times but that is the situation we find our self in the 21st century.
God's model for society, culture, life, allows for individuals to choose to remain single or childless... but, I also believe our Creator makes it clear that He would like you to have children. Genesis 1:28 Genesis 1:28And God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.
American King James Version×
Psalm 127 & Psalm 128 Children and family life are a gift from God and part of the blessings and reward He offers in the flesh.
1 Timothy 2:15 1 Timothy 2:15Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
American King James Version× a woman's path to glory is especially linked to childbearing & child rearing when conducted in accordance with God's instruction and purpose. Fathers and mothers are heirs together in Christ... but there are some areas where men do not go... just as there are some areas where women do not go.
Question: Is it wrong to limit the number of children you have... or to choose not to have children... are people who cannot have children lacking spiritually? Answer: having, or not having, children is not a sin issue. Jesus Himself was not married, therefore did not have a sex life, and did not have children. Others include: John the baptist, Jeremiah, probably Paul.
In light of God's obvious desire that we have families lets look at two possibilities:
- Christian parents might be afraid to have children because they fear they will not be able to raise children properly in such a perverted, distorted culture which is hostile to Godly child rearing. Is this fear and lack of faith, or is it prudence and wisdom?
- Couples may not want to have children for financial reasons or other circumstances that are less than ideal. Is this selfishness, greed and covetousness... or is it wisdom of counting the cost and good stewardship?
1 Corinthians 7:25-28 remaining unmarried and childless can be the right decision based on circumstances. If God-fearing people make such decisions [remain unmarried, have no children, have few children] based on biblical values and Christ focused thinking scripture neither condemns nor praises such choices.
This is a good conversation to have before you get married.
- Parents Should Love Their Children
We are not talking about agape love here. This is the natural affection of kinship. Scripture recognizes that there is a natural affection we feel towards our own and tells you that you owe that to your children.
Titus 2:4 Titus 2:4That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
American King James Version× the word here is philia... meaning natural love based on physical relationship. Which is right and good. Once again, we see this as a special spiritual work placed upon the shoulders of women… Philia love within the context of a Godly family… hugs, kisses, special treatment, favor etc.
Does that mean husbands are off the hook for being affectionate? No, but on this matter fathers are addressed differently.
Ephesians 6:4 Ephesians 6:4And, you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
American King James Version× dad get's it from the angle: "don't be unloving". The idea of natural affection is implied by warning against its opposite. Don't be harsh, don't needlessly introduce strife or conflict. Dad has the potential to turn even simple matters like picking up your toys as a power struggle or a titanic battle to maintain supreme authority.
But, dad does have a special responsibility to nurture, train, and correct. I’ll talk more on these when we get to discipline [#6].
Express your love in words and action:
- words so that the child does not fail to connect the dots. between actions and feelings.. dad's focus on his job is to fulfill his other obligations to provide.
- demonstration - talking the talk or love but not translating it into concrete actions is far worse [hypocrisy, confusing].
Natural affection [philia] properly displayed is a major contributor to children growing up without unnecessary confusion about sex, gender, and family life. Please do your part!
- Parents Should Provide Positive Role Models
Parents provide role models for a) appropriate sexual attitudes b) how to operate within social and cultural settings c) approaches to work and responsibility. This is your job... take it seriously! Use God’s word to guide your own behavior on these points.
Godly parents musts also take seriously their responsibility to properly represent the image & love of God. You can help your children better understand the true God by walking hand in hand with them through the life issues of discipline, careful instruction, obedience, mercy, forgiveness, restoration.
Experiencing them together is an important part of learning.
Matthew 5:14-16 Matthew 5:14-16  You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light to all that are in the house.
 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
American King James Version× Modeling is God's paradigm for our relationship with Him through Christ, with the world around us... and we begin with our own children. God expects parents to live authentic, genuine, Christian lives in the eyes of their children Proverbs 23:26 Proverbs 23:26My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.
American King James Version×.
Parents Should Provide For Their Children
1 Timothy 5:8 1 Timothy 5:8But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
American King James Version× dad's like this one... many think that if they bring home a big enough paycheck they are somehow off the hook for some of the other parental responsibilities. That is not the case. Parent's must provide materially, physically, socially, and intellectually [education] for their dependant children.
In our contemporary society "providing" on all these different levels still takes money. Which presents a dilemma/a choice/a call for balance: 1) proper care for children requires time spent with them 2) providing adequately takes time away from them. You must balance these.
Men: working long hours away from home can be a biblical response to a God given mandate to provide. But it can also be other things:
- it can be be a misconception of how love and care is best expressed. Does more money = more love?
- It can be crass materialism, a desire to have more stuff and a willingness to trade off hands-on parenting responsibilities to get it.
- it can be a desire for status [promotion, position, etc] and the admiration of others... while trading it off for the admiration and honor your children can give you.
These are matters of the heart [greed, pride, misconception] You must balance these.
Women: in most societies of the past women also worked outside the home... the Proverb 31 woman comes to mind. Usually, this would entail women working in the field, working in a cottage industry where children would very likely be present... allowing care an nurturing to continue. The industrial revolution changed all that with most jobs moving into cities, offices, factories etc. Present work culture seems to be creating more opportunities for home based work... but at the same time schools and education systems in the U.S. seem to be breaking down.
Women must also make choices when faced with the dilemma of balancing child-rearing with time spent away from home earning money to provide for their children. It is not a matter of sin/ not sin... it is a matter of priorities, choices,, and adapting to circumstances.
Women must ask the same questions I presented to the men: is economic need the issue or is it something else: materialism, status seeking, or even excitement and adventure?
Parents Are Responsible for Providing Biblical Instruction
This is a responsibility of both parents, but it is the father's responsibility to make sure it takes place. Deuteronomy 11:18-21 Deuteronomy 11:18-21  Therefore shall you lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign on your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.
 And you shall teach them your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
 And you shall write them on the door posts of your house, and on your gates:
 That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven on the earth.
American King James Version×, Proverbs 22:6 Proverbs 22:6Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
American King James Version×.
- Full participation in a bible teaching congregation: instruction provided during Sabbath service and other opportunities provided by the church, bible studies, children's study guides, summer camp which is far more than a week long social activity... every day children are provided with biblical instruction.
- On a daily basis as a regular part of family life: family bible study, bible reading and discussion.
Parents Are Responsible For Providing Discipline
The concept of discipline has a huge overlap with both modeling and instruction. Discipline is concerned with the training of the whole person, action, attitude, speech etc. The positive elements of this training are presented to us through the techniques of modeling and instruction [information and example]. But the concept of discipline adds another element: correction and punishment.
Hebrews 12:5-11 Hebrews 12:5-11  And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to children, My son, despise not you the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked of him:
 For whom the Lord loves he chastens, and whips every son whom he receives.
 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens not?
 But if you be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are you bastards, and not sons.
 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live?
 For they truly for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
 Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to them which are exercised thereby.
American King James Version× the reasoning of these verses is self evident. God disciplines as a perfect, loving Father... to strengthen us where we are weak, point us in the right direction when we go astray... to prevent our present problems to lead to greater problems [read verses 12-13].
Verses 5-6 are quotes from Job 5:17 Job 5:17Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects: therefore despise not you the chastening of the Almighty:
American King James Version×and Proverbs 3:11 Proverbs 3:11My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:
American King James Version×, the entire section we read makes allusions to plenty of other OT verses notably Psalms 94:12 Psalms 94:12Blessed is the man whom you chasten, O LORD, and teach him out of your law;
American King James Version×which considers God's discipline as a blessing.
In rendering the original Hebrew into Greek 3 words are used: 1) paidea [training and education] translated as chastening (kjv), discipline (niv) 2) elegcho [correct, convince of error] translated as rebuked (kjv and niv) 3) mastigoo [physical punishment - word literally means flogging] translated as scourging (kjv), punishment (niv).
The element of physical punishment [scourging] is a bit of a modification of the quotations but its a concept found elsewhere in scripture. For example, Proverbs 13:24 Proverbs 13:24He that spares his rod hates his son: but he that loves him chastens him betimes.
American King James Version×, 22:15, 23:13-14, 29:15 which recommend the use of a rod, perhaps a switch, a wooden spoon, a paddle to administer correction.
Another set of verses - Proverbs 19:18 Proverbs 19:18Chasten your son while there is hope, and let not your soul spare for his crying.
American King James Version×, 29:17 advise doing this while they are young. My personal opinion is that once a child approaches puberty the effectiveness of spankings falls off dramatically... its time to move on to other means.
Some practical advice: 1) don't punish when you are angry, take some time, calm down, wait 2) talk to your child first about why they are being punished so they make the connection 3) after administering punishment let them know you still love them through words and demonstration of affection [hug?] 4) try not to punish for mistakes made in ignorance... punish in situations where they clearly knew better... 5) use discipline for situations where there is a moral principle at stake [deliberate defiance, lying, stealing] not over trivial matters like spilling milk by mistake
6) punishment for situations where they might cause harm to themselves of others... its hard to reason with a 2 year old about the dangers of running in the road, or the need to not poke people in the eye... spanking cuts through the fog and teaches them essential lessons fast... apply in cases where you don't want to learn by trial and error 7) be consistent, when punishment is erratic and unpredictable children get confused and discouraged 8) be fair and consistent, don't play favorites among your children
There Is No Silver Bullet
This is not a fool-proof formula that guarantees success if perfectly applied. Reality is more complicated than that. Your children are responsible for their own lives. Your job as a parent is to prepare them as best you can for what lays ahead.
But they make their own choices, they have their own genetic dispositions, some are shy, some are bold, some are leaders, some are followers... You cannot change who they are. What you can do is help them direct their strengths and weaknesses in a good direction.
For most of us that phrase "good direction" would include getting on the path of repentance, baptism, forgiveness through Christ, and hope of resurrection unto eternal life. But their entrance into that path is not in you hands... that is God's domain. Leave it to Him.
Focus on doing the best possible job you can fulfilling your responsibility toward you children. This will be pleasing to God.