[x_custom_headline type=”left” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″]I know this may at first strike you as a bit odd, but I remember the exact day I learned how to tie a tie. My one and only necktie tying lesson was on a late Tuesday morning, October 24, 1978. I was seventeen, and I had just purchased a brand new suit, shirt and tie, and was busily trying to get dressed. And the occasion for which I had purchased these items was my father’s funeral.[/x_custom_headline]
The officiating minister, a family friend and former pastor from my childhood days, had stopped by our home prior to going to the mortuary chapel where the services were being held, just to check in on us. And I am so glad that he did.
You see, I am the youngest of four children, and the only boy. So here I was dressing for one of the most difficult, yet important days of my life, and I didn’t have a clue how to even tie my own tie. With no older brothers, or anyone else there to assist me, I was in a bit of a jam. However, this pastor took a few minutes of his time to very kindly and patiently, demonstrate for me the gentlemanly art of tying a necktie. A lesson I have never forgotten. And a lesson I passed along to my own three sons very early in their lives.
Reflecting on this situation years later, I couldn’t help but wonder why my dad, who though he didn’t wear them often, knew perfectly well how to tie a necktie, but never passed on this little tidbit of information to me, his one and only son. [highlight]Certainly he must have known that at some point in my life the proper use of a necktie was going to come in handy for any gentleman, which is something I had aspired to be.[/highlight] Yet no necktie lessons ever came my way from my dad, ever.
Perhaps that is due to the fact that my grandfather, my dad’s dad, passed away when he was less than a year old. So it stands to reason that the manly lessons that he would have needed in his own life came not from his father, but from his older brothers, and he had seven of them to learn things from. Or if not from them, then maybe he just figured it out on his own. And this is why my guess is that he just assumed that the important things in life that I needed to know, I would figure them out on my own as well.
And to be perfectly clear, I am not writing about this as an insult in any way to my dad. The primary reason I am telling this story is because I can’t help but think about all of the essential things in life a parent can pass along to their children that are never, ever passed along at all. And it’s really sad.
Instead, just like me learning the art of tying a tie from someone else, many Christian parents must be waiting for someone else, from somewhere else, to come along and instruct their kids in the things that matter most in life. And many of these things are vitally important issues, and far, far greater than learning to tie a necktie.
For example, how will a child grow up to know how to love, honor and respect their spouse, unless they see it demonstrated in front of them all the days of their childhood, in their own home? Instead, in too many Christian homes the parents are bickering and fighting and looking out for number one. And because children don’t see what a godly, biblical marriage looks like in their own home, it is extremely rare that they grow up to have one themselves.
[highlight]And why do so many young people grow up to be so selfish and stingy?[/highlight] Because they never see generosity, and the joy of giving and blessing others exhibited through the lifestyle of their parents. If the children never see their mom and dad sow honor to their own parents, (the kids grandparents), or their pastor, or their employer, the kids grow up and never sow any either. And because they never sow it, they will never reap it.
Kids should learn prayer and praise and worship from watching their parents doing these things. They should learn the high value of Bible reading and Bible study from the daily habit they see in their home from their mom and dad. And above all the lessons that they will ever receive about money, they should learn how to faithfully and consistently bring their tithes and offerings to their local church each week from the demonstration their parents provide them.
From many Christian parents, kids learn the exact opposite of what they should be learning. For example, some parents demonstrate a lack of priority for church attendance. So the kids learn that if they are a bit too tired, they should simply stay home from church and rest in front of the television, just like their parents do. Or if their favorite movie or TV show is on, they should just skip church, because as they have discovered from watching their parents, they can always go next week, or even the week after that.
[highlight]And from many Christian parents, kids learn that if baseball, basketball, football, soccer, tennis, hockey, archery, bowling, hunting, fishing, frog gigging, pig wrestling, or Kung Fu events are in conflict with church services, then it’s okay to skip church.[/highlight] So because they have been trained by the example of their parents that church attendance is of lessor importance than most of the other events and activities of life, they grow up to place precious little value on the House of God themselves.
The consequences of such poor training is catastrophic, and may even have, and most likely will have, eternal consequences.
However, here is what the Lord said about Abraham:
[x_blockquote cite=”Genesis 18:19 KJV” type=”left”]“For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.”[/x_blockquote]
God knew that He could trust Abraham because of what He saw in his heart about parenting his children. I think it would do us good to ask ourselves what God may be seeing in our heart about parenting, too.
I hope that you are not the kind of parent that will simply let your kids figure out the critical things of life, especially the spiritual things of life, all on their own. Because that is really not a very good idea.
Of all the important teaching and training that you can provide to your children, from the lady-like lessons for your daughters, to the manly instructions for your sons, please don’t fail to provide them with the far more important lessons of life, which comprise all of the things of God, and include the high value of His House, and how to esteem His Word.