Oddly enough, I look at my life and wonder why I do what I do…and sadly, I see that I’m still growing up. While my parents taught me how to work hard, be honest, be loyal, etc., there were traits my parents – or my experiences – failed to teach me: financial responsibility, SELF respect…the result of consequences for my actions. Because of my failure to learn these things, I suffer the consequences later in life.
Now, again, I will say that I love my parents. They did an awesome job and they are not perfect. I think that’s where the saying comes in, that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. Not one person in life can teach you everything. That’s why family is so important. Not so there are more people to bring food to a cook out but more people to draw experience from, more people to serve as role models of who we ought to be….or ought not to be.
Maybe my folks did what they did with the expectation that they were sparing me from hurt. I paid for my own car but I didn’t have to pay for anything else. If I got in a financial rut, my folks were there to pull me out – I was willing to deal with the sermon, but I lost out on learning the lesson. If I wanted something and cried for it enough, it was given to me. Sadly, I admit I learned to manipulate my parents…especially my mother. If you are honest, the majority of us all did in some fashion: getting out of doing chores, getting to hang out with our friends, playing hookey from school, staying out past curfew. Now, as kids, it’s normal for us to push the envelope, after all, we are kids. But as adults we still push the envelope…and we still suffer the consequences. Now, if we don’t get our way, there’s no one to cry to, no one to pull us out of the rut we put ourselves in. If I want something, I want it – I didn’t learn to earn it. I had to learn that the hard way. Some of us blame the world. Some of us blame others but in reality we put ourselves there. We pay for our actions and our reactions.
At some point we realize we are turning into our parents – we are coming to terms with the overwhelming responsibility of shaping our children into well adjusted adults. We see why they did what they did. If you can’t accept the fact that no one is perfect, you probably hold a grudge. But, do you want your kids to think that about you? Just be thankful that you’re realizing the lesson and hopeful, you won’t have to go through it again…at least not to the degree you have in the past. When you find yourself understanding the saying ‘this hurts me more than it does you’…you’re probably doing the right thing. It’s not about the feelings we have at the moment, it’s about instilling values into our children while they are still children. We can’t prevent them from falling, but we should be there to help pick them up. We should equip them with the tools that guarantee their success. Not to be millionaires or rule the world but to accept others, accept themselves and go forth with open eyes and open hearts. Much like God does for us. Where is the lesson if we aren’t learning anything? Spare the rod, spoil the child…
I could go on and on, but let me end by saying, a lesson learned now is much easier than learning it later in life no matter how young, or old, you are. Imagine being 40 when you first learn to ride a bike. The fall is going to be more painful. And on the flipside, I’d much rather be learning what I’m learning at 40 then 50…or 60. The discipline we didn’t learn as children we have to teach ourselves as adults. I was fortunate. I was raised knowing there was a God. I fell away but I had a familiarity with Him. I turned to Him and He helped me just like a Father does. I stumbled but He was still there. This is the first day of the rest of your life. Whether you had a horrible father or a great one, there is none greater than our Father in heaven. He will forgive all sins. He will always be there to pick you up. He will answer your prayers – yet, just as a good parent, it may not be as you expect or in the time frame you demand, but He will. So stop blaming, stop ignoring the lesson…stop being a hamster on a perpetual wheel…stop stomping your feet.
“He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” ~ Proverbs 13:24
“8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.” ~ Hebrews 12:8-10
“1 My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding,
3 and if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the LORD gives wisdom,
and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” ~ Proverbs 2:1-6
“1Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2″Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3″that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”[a] 4Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” ~ Ephesians 6:1-4
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. ~ Proverbs 22:6
1 Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction;
pay attention and gain understanding.
2 I give you sound learning,
so do not forsake my teaching.
3 When I was a boy in my father’s house,
still tender, and an only child of my mother,
4 he taught me and said,
“Lay hold of my words with all your heart;
keep my commands and you will live.
5 Get wisdom, get understanding;
do not forget my words or swerve from them.
6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
love her, and she will watch over you.
7 Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, [a] get understanding.
8 Esteem her, and she will exalt you;
embrace her, and she will honor you.
9 She will set a garland of grace on your head
and present you with a crown of splendor.”
10 Listen, my son, accept what I say,
and the years of your life will be many.
11 I guide you in the way of wisdom
and lead you along straight paths.
12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
when you run, you will not stumble.
13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go;
guard it well, for it is your life.
14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked
or walk in the way of evil men.
15 Avoid it, do not travel on it;
turn from it and go on your way.
16 For they cannot sleep till they do evil;
they are robbed of slumber till they make someone fall.
17 They eat the bread of wickedness
and drink the wine of violence.”