Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 23, 1961

Some Parental Responsibilities

Lynn D. Headrick, Saraland, Alabama

Psalm 127:3 and Proverbs 17:6 teach that parenthood is a wonderful blessing. Every blessing brings a responsibility. Every birth of a child means that there is another immortal soul brought into the world. This lesson is designed to remind parents of some of the responsibilities that go along with the privilege of being mothers and fathers.

Parents Are Responsible For The "Atmosphere" Or Environment In Which Children Are Brought Up

In some families fussing, fighting, and cursing abounds. Calmness, consideration, and purity of speech characterize other families. How is it at your house? Some parents set before their children the example of dancing, intoxication and adultery while other parents are careful to provide wholesome recreation and maintain absolute fidelity to one another. What do your children see concerning these things? Lewd literature, magazines glorifying movie stars, and a dusty Bible constitute the situation in some houses but good books, periodicals containing well written sermons, and a well used Bible are constantly before the children of God-fearing parents.

Teach The Children The Word Of God

"And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." (Eph. 6:4) ".... The father to the children shall make known thy truth." (Isa. 38:19) Many fathers cannot teach the word of God to their children because they do not know it and one cannot teach that which he does not know. Some fathers spend many hours training their bird dogs but spend little or no time teaching the word of God to their children.

Timothy knew the holy scriptures from childhood. (2 Timothy 3:15) This was no accident because we are told that his mother and grandmother had been careful to teach him. (2 Tim. 1:15) Some mothers cannot teach the Bible to their children because they do not know the Bible themselves. Some mothers are so busy with their clubs, teas, parties, and jobs that they neglect to teach their children. Samuel grew to be a wise leader of God's people. Even before his birth his mother Hannah had made up her mind to see that he was trained to serve God. (I Sam. 1)

Parents must see to 'it that the children learn the word of God. God had spoken to Israel His word and He commanded them saying, "Thou shall teach them diligently unto thy children." (Deut. 6:4-9) Parents see to it that their children study their school lessons. This is fine but of much greater importance to the child is that he learns the Word of God. Family Bible study time is of eternal significance. On Psalms 119:111, Adam Clarke said, "If a man can leave nothing to his children but a Bible, in that he bequeaths him the greatest treasure in the universe." Yes, parents will do better to leave their children a knowledge of the truth than to leave them a fortune in money or land.

Discipline Of The Child

.... For what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? .... Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence- shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?" (Heb. 12:7, 9) One lesson from this passage is that if a child is taught obedience in the family there will be a basis upon which he can be appealed to with reference to obeying God. Discipline is not an easy task. It is essential to the well being of the child. Parents ought daily to pray to God for wisdom to accomplish this great responsibility.

Eli failed to restrain his sons (1 Sam. 3:13) and this highly displeased the Lord. David had failed to discipline his child and we are not surprised that later Adonijah led a rebellion against his father. (Study 1 Kings 1:5, 6)

Discipline must be constant and not sporadic. The kind of correction must be agreed upon by both parents. The father must not allow that which the mother prohibits and vice-versa. Read the following passage to see the will of God in the matter of discipline: Proverbs 13:24; 19:18; 22:15, 17; Col. 3:21.

Provide Wholesome Recreation

This is not the duty of the church. It is the duty of parents and will require much time on the part of parents. Again, the blessing of parenthood brings an attendant responsibility. Be careful to plan wholesome recreation but do not plan such at a time that would conflict with the assembly of the saints. (Heb. 10:25)

Teach Children The True Values

Children do not know true values. A very small child will prefer a shiny copper coin to a crumpled ten dollar bill. Older children would eat all dessert and no meat if parents allowed it. Children will not look beyond this life unless they are taught about heaven and hell.

If children see their parents forsake the assembly in order to go visiting will they not be taught that visiting is more important than the assembly to worship God? If parents spend all of their "free time" in recreation and little or no time visiting the sick and teaching the lost, what will be the lesson learned by the children? If parents never make any personal sacrifice — if they never deprive themselves of a desired thing in order to contribute more, will not the children be taught that they are to give only after they have obtained all they want? If parents continually criticize the church of the Lord speaking evil of faithful brethren will not children grow up to despise the church of the Lord?