Vol.XVII No.IV Pg.4
June 1980

Parents Need Our Help

Robert F. Turner

We see a mother trying to quiet her three young children during worship and we are reassured of our wisdom in not having a family. Or, we look at the struggling efforts of parents and sigh with relief that all our children have "left the coop." Yes, we are content to know that our present list of responsibilities do not include "training up a child" — or do they?

While it is true that we are not obligated by New Testament teachings to raise a family — this does not remove all responsibility in the realm of child rearing. We may not have any children of our own, or at least none still under our roof; yet we still must encourage those who are actively engaged in raising their children.

Elders have a responsibility to parents in that they must inform them of God's will in this area. The qualifications of elders, including "apt to teach" and "one that ruleth well his own house" (1 Tim. 3:2-4), make them good sources of truth and advice. Elders must also be willing to discipline ungodly members whose example and influence impede the efforts of parents.

The Bible class teacher can be a great help or hindrance in "training up a child." When children inform their parents that their teacher condones social drinking, dancing, immodesty or even (would you believe it?) polygamy — its time for a new Bible class teacher! Parents need teachers who love God's word and are willing to live as well as teach the truth. Another group which affects the efforts of parents is other parents. I was recently talking to a mother who was having difficulty in convincing her son that Christians should not attend dances. His main argument was that other "members of the church"' were allowing their children to attend! A divided kingdom is formed when some parents are genuinely trying to nurture their children "in the chastening and admonition of the Lord" (Eph. 6: 4), and other parents don't seem to care to do the same. Woe unto worldly members whose leniency with, their children hinder the efforts of godly parents!

The last group that is involved in "training up a child" is the group that includes every other Christian.

One of the most destructive forces to godly training of the young is the flippant attitudes and lifestyles of other members. When adults whisper and laugh with the teenagers during worship, while the smaller children watch with interest, parent's efforts are hindered. Christ warns us "But whose shall cause one of these little ones that believe on me to stumble, it is profitable for him that a great millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be sunk in the depth of the sea" (Matt. 18:6). Some of the young have their eyes on you. What kind of lifestyle are you showing them?

Elders, Bible class teachers, other parents and in fact, every Christian will answer to God for his encouragement (or lack of it) to the efforts of Christian parents. What will your answer be? Kevan O'Banion