We live in a generation of the Church that is losing many of the values and beliefs instilled in previous generations. The world we live in adds another destructive idea that seems determined to minimize the role of parents in training our children and turning to the State. The truth is that parents matter more now than ever in leading in the training of their children with all of the competing cultural ideas and theories in America.
Proverb 22:6 still works in our time when it declares, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Teaching is focused on sharing information and knowledge but training involves taking them through the exercise, molding, and shaping them through discipline and practice.
We certainly have to love our children (show them affection, affirm them of their value), and lift them (give them encouragement and build them up) but we also need to limit them (discipline, correction, and saying no). We also need to lead them by our example. We train our children by precept (principles, rules of conduct, instruction) and example (what we model in front of them).
Parents are to be the primary teachers of morality, the Church is second and supplemental. What they see us do will have much more impact than just what we say. Most children, like adults, are visual learners. Our example to our children communicates our values. Values are one’s judgment of what is important, what is of high worth, and what we have a high opinion of. They become a person’s principles or standards of behavior.
Our example is training our children values:
Every time we go to Church or the days we don’t go.
Every time we tithe/give or don’t tithe/give.
Every time we serve or don’t serve.
Every time we pray or don’t pray.
Every time we feed on the Word or don’t feed on the Word.
Every time we show respect and honor or don’t show respect and honor.
Every time share the Gospel and every time we don’t
Someone once said, “We train our dogs, but not our kids; then we tie up our dogs, but let our kids run wild.” Our children will be trained in our values when they hear our precepts from God’s Word but also see us modeling it by our example. Many parents fail to recognize the discrepancy that can often exist between what they say to their children versus what they show them by their example. The Spirit of God through the Apostle Paul to Timothy in training his congregation said, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity 1 Timothy 4:12.” I agree with what a famous news columnist once said, “Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best.”