Biblical Childrearing 

The Bible has much to say about childrearing. Scripture after scripture shows parents how to teach and train their children. The Bible believer knows that the father and mother have a great responsibility to properly bring up their children in the ways of the Eternal.

Each additional year that this satanically-led society is allowed to continue, it becomes more and more difficult for parents to train their children to be obedient, law-abiding citizens, and more importantly, to be followers of the Bible.

This compilation of Scriptures and principles is meant to be a reference guide for parents, such as ourselves, who need the help of the Almighty to successfully fulfill the awesome task of training their children.

 

Good Examples of Childrearing

Abraham is one of the best examples of a good father. Before he had his son Isaac, Abraham had 318 trained servants, born in his own house, Genesis 14:14. God knew that Abraham would command his children and household after him to keep the way of the Eternal, to do justice and judgment, Genesis 18:19. Abraham trained his son Isaac so well that Isaac as a young lad willingly offered himself as a sacrifice to the Eternal, Genesis 22:9. For his unswerving faith and obedience, the Eternal called Abraham "father of many nations," Genesis 17:1-8, and "father of the faithful," Romans 4:16.

Isaac trained Jacob, who obeyed his parents in getting a wife, not from the Canaanites, but of his own race, Genesis 28:6-8.

Mosesí parents had a few short years in which to train him before he had to be given over to Pharaohís daughter in the Egyptian court, Exodus 1:22-2:1-10. Their training must have been very effective, for Moses retained a knowledge of, and commitment to, the Eternal from that time forth.

Hannah and Elkanah, parents of Samuel, worshipped the Eternal at the yearly feasts in Shiloh. They effectively trained their son up to the time of his being weaned, so that Samuel served faithfully as a judge and priest up to the day of his death, I Samuel 1:1-28.

Zacharias and Elizabeth, parents of John the Baptist, "were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless," Luke 1:6. Of Joseph and Mary, parents of the Savior, the Bible indicates what they were like. Mary was blessed above all other women to be the one to carry the Messiah, having favor with God, Luke 1:26-33. Joseph was a "just man," Matthew 1:19.

The training of Timothy began with his righteous grandmother Lois, and his mother Eunice, II Timothy 1:5. From a child, Timothy had known the Holy Scriptures, which alone are able to make one wise unto salvation, 3:15.

Being human, none of these parents were perfect. But the results proved to be good fruit. These righteous parents raised children who did not depart from the ways of the Eternal, even when they grew up and lived to old age. May the Heavenly Father help us to be like them.

 

Bad Examples of Childrearing: Lot, Eli, and Samuel

Now let us look at examples of ineffective and poor child training.

Up until the time Lot left Sodom, he had kept two of his daughters chaste virgins, Genesis 19:8. Considering the sins of Sodom, this was no small task. But the training did not stick. Lotís daughters committed incest with Lot just after they left Sodom, verses 31-38.

One of the primary Biblical examples of a poor parent is Eli. As a priest, Eli was a very effective teacher and guide for little Samuel. Under the old manís guidance, built upon the solid foundation of Samuelís parents Elkanah and Hannah, Samuel grew in favor with both the LORD and with men, I Samuel 2:26 and 3:19. Every year at the Feast, Hannah would come and visit her son Samuel, 2:18-19.

Yet for some time, Eli had neglected the proper teaching of his own sons, who perverted the sacrifices to satisfy their own lusts, 2:12-17. Eli discovered the sins of his own sons, but did nothing to stop them, I Samuel 2:22-25. For this, the judgment of the Eternal was pronounced against both Eli and his wicked sons, 3:11-14. Eliís fault was that he did not restrain his sons from doing wickedness, 3:13. Even though very old, the Creator held Eli directly responsible for his sonsí evil actions.

One would think that Samuel, who grew up and saw the results of Godís judgment on Eli and his wicked sons, would become a model parent. Such was not the case. When Samuel was old, he (notice he, not the Eternal) made his sons judges over Israel. They walked not in the ways of their father, but went after filthy lucre, taking bribes and perverting judgment, I Samuel 8:1-3. It was this that resulted in Israel coming to Samuel to ask for a king, verses 4-5.

 

King David: An Indulgent Father

"Indulgent" means "markedly permissive, excessively lenient, a weakness in the exercise of the power to judge, restrain or punish."

David is an example of an indulgent father. King David was a man after Godís own heart. Yet he was too tolerant of his childrenís wrongdoings and failed to crack down on them when they needed it. Basically, the problem in Davidís home began with his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband Uriah. Nathan the prophet gave the Eternalís judgment against the house of David: "Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house . . . . Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun," II Samuel 12:10-11.

Davidís son Amnon raped his sister Tamar. She resisted, protesting that the king would let Amnon have her if Amnon requested it. Was this merely a futile attempt to defend herself, or a real possibility? Would David have allowed incest in his own family? Upon finding out about the rape, David was very wroth, but apparently did nothing to punish Amnon, who was worthy of death, II Samuel 13:1-13. Absalom, another of Davidís sons, full brother of Tamar, had Amnon murdered, and fled to safety. David wanted Absalom to come back, verses 19-39. When Absalom finally came back to Jerusalem, he led a revolt against David that forced King David to flee Jerusalem. He violated Davidís concubines publicly, thus fulfilling Nathanís prophecy against the House of David.

The king barely survived the revolt, as Absalom was killed, reaping the just result of his heinous sins. Rather than reward his loyal friends, David mourned for his dead rebellious son Absalom. Finally Joab, Davidís general, knocked some sense into David, convincing him to quit mourning for a dead dog, to quit loving his enemies and hating his friends, II Samuel 19:6. Yes, we all love our children, in spite of their sins, but this sort of "love" appears to be indulgence. How many sound thrashings did Absalom have as a young lad? From the way he turned out, probably none.

As a righteous ruler, David was certainly one of the Bible greats. He will rule over the twelve tribes of Israel during the Millennium. As a father, however, David appeared to be a total failure.

 

Solomon: He KNEW, But Did Not DO!

Then there is Solomon, Davidís son of Bathsheba. His kingdom started out with a bang, and his reign became Israelís golden age. Solomonís wisdom from God is chronicled in the Book of Proverbs, my favorite book of the Bible. The Bible promises that when a child is brought up in the way of the LORD, even when he is old he will not depart from it, Proverbs 22:6.

In I Kings 11, the sad story is given of the later years of King Solomon. His 700 foreign wives and 300 concubines, which were contrary to the law of the Eternal, turned Solomon away from the Truth. His wives led Solomon to begin worshipping their idols. He even built pagan temples in Jerusalem. "And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father," I Kings 11:6. For this, his kingdom became divided at his death.

Solomon lost his God-given wisdom and went into gross idolatry. He overtaxed his subjects to feed his glory. Solomonís son Rehoboam was very poorly trained, and as a result, lost most of the kingdom and allowed sodomites and idolatry to flourish in Judah, I Kings 14:21-24. As we shall see, the Eternal gave Solomon exceptional wisdom relative to child training, as recorded in the Book of Proverbs. The fact that Solomon raised such a son as Rehoboam demonstrates the utter failure on Solomonís part to put into practice what he wrote in the Proverbs. This seems to make Solomonís failure as a father even greater than that of David.

 

Is There Hope For Us?

If Samuel, David, and Solomon failed utterly to fulfil their God-given parental responsibilities, what chance do we have to do any better in this morally depraved age?

As I look back on the few years I have been a father, I see many, many mistakes I have made. Most of the time, my wrong doing has not resulted from lack of knowledge of what to do. It has come from being too lazy to do the right thing, from neglect, from concern with only my selfish pursuits, from taking the easy way out, and not discerning the long term objectives. I donít look at the childrearing sins of Samuel, David, and Solomon and gloat over their mistakes. I see many of my own mistakes in things they did.

Is there any hope for parents striving to follow the Bible? Can we be parents like Hannah and Elkanah, like Mosesí parents, like Lois and Eunice, like Abraham? Or will we reap sorrow experienced by parents who do a bad job, like Samuel, David, and Solomon?

The answer is: we are doomed to be failures as parents, UNLESS the Creator, the Heavenly Father, gives us the power of His Holy Spirit to overcome our weaknesses and fulfill our role as parents. What is that role, and what does the Bible say about it?

 

Bible Childrearing Principles

As parents, we need to continually review the Bible instructions regarding childrearing. Some parents may feel that they are doing a superior job. Others may feel that they have failed, and it is no use to try to rectify past wrongs. But we can all learn to become better parents.

 

Childrearing is a Serious Matter

Exodus 20:12, "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee."

Deuteronomy 5:16, "Honour thy father and thy mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee."

Exodus 21:15, 17, "And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death . . . . And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death."

Deuteronomy 21:18-21, "If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear."

Proverbs 20:20, "Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness."

Proverbs 30:17, "The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it."

I Samuel 15:22-23, "And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king."

 

Children are a Blessing from God

Psalms 113:9, "He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord."

Psalms 127:3-5, "Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate."

Psalms 128:1-6, "Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. His wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord. The Lord shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life. Yea, thou shalt see thy childrenís children, and peace upon Israel."

Proverbs 15:20, "A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother."

Proverbs 17:6, "Childrenís children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers."

Proverbs 23:22, 24, "Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old . . . . The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him."

 

Family Responsibility

I Timothy 5:8, "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel."

The husband has the primary responsibility to provide physically and spiritually for his household.

I Timothy 3:4-5, "One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)"

Titus 2:4-5, "That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."

Today, women often shirk their responsibility to their family by devoting too much time to working outside the home.

I Corinthians 11:3, 8-9, "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God . . . . For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man."

I Peter 3:1, 5-6, "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives . . . . For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement."

Ephesians 5:22-33, "Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Church: and He is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the Church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church: For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the Church. Nevertheless, let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband."

Husbands are the head of the family. Wives are to be willing partners of the family team.

 

Physical Punishment: Godís Way of Rearing Young Children

Proverbs 3:11-12, "My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth."

Hebrews 12:7-11, "If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 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? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."

Proverbs 13:24, "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes [early]."

Proverbs 19:18, "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying."

Proverbs 22:15, "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him."

Proverbs 23:13-14, "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell."

Proverbs 29:15, 17, "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame . . . . Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul."

II Timothy 3:16-17, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

 

Examples of Obedient Children

Luke 2:51-52, "And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man."

II Timothy 1:5, "When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also."

II Timothy 3:15, "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

 

Disobedience to Parents a Sign of the Last Days

Isaiah 3:4-5, 12, "And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them. And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honorable . . . . As for My people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O My people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths."

Jeremiah 2:30, "In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction: your own sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion."

Ezekiel 7:23, "Make a chain: for the land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence."

Ezekiel 16:20, "Moreover thou hast taken thy sons and thy daughters, whom thou hast borne unto Me, and these hast thou sacrificed unto them to be devoured. Is this of thy whoredoms a small matter."

Hosea 4:6, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou has rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to Me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children."

II Timothy 3:1-5, "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."

Romans 1:18, 28-32, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, . . .  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them."

 

Teach Your Children

Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

Exodus 12:26-27, "And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORDíS passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when He smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped."

Deuteronomy 4:9-10, "Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sonsí sons; Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather Me the people together, and I will make them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children."

Deuteronomy 6:6-7, 20-25, "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up . . . . And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD our God hath commanded you? Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaohís bondmen in Egypt; and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand: And the LORD shewed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes: And He brought us out from thence, that He might bring us in, to give us the land which He sware unto our fathers. And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is at this day. And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as He hath commanded us."

Deuteronomy 7:3-4, "Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following Me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly."

Deuteronomy 11:19, "And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."

Deuteronomy 31:12-13, "Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it."

Proverbs 1:7-9, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck."

Ephesians 6:1-4, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."

 

Age of Accountability

Proverbs 20:11, "Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right."

Numbers 1:3, 20, "From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel: thou and Aaron shall number them by their armies . . . . And the children of Reuben, Israelís eldest son, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, by their polls, every male from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war."

Numbers 4:43, "From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entereth into the service, for the work in the tabernacle of the congregation."

Numbers 8:24-26, "This is it that belongeth unto the Levites: from twenty and five years old and upward they shall go in to wait upon the service of the tabernacle of the congregation: And from the age of fifty years they shall cease waiting upon the service thereof, and shall serve no more: But shall minister with their brethren in the tabernacle of the congregation, to keep the charge, and shall do no service. Thus shalt thou do unto the Levites touching their charge."

Deuteronomy 1:39, "Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it."

From this we learn that, Biblically speaking, the age of accountability is twenty years of age. Mature responsibilities can be undertaken at the age of 25-30.

 

Results of Bad Childrearing

Proverbs 17:25, "A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him."

Proverbs 19:13, "A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping."

Proverbs 19:26, "He that wasteth his father, and chaseth away his mother, is a son that causeth shame, and bringeth reproach."

 

How to Raise a Crook

Here are twelve tongue-in-cheek rules for raising a delinquent child, and a criminal. These illustrate why we should "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it," Proverbs 22:6.

1. Begin from infancy to give the child everything he wants. This way he will grow up to believe that the world owes him a living.

2. When he picks up bad words, laugh at him. It will encourage him to pick up "cuter" phrases that will blow the top off your head later.

3. Never give him any spiritual training. Wait until he is twenty-one and then let him decide for himself.

4. Avoid the use of the word "wrong." It may develop a guilt complex. This will condition him to believe later when he is arrested for stealing a car that society is against him and he is being persecuted.

5. Pick up anything he leaves lying around ó books, shoes, clothing. Do everything for him so he will be experienced in throwing responsibility to others.

6. Let him read any printed matter he can get his hands on. Be careful the silverware and drinking glasses are sterilized, but let his mind feed on garbage.

7. Quarrel frequently in the presence of the children. They wonít be too shocked when the home is broken up.

8. Give the child all the spending money he wants. Never let him earn his own. Why should he have things as tough as you had them?

9. Satisfy his every craving for food, drink, and comfort. See that every desire is satisfied. Denial may lead to harmful frustrations.

10. Take his part against the neighbors, teachers, and policemen. They are all prejudiced against your child.

11. When he gets into trouble, apologize for yourselves by saying, "I never could do anything with him."

12. Prepare for a life of grief ó you will have it.

 

Principles of Good Childrearing

There are a number of good books and articles which give important principles of Biblical childrearing. The most comprehensive source from the Church of God is the 103-page book, The Plain Truth About Childrearing, written by Garner Ted Armstrong (1963, Ambassador College). Here is a summary of points contained in this book:

(1) Juvenile delinquency was prophesied, II Timothy 3:1-5; Romans 1:28-32; Isaiah 3:12.

(2) Divorce and broken homes are a major cause of delinquent and disobedient children. Divorce is only the final climax of destruction to a family that has been in trouble for some time. For every actual divorce, there are many more homes fraught with quarrels, disrespect, selfishness, anger and even brawls. A loving relationship between husband and wife is the basis, the starting point, for proper child training.

(3) Proper government in the home is essential to a peaceful, harmonious family life. The husband has a God-given responsibility to lovingly lead the family, as Christ leads the Church. The wife has the responsibility to be a fitting help to her husband, backing him up in every way, taking care of the home, and the major role in child development. When women try to usurp the role of bread winner instead of keeping to their role as bread maker, the family is headed for trouble. Women today are under tremendous pressure from this Satanic society to be dissatisfied with the role that God gave them as homemakers. Men today are under pressure to be weak and noncommunicative, two traits they cannot have, to be the leader of the family that God intends. Marriage is not a 50-50 proposition; it is a 100% proposition, each selflessly giving all their efforts for success. An upside down home is a fertile spawning ground for juvenile delinquency and disrespectful, disobedient children.

(4) Most psychologists and liberal thinkers and educators are against corporal punishment because they feel that punishment makes the one punished feel guilty, and this is bad. Thus in our society, neither the criminal nor the disobedient child is likely to receive the proper, loving, corporal punishment, sometimes even deserved execution, that Godís Word commands. Because of some abuses in punishment (child beating, wife beating, kangaroo court justice, etc.), society as a whole has rejected outright the concept of right and proper punishment. Misuse of corporal punishment (parents lashing out in anger) has given a bad name to the godly principle of punishment.

(5) The so-called "phases" of childhood development occur in children who have not been reared and trained to be obedient. Children become carnal when they are not trained to obey their parents. Anger and other wrong emotions are not "stored up" and therefore need to be released. They become habits of untrained children.

(6) Criminals are made, not born. Constructive discipline teaches self-discipline, preventing delinquencies and criminal behavior.

(7) You can punish your children ó in LOVE! Punishment should never be only negative, but always be accompanied by positive teaching. Negative punishment is a sin; it provokes your children to wrath.

(8) Corporal punishment should be administered on the buttocks and never overdone. Punishment in whatever form, must be prompt, and consistent. The parent should speak only once, and always finish what is started.

(9) Children should be taught right habits: personal cleanliness, to eat what is set before them, to come when called, to listen to instructions, to answer respectfully his parents, and to perform routine family chores.

(10) Most children are not ready to go to school until they are at least six years of age. The greatest key to learning is discipline. Teach your child to listen to your instructions, to sit still. Such self-discipline is the key to success in school.

(11) Childrenís play is an important aspect of development. Playing with guns, pretending to kill and maim others, is wrong. Adults have a big responsibility to properly supervise and participate in, childrenís play.

(12) Children should be trained together, the husband and wife working as a unified team. If one parent is missing, action should be taken to expose the child to responsible adults of his or her own sex.

Although there are many good principles in Garner Ted Armstrongís book, I have seen some who have improperly applied its teachings, applying punishment with harshness instead of in love. Some of the concepts in this book are very dated. In the early 1960s, taxes were lower, college education was more affordable, wages went further then they do in the 1990s. These and other financial pressures force many mothers to find gainful employment outside the home. To say that the husband should never, except under sickness or emergency, help with household chores such as washing dishes and clothes, cleaning the house, etc., would simply be selfish. Even a mother who works part-time needs help from the whole family with household chores.

Another consideration in todayís society is that corporal punishment can expose you to charges of child abuse. In Finland, parents can go to jail for giving their children even a mild spanking. Today, parents need to be discreet in administering physical punishment to their children.

It is not the responsibility of the Church to raise your children for you. It is primarily your job as parents. Nevertheless, the Church of God can, and should, assist parents in several ways. Sabbath School, Church Camps, and youth activities are available to many who are blessed in being in a church group large enough, and one that cares for the youth.

I have felt that the youth have been seriously neglected in many church groups. Unknown to us, our 9-year-old daughter wrote a letter to the leading minister of a group with whom we fellowshipped at the time. She requested a Sabbath School or other youth program during the Feast of Tabernacles, since we do not live in an area with access to a local Church. The minister wrote back a letter to her in a high-handed fashion, denying her request, saying that it was her parentsí responsibility to teach her, and not the Churchís. Instead of writing at a 9-year-oldís level, he wrote as if to an adult. This is a sad illustration of an almost total lack of regard and concern for young people.

Parents should not lean too heavily on the Church to teach their children. But, Churches should provide help to assist parents in this most important job of all. Church-sponsored youth activities are not an end to themselves. They are a tool that should be available, and should be properly used by parents.

If we care enough about Biblical childrearing, we will use any and all tools available.

Garner Ted Armstrong gives the following words of encouragement to parents:

"Remember! Knowledge is of NO VALUE ó except as it is APPLIED! . . . For the sake of your children in the terrifying days just ahead, you should be completely honest with yourself! . . . May God give you the wisdom and judgment, the patience and the love you will need to guide you in the most important responsibility of life ó rearing your children!" (The Plain Truth About Childrearing, page 103).

 

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