KELLY NEW (PASTORAL INTERN)
I wish my parents knew…
“… that I am scared and I’m hurt.”
“… they could focus on me instead of my results.”
“… how much I love them and I hope they love me too.”
“… I hope they would stop working for a while just to talk to me.”
These are the words I have been reading and hearing lately, serving as a chaplain in school. For some, having a complete family feels like a dream that will never come true; and yet for others, their complete family is the nightmare they can never wake up from.
Lately, as part of our preparation for Children’s Day, I took a closer look at the children’s names and noted that 乐(joy), 恩(grace), 睿(astute) and 智(wisdom) were the most common choices. Looking at the words, I recalled how I named my children and could relate to how many parents wished only the best for their unborn child when considering all the possible names for their children. Sadly, as the years go by, along with our “survival instincts”, parents feel obligated to push their children to succeed and, in the process, we may hurt the very ones we are trying to protect.
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children;
instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
Paul reminded parents not to exasperate their children but sometimes, we fear if we spare the rod, we might spoil the child placed under our care. So where does that thin line lie and how do we know when we have crossed it? To these, God has the answer. Because anger often leads to sin, we need to be mindful of our words when we discipline our children. Are we instructing them towards righteousness or are we insulting them as we vent our disappointments? When we call them stupid, we remember that God made this child and God does not make mistakes?
How then can we bring up our children so that they find favour with both God and man? In Ephesians 6, parents are commanded to achieve this in two steps – to train and to instruct. To train is to discipline in a manner that encourages self-control and to do what is right in spite of our personal desires; to instruct would be through correction, education and by setting an example. Both steps require us to walk closely with our children. Besides, if God spent time with Adam and Eve daily, shouldn’t we too?
“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
It’s not going to be easy but let’s do this together! Blessed Children’s Day.