“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”Proverbs 22:6 NKJV
With morals rapidly declining in our world today, values depreciating, families disintegrating and violence rising fast, there is nowhere to look to but the very foundation of society which is the family. God made the first man and the first woman, children came out of them, and gradually, communities and nations evolved. The nation of Israel began with Abraham’s family which grew to seventy people by the time of Jacob. Over 430 years in Egypt, it had ballooned to over 2 million people. Every nation begins with a family. Today, various nations and ethnicities have developed unique cultures and traditions, yet, they all began in families. The Jewish nation, distinguished by circumcision and many other aspects of their unique culture transcending global geography is a product of a family’s evolution.
“If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?”Psalms 11:3 NKJV
The first five years of a child is the period the child is most vulnerable to influence. Once the first five years are lost, it is very difficult to instil the right values into a child. Values like honesty, respect, generosity, gentleness, kindness, sense of duty and several others are first introduced in the first five years. Of course, work continues till puberty as parents continue to teach, train, discipline and also add formal education. It is pertinent to note the greater challenge of trying to lay a foundation in teenage years as the only effective parenting style becomes ‘Cooperative Parenting’. Only persuasion works at this point and not instruction nor commandments. Parental influence remains certainly but lacks the same power as other influences are also introduced from school, friends, the media and other sources.
It was quite naive of me when I got born again to think everyone would change overnight. Unfortunately, the greatest headache for Pastors are the members who lack proper home training. Imagine how much worse is a Pastor who lacks home training. The result of poor home training therefore shows up everywhere. An entire nation can be steeped in a regressive culture as a result of a faulty character foundation from her homes. Several nations of the world today, Nigeria my native country included are being destroyed by greed and avarice that is a part of family lives. Imagine a Nigeria where millions of homes teach their children contentment, abhorrence of greed and honesty. It will transform the country rapidly. Solving national problems therefore has a whole lot to do with laying the right foundations in the families.
Parents have to realize the beginning of home training is setting the right examples. Children learn more by imitation than anything else. I respect parents who make serious decisions for the sake of not demonstrating bad behaviour before their children. A father quit smoking the moment his first daughter was born. Another father told me he quit both smoking and drinking so as not to be a bad example. Children who see their parents on bended knees in prayer grow up to pray in dependence upon God. Those who see their parents give to God, the poor and others in need grow up to do the same. Those who see violence tend to be violent too and those who grow up to hear insults tend to be uncouth with the words of their mouths.A boy that sees his father yell at his mother will likely do the same when he gets married. A boy raised by a selfish father who lends no domestic support, ignores the wives feelings and shows her no respect will grow up with the same values and not realize they are wrong. Same goes for every human being who is raised with one vice or the other, one misconduct or another.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”
Ephesians 6:1 NKJV
It is my belief however, that teaching our children to make Jesus the center of their lives is the greatest legacy we can hand them. The expression ‘in the Lord’ which can also be translated as ‘through the Lord’ speaks of how children should be taught that obeying their parents is to be done through a reliance on the power of the indwelling Christ. This reliance is a matter of being conscious that Christ lives within us and so we draw of His Grace by faith. This foundation, if laid becomes a part of their lives as they grow. It now becomes natural for the ladies to submit to their husbands as unto the Lord and the husbands love their wives as Christ loved the church and laid his life down for her. A Christ centred home makes His Word the standard and so where there is a gap between the character and the example of Christ, efforts are made to correct them.