Looking back over your childhood, what are some of the things that you wish your parents had done differently? What are those things that you are grateful to your parents for?

One thing that I am grateful to my parents for, especially my dad, are the life lessons that I was taught. What were those life lessons? Well, for one, growing up, my father taught me the value of money. I received a very small allowance, and I had my assigned chores that I had to do to get that allowance money. And on those rare occasions when I needed a little extra cash, dad would not just hand the money over. Oh, no. He would find something for me to do to earn it. I remember one time I needed a little money, and my dad told me that I could earn it by taking a toothbrush and soapy water and cleaning the dusty, greasy kitchen floor corners. No, sir, there were no spoiled children in our house.

When I got a little older and I had my first minimum wage paying job, dad told me that I would have to pay a portion of one of the household utility bills. Keep in mind I was about 15 and only making about $70 a week. I guess dad wanted me to learn responsibility. Then when tax time came around, my dad offered to fill out my tax forms for me -- for a fee. He charged me $5. I learned early on how to pay my own way, and I realized without a doubt that money did not grow on trees.

Another financial lesson that dad taught me was the importance of having a good name. He stressed that you should never do anything that could ruin your credit. Dad used to say that your name is the only thing that you truly own and that once it's tarnished, it is almost impossible to ever get it back. My father would never co-sign for anyone. He would not even help my brother out when my brother wanted to purchase his first home. Yes, my father taught us kids some hard lessons about the value of money, and I have never forgotten them.

Now, don't get me wrong. At the time I was being taught these lessons, I wasn't so thrilled about them. As a youth, I thought my father was a tightwad. I envied the kids who got all the new clothes and bikes and games. But now as an adult who has A-1 credit, a good job, my own house, no outstanding debt, and an appreciative spirit, I can say a silent, "Thanks, Dad."

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But there are lots of life lessons that my mom and dad didn't teach me. And of all the things that I wish my folks had done differently, number one is I wish they had taken the time to teach me God's values and standards. Learning the value of money is great, but I wish I would have been taught about morality. A good name in matters of business is necessary, but I would have probably sinned a lot less growing up if I had learned to value my name as a child of God. I'm not blaming my parents for my past mistakes. I am just hoping to stress to you parents that as your child's first teacher, you have the responsibility and opportunity to lay the foundation that will shape and direct your child's life.

I believe that many parents have become lazy and apathetic in their parental duties. Parents seem to have thrown in the towel and now have an attitude of "if you can't beat them, join them" where their children are concerned. What do I mean? Well, let me ask you a few questions:

Have you taken the time to teach your children the virtues of purity and that their bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, or did you instead choose to teach your children about condoms, birth control, and safe sex? Do you, by example and words, stress a Godly attitude towards drinking and drugs, or are you waiting for some school program to give your child a "just say no" lesson? Do you keep your children accountable to you as their parent and guardian, or are you more interested in trying to be their best friend and get them to like you? Are you like Joshua, who said these wonderful words: "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15b), or have you left your children to find their own way in this world full of temptations, sins, and evil?

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Don't you know that children want to have standards to live up to? They want their parents to give them structure and guidance and direction. Kids may fight you every step of the way, but secretly they are grateful that you love them enough to want to fence them in with high standards and rules. And not only do your children want it -- God wants you to teach your children His commands and standards!

Deuteronomy 32:46, "And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law."

Deuteronomy 6:6-7, "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."


Remember in the book of Exodus where God's wrath was going to come down on Egypt and Pharaoh? God was going to kill all of the firstborn, and the only way to be saved from God's wrath was by spreading the blood of a lamb on the doorpost of your house. The fate of the children lay in their parents' hands. And because the Israelite parents were obedient and did as God commanded, not one Israelite child was lost. Death came to the firstborn of every Egyptian household because those parents did not do as God said.

Well, I wonder how many households today are going to lose their children because the parents have not taken the time to make sure that their household is washed in Christ's saving blood. Don't let your child become a casualty because you were not obedient to God's instruction. Again, be like Joshua and declare, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!" WE WILL. Not we might, if everyone is in agreement, but WE WILL!! 

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I know that there is no guarantee that your child will not become involved in pre-marital sex, drugs, gangs, the occult, whatever, but as a parent, you should do everything within your power to steer them away from this world's temptations. You should give your children the tools that they need to battle whatever this world throws their way. And you definitely should not be the one who introduces your child to anything negative. All of the early lessons I was taught regarding sex, drugs, lying, etc., were taught in my own home! Dad had the Playboy magazines delivered every month. Mom let my uncle take us to see R-rated movies. Both of my parents drank alcohol and smoked. Their conversations were often peppered with curse words. I was taught lying at home, you know, those "little white lies." For example, "If that is so-and-so on the phone, tell them I'm not here."

Parents, let your children see Christ living in you. Don't be bad role models. Be a blessing to your children. Proverbs 20:7, "The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him."

And, also, do not be afraid to restrain your children. God expects no less of you. 1 Samuel 3:13, "For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not."

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There is, I would imagine, no greater joy than seeing your child grow up to be a man or woman after God's own heart. Don't you want that for your child? Well, if you want it, you have to train them for it.

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

Proverbs 23:24, "The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him." 

And in following God's commands and instructing your children in His ways, you are leaving a legacy to your children that will pass on from generation to generation.

Psalm 132:12, "If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore."

Joel 1:3, "Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation."


But there will be shame and heartache in the house where the parents do not teach their children Godly standards:

Proverbs 29:15, "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame."

Proverbs 10:1, "A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother."

Psalm 89:30-31 "If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; if they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes."

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So in conclusion, I just want to encourage you parents to teach your children all of life's lessons, not just some. Your kids are counting on you more than you may realize. It will sometimes be a thankless task, but it has benefits that will reach into eternity!

And if you teach your children nothing else, please teach them the fear of the Lord.

Deuteronomy 5:29, "O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!"

Deuteronomy 31:13, "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."

Psalm 34:11, "Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord."


(Click here for "12 steps to raising a juvenile delinquent.")

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