‘Teach them to your children and to their children after them.’ Deuteronomy 4:9 NIV
In his book Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right from Wrong, William Kilpatrick identifies two more child-rearing myths that parents mistakenly fall for:
(1) The myth that all moral problems are psychological in nature. In this view, behavioural problems are seen as issues related to self-esteem or unmet psychological needs. The old-fashioned idea that behavioural problems can be the result of ‘wilfulness’ on the part of children doesn’t seem to occur to the average child-raising expert. If you look in the index of a typical child-rearing book you will find a great many pages devoted to ‘self-esteem’, but you’re not likely to find the word ‘character’ very often.
(2) The myth that parents don’t have a right to instil their values in their children. Once again, the standard dogma is that children must create their own values. But children have precious little chance to do that, since the rest of the culture has no qualms about imposing its values on them. Does it make sense for parents to remain neutral bystanders when everyone else from scriptwriters to entertainers, and advertisers to sex educators, insist on selling their values to our children?
When it comes to child-raising, this is what God told His people: ‘Be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.’ Parent, when it comes to instilling spiritual values into your children, ask yourself this: if not you, then who? If not now, then when?
SoulFood: 1 John 3:11–5:21, John 8:31–41, Ps 30, Pro 25:13–17
The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2020
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