Psyched Parents

Samson’s parents did not say it to him. (Judges 14) David probably did not say it very often to Absalom. Samuel did not say it enough to his sons. (1 Sam. 2) What is it that these parents failed to express to their children? It is the word, "No!"

With all the emphasis placed on children over the past several decades, and much of it was needed, the pendulum has swung too far. The truth is that in many families children are now the focal point and in far too many families they actually run the show. As a result discipline is completely missing, or is often threatened but never administered. In some cases the children actually come before the parents’ marriage.

Too many parents are afraid that they might offend the child by saying, "No!". The psychologists have stressed so much that children need to be loved, and parents must devote "quality time" to them, that many parents simply bend over backwards in fear that the child might be deprived his wish. The result is that the family revolves around the children and the children set the direction of the family. Too often time proves this to be a mistake.

Children decide on a regular basis what the meals will be, where the family will go on vacation, or whether they will get a pool, or not. They dictate such things as, the brand of clothes they will wear, their hair style, and the family schedule. Gymnastics, soccer, little league, and other similar activities take center stage, and everyone else’s schedule falls in line.

This often carries over into the local assembly where young people are given all they want, and soon the assembly finds its direction set by the younger ones as well.

Having said all this, does this mean we simply ignore our children and the young people in the assembly—not at all! It does, however, mean that we need to keep things in proper perspective, and that children and young people need to learn that the world does not revolve around them. (The natural man is already the center of his world without encouraging it further.) One of the great lessons to be learned in spiritual growth is to "look on the things of others." (Phil. 2:4) To have a concern for the interests of others, and to look away from "self." This is exactly the attitude that is being stresses in the lovely portion that follows which describes the "mind of Christ"—He was "others" minded.

To place the children above all else and to give them all that they demand, and to simply allow them to go unchecked is, in fact, an expression of a lack of love and a source of ultimate shame. (Prov. 29:15)