Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Great Experiment

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

When you were growing up, were there rules in your house?  I am thinking the answer is probably yes.  How did you feel about those rules?  Were there times when you did not care for your parents’ rules?  Again, I believe most likely the answer is yes.  We might not have always appreciated them, but when we grew up we came to realize the rules were necessary and for our own good.  I know in my parents’ house there were a number of rules I had to follow and these were non-negotiable.  They included, but were not limited to, no smoking, no profanity, no alcohol, no loud rock music, and no dogs or cats allowed in the house. 

Many a teenager has dreamed of living in a home where there were no rules, and wouldn’t that be great?  They might think if their parents let them do anything they wanted, then they would love and adore them.  Hmm, I wonder.  I recall a brother and sister I was acquainted with during my teenage years whose parents practiced what I would describe as a unique form of parenting.  In short, they allowed their teenage children to do pretty much anything they wanted with no rules or restrictions.  These teenagers were allowed to come and go as they pleased, even at all hours of the night, they smoked in the house, openly drank alcohol, even though they were underage, and even used various illegal drugs, all under their parents’ roof.  As hard as this is to believe, I witnessed it with my own eyes.

One might think these young people thought their parents were just wonderful.  I assure you this was far from the case.  I recall the young man, whose name was Mike, speaking of his parents in the most condescending terms.  He clearly despised them, held them in utter contempt, and had no respect for them.  He and his sister had frequent run-ins with the law, were wildly out of control, and were as unhappy as any young people I knew at the time.  I recall that even though I lived an opposite life in a home where standards of conduct were strictly enforced, I did not envy these two at all.  In fact, I soon came to avoid them as going to their home was an unnerving experience.  It wasn’t until I grew up that I realized what the problem was; Mike and his sister lived in a world without boundaries, which left them insecure and bitter.  Their parents’ great experiment in child rearing failed miserably.  I eventually lost touch with them, yet I pray they found peace and the true way in Christ. 

I also realized I had something the two teenagers in question lacked.  I respected my parents.  I didn’t always like their rules, but I came to respect them for their integrity.  Let us pray that young parents of today will learn the value of Proverbs 22:6 and will strive to train their children to know the Lord.  If you were raised in a loving and God fearing home, stop right now and thank the Lord for it.

God bless you today.