Parents can guide, but children make their own choices
How many parents have waited for the day when their child’s eyes would suddenly be opened and, like the prodigal, they will finally see the truth and change their ways? Mothers and fathers dearly love their kids, but, unfortunately, things do not always go as planned and many difficult children have caused their parents much worry, sadness and disappointment. It is easy to blame the parents, but I do not believe that all liability can be laid at their doorstep.
Parents have the perfect opportunity to present constructive thinking, discipline and a sense of right and wrong in their children’s minds and spirits within the formative years; however, this does not always guarantee the children will continue in the direction they were pointed. We guide and provide for our children, but they have minds of their own.
Children are like sponges when it comes to learning and are very curious about what they observe, which gives every parent the dual opportunity of being the instructors and demonstrating what they believe in front of the children. We must also realize that children are vulnerable to other outside influences and have the ability to embrace whatever they want. So, how important is it to protect and guard the mind and spirit of a young child? Many experts agree that the first six years in a child’s life are the most important years of mental, emotional and spiritual development. It is believed that the foundation that is laid within the individual’s conscience during this crucial period of time becomes the decision filter they will use for the rest of his or her life.
It is no secret that young couples are inexperienced when they begin raising children of their own, but a key to success can be connected back to their own childhood. The generational cycle of curses and blessings are very real, and it is generally accepted that knowledge is transferred from generation to generation, whether it be positive or negative, and is directly associated with behavior. It is wonderful when parents realize their own lack of understanding and make it a priority to improve the cycle for the sake of their children. Instead of a “rolling the dice” attitude, there are many wonderful educational resources that are Biblically based with constructive spiritual principals.
Does the concept of good parents producing good children always work? Through the years, I have talked with many broken-hearted parents who have wondered where they went wrong. They are good people who lived a decent moral life, took their kids to church, corrected them and tried to teach them as best as they could. In these times of trying to console, the scripture found in Proverbs 22:6 usually finds its way to the surface. “Train up a child in the way they should go, and when they are old, they will not depart from it.” This passage reminds us that if good seed has been planted within the heart of the child, God’s living Word will eventually germinate and become manifested later in life. I’m sure many bewildered parents have been waiting a long time to see this miracle, and we could speculate forever, but I have come to the conclusion that when a person becomes an adult they simply choose what type of life they want to live.
For moms and dads who have reflected on the past and where they have made mistakes, we can all ask God to forgive us — and He will. It is important that we stop blaming ourselves for the choices our child is making. The Lord is aware of the situation and is listening to our prayers. He loves us and our children and is filled with understanding and compassion. So, let us continue having faith and hope in His promises that never fail. Remember that it is never too late to talk with our children and sincerely share our heart with them. There is nothing impossible with God, and He can make a way where there seems to be no way.
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. The effectual (unceasing) fervent prayer of a righteous person accomplishes much.” James 5:16.
Written by Dr. Billy Holland. He lives in Central Kentucky with his wife Cheryl, where he is a Christian author and community outreach chaplain. See more information at billyhollandministries.com.