A Parental Challenge
The following moth story can help us understand part of our role as parents: “One man noticed an emperor moth struggling to emerge through a small hole in its cocoon so he decided to assist it. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the cocoon. The moth emerged easily, but it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The little moth spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly. Later the man learned the struggle required for the moth to get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the moth into its wings so that it would be ready for flight. By depriving the moth of a struggle, he deprived the moth of health.” – Fresh
Sometimes allowing a child to suffer consequences is the best thing for them to develop proper character going forward. Parenting is such a demanding calling and requires much patience and personal discipline to properly train and develop a child. Parenting is a challenge!
Colossians 3:21 teaches, “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.”
Parents who take serious the Bible admonitions about parenting will want to know what this verse means in their daily life. Parents must be parenting with purpose. There must be an end goal, a hopeful desire that you want to see achieved before your child leaves your home. Besides the physical and academic growth, we should strive for our children to be more like Jesus, exhibiting real Christ-likeness and not simply outer conformity. It is a terrific goal. Consistent and specific development objectives should be worked towards.
Part of the goals you have should include – not discouraging your child.
Discouraged is defined as “to be spiritless, i.e. disheartened: –to be dismayed.”
Have you ever watched a child wondering through life and it seems his eyes are glazed over? Perhaps you have seen a teenager seem totally in a fog. Sometimes this is attributed to illegal drugs, or it may be a child who has been abused or neglected. Sometimes it is caused by overused behavioral medications. At any rate, we have all seen children that seem to have no drive, desire, or motivation. They are emotionless, going through the motions of life.
A child living with a lot of anger eventually becomes a child who has been discouraged to the extreme. He may look as if he has no reason to live. According to Colossians 3:21, a parent could provoke his child to this extreme form of discouragement.
Provoke is a Bible term that means to “to stimulate (especially to anger).” In the context of this verse, the word “anger” is connected to this word “provoke.”
Angry words, lifting of the voice, a lack of attention, a perception of not loving or caring could each be ways a child is stimulated to anger.
Anger left unchanged will become consistent discouragement. Disillusionment can set in early in life. So many children today are cynical about life.
There are many other areas we could consider that could provoke a child to anger: making fun of a child, making a big deal about small things, not giving a purpose in the home (such as responsibilities which give meaning and purpose), embarrassing a child on purpose, and even not giving good council and clear direction for choices (“What do you want to do?” Is not good parenting. “What does God want you to do?” Or, “What does the Bible say you should do?” Is much better.). You get the idea. Here are three areas we must avoid or we may provoke our children to anger and if left unchecked, disillusionment with life could develop:
- Allowing Arguing is not proper parenting. When a parent comes down to peer level and allows arguing, it creates insecurity in the child and feeds the natural man’s desire for rebellion. A child allowed to argue will become good at manipulation to get his or her own way. Big and sweeping changes happen in a family when a child becomes boss. Even the least bit of argument can create a spirit of anger. Constant battles, raised voices, angry words, flashes of facial hatred should not be tolerated. Be firm and be loving. Be the parent. Be the boss.
- Accepting Un-Thankfulness ill prepares a child for life. Not developing an attitude of appreciation is a fast way to provoke to anger. A child left to be un-thankful will find nothing to be “good enough in life.” An un-thankful heart is a rebellious heart for the Lord said: “In everything give thanks.”
This is generally seen in complaining. For example: “School is not good enough – I need to transfer. Church programs are not good enough. Friends are not good enough. The food is terrible. A Birthday gift was not big enough. I wish I had more_______.”
A parent determined to not see their child angry and discouraged will not seek to constantly please the child but will do everything possible develop an attitude that does not complain. “Attitude Adjustments” are needed in some children more than others.
A child left to complain will grow into young adulthood and never find contentment and satisfaction unless the Lord dramatically changes their life. A college class will be “no good.” A married spouse will “not satisfy me.” The workplace will be “boring” and “I hate my job” will become the norm. Just “getting by” will become common place. A person like this also becomes real adept at skipping around from church to church.
- Removing Anticipation. Kids should have something to look forward to with each new school year, and with each age they arrive at. Becoming a teenager should be mysterious and include new things to look forward to. Becoming a college student and young adult should be exciting. Saving sex for marriage is part of the mystery and awe for newlyweds. Anticipation is needed in life.
In our family, our children are taught to look forward to the next step. For example: A full size bicycle at age 11, youth group starting in grade 7, summer Bible camp in grade 8, for the girls – earrings after age 11, a driver license at 16, the chance to play on a High School sports team in High School. You get the picture. However you choose to develop your child – it must include anticipation for something special about the future.
When kids are given everything – they will develop a sense of emptiness and shallowness. Some have so much given so early in life – they have nothing to look forward to and start searching and longing for a reason to live. This is one reason so many turns to vapes, tobacco, alcohol, illegal drugs and illicit sexual activity; it is sometimes because they have nothing good to look forward to.
Take this parental challenge: Don’t allow arguing, change the bad attitude of un-appreciation, and make every year something to look forward to with great anticipation.