Without controversy, parents should love their children enough to teach them principles of living. Sometimes it may seem harsh or unbending, but discipline comes of love. Not necessarily punishment — although that might be part of discipline — rules of living have to be learned in order to be a productive member of society.
It’s not the “village” that is responsible for “raising” a child. Too often, the raising of children is left to those outside the home. With varying ideas on right and wrong and religious and non-religious philosophies in the world’s cultural society, how could a child learn established guidelines for living?
One day, I talked to a young man whose mother lay in a casket. I listened as he told me how the life his parents lived before him and the way they had taught him to love God had made the difference in his life now. Theirs was the “peaceable fruit of righteousness” which was now visible in the life of their son. His mother and father had given him a great heritage — the greatest.
On the other hand, another young man bemoaned his sinful situation. “Oh, I wish someone would have helped me remember those things!” said the 17-year-old as he listened to his aunt’s teaching his younger sister important truths for living. The aunt told how, when she was growing up, her mother would “help her remember” the things that she needed to learn in order to live peaceably in society.
The young man felt cheated. Why had not someone cared enough to “help him remember” when he was younger — perhaps his life would have been vastly different — now he felt it was too late. His troubled life was the result of “let him make his own decision.”
Do we want our children to feel cheated when it comes to the love that demands teaching and righteous upbringing? The faith and patience for children of God to walk constantly and diligently with joy in peace and holiness that we experience are the lessons of obedience and trust which should be passed on to our children. These will become the treasured “remembered” lessons.
Children learn and are reminded of things that have been the fabric of their lives — this forms the basis for later decisions in life. We want them to accumulate reminders that keep them going in the right direction. Then they won’t have to look back at failures and hopelessness and say, “I wish someone had helped me to remember.”
In Joel 1:3, we read: “Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.”
There is a song that goes: “Remember I’m human and humans forget; So remind me, remind me, dear Lord.”
The Israelites were human too and, like us, they would forget. But God had instructed them to set up reminders along the way for their children later on.
The first was the 12 stones taken from the Jordan River erected at Gilgal to witness to the miracle of Jordan dividing.
The second time, it was to remind them they couldn’t sin and get by with the stones covering Achan.
Third, a pile of stones signified a victory the Lord gave to the Israelites over Ai.
A stone altar on Mount Ebal inscribed with the name of Moses was the fourth reminder.
Another victory, this time over the Amorites, was marked by a fifth pile of rocks.
The sixth witness was a stone altar built to the unity of spirit and purpose on the east and west sides of the Jordan River.
And in Joshua 24:26 (KJV), Joshua “took a great stone and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the Lord.” This was a witness to the covenant between God and Israel. God did not want Israel to forget her history.
In Joshua 4:6-7 (KJV), they were told why: “That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?” Then ... “ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.”
What kind of reminders have you put into place? What answers will you give your children?