As our children begin a new school year, I’m sure you’re aware of the anti-Christian bias in our schools today. Secular humanists want to remove all mention of God from educational curricula, which eliminates wisdom from education and leaves only knowledge.
So, who will teach our children wisdom? Who will teach them about the Word of God and things like truth, purity, integrity, morality and honesty?
Parents and guardians.
Knowledge is the accumulation of facts. And, yes, we need an education to advance in this world. But Proverbs 24:3 says, “By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established” and Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
We are to raise our children in the ways of God’s wisdom. Why? Because knowledge isn’t enough. We are involved in a spiritual battle and our children are right in the center of it, as our culture is in conflict with the ways of God and the Word of God.
There is no room for passive parents or guardians in this generation — parents and guardians who don’t want to confront the issues, who aren’t involved, who don’t discipline or who want to be their child’s best friend rather than their protector.
We must commit to being parents and guardians who make a difference by imparting wisdom into the lives of our children.
Wisdom is the practical and spiritual application of knowledge. We “train up” our children in wisdom by teaching them how to apply the facts to life and to work. This doesn’t mean we have to be drill sergeants shouting orders. Rather, it means we must be actively involved in the relationship, the rules and the rewards.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t discipline our children. We should establish firm, age-appropriate guidelines for our children. Correction and consequences are a part of parenting. However, we must be very careful not to break our child’s spirit by constantly finding fault, nagging and criticizing. When it comes to discipline, we are to be reasonable, right, respectful and real.
Yet, many kids are hassled and provoked because their parents or guardians worry about things that really don’t matter in light of eternity. Some parents are more interested in pushing their kids to the top of the success ladder at school, in athletics or in the arts rather than seeing them grow spiritually. We should never push our children to succeed because of our own failures. Nor should we use our children to compete against others.
Parents and guardians, your children are looking to you for an example. All the limits or activities in the world can equal a big zero without leadership. We must set an example for our children through our personal habits, our work ethic, our spiritual life, our service to others and so much more.
Leading with God’s wisdom is what will make an eternal difference in the life of our children.
We do this by talking about our faith with them and by sharing our love of God in our day-to-day life. Children can spot a phony from miles away, even if that phony happens to be their parent or guardian. They know if we’re simply saying something or if we really believe what we say.
We shouldn’t be afraid to admit our mistakes and ask for God’s help in front of our children. In fact, some of the most powerful words that our children may ever hear us say are, “I’m sorry, I was wrong. Please forgive me.” We live in a cynical and judgmental world and because of that, we need to teach our children about grace and forgiveness.
We should also speak words of promise into our children’s lives. We help children understand and rise to their place in God’s Kingdom when we say, “You are a promise from God. You have amazing potential! You are a gift from God!” We should never stop telling our children that we love them.
As a parent or guardian, blessing your child is one of the most important callings you have. Take the time today to study and know your child. Look into your child’s eyes and seek your child’s heart. And don’t let the days and years get away from you without speaking words of blessing.
My parents never read a book on how to parent their children. I don’t think they ever attended a seminar. My dad had an 8th grade education. But they made an incredible difference in my life and in my brother’s life.
How? Because they didn’t just tell us what they believed. They showed us.
One of the big responsibilities in training up our children is to prepare them for life and then to protect them in the midst of life. Nothing matters more in this generation than that our children would find their refuge, salvation and security in Christ.
Your children are watching you. So be a model of virtue and purity. Be the kind of person your child can trust and respect as a role model.
Teach them wisdom.
Dr. Jack Graham is the pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, one of the largest and fastest growing churches in America. He is also a noted author, and his PowerPoint Ministries broadcasts are available in 92 countries and are heard daily in more than 740 cities. He has served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention and the honorary chairman of the 2015 National Day of Prayer.