September 1, 2022

Learn About The Father’s Love

“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” Ephesians 6:4

Robert Knowles thought that he knew the formula for conveying values to children.  He told the press that he really believed a child would turn out just fine if the parents loved the child, spent plenty of time with him, involved him in wholesome activities, and helped him get a balanced education.  Quote:  “Suddenly after 17 years of dedicated effort, something happened to my fool-proof plan.  I found I was the father of a murderer.”

What happened?  Knowles’ son was sentenced to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to the murder of a 16-year-old girl who had spurned his advances.  The father said, “The shock, agony and soul-searching are unbelievable.  Everything you believe in is gone in one bolt of lightning that rips your heart out at the same time.  What went wrong?  Nothing fits your notions of criminal behavior and what to do about it.”

No parent dare be so smug or sure of himself, that he can take lightly what Robert Knowles said.  But the question remains, “What went wrong?  What caused the son to apparently turn his back on everything his parents believed in?”

Of one thing you can be certain.  Every parent, no matter what he does, is conveying a value system to his child–the parent who purposely sets out to convey a positive value system, as well as the parent who lets his children take the path of least resistance and do whatever he or she pleases.

Insight:  The greatest contributors to a child’s value system are his mother and father, at least, in the long term.  The most immediate, his peer group.  A child’s value system becomes a reflection of the aggregate influences in his life, whether they be what is seen on television and the media, what friends think, or the impact that church and God have in his life.  A parent who models the message and reflects the kind of a value system in his personal life which he wants his child to embrace is far more effective than a parent who talks about one thing but practices another.

The parent who acknowledges personal failure when it happens is teaching an important lesson:  As we confess our sin and failure, our Heavenly Father also forgives us and gives us the strength to overcome.  But the parent who pretends to be perfect when, in reality, he or she is very fallible is teaching hypocrisy, and our kids pick up on that very quickly.

No parent, however, can convey much of a value system apart from being present.  Taking time for hobbies, for recreation, for worship, for time together is all part of showing what you think is important.  Don’t for a moment confuse quality time with quantity time.  They aren’t the same, and no stretch of the imagination can convince you that a couple hours on the weekend compensate for your absence on Monday through Friday.

The first mention of the word “love” in the Bible is that of a father’s love for his son, and thereby God must be telling us something very, very important.  A child may have many influences in his life, but there is never another person who can fully and completely substitute for the presence of a dad.

When it is all said and done, every child has a will of his own.  Regardless, most parents, perhaps Robert Knowles included, feel personal failure when a child goes wrong.  Follow the biblical mandate of raising your child in the discipline and the instruction of the Lord, and then let God do His work in your child’s heart.  You can trust Him to do His part when you have done yours.


Resource Reading:  Deuteronomy 6:1-9