Parenting is the most important job in which we will ever be involved. The future of our children, the church and the nation depend on how we raise our precious offspring. J. Edgar Hoover stated,
There is no synthetic replacement for a decent home life. Our high crime rate, particularly among juveniles, is directly traceable to a breakdown in moral fiber -- to the disintegration of home and family life. Religion and home life are supplementary. Each strengthens the other. It is seldom that a solid and wholesome home life can be found in the absence of religious inspiration.
It has been said that "between the child and God stands the parent -- a separating wall or a connecting link." It is a must that we realize that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to train up a child in a way we ourselves are not willing to go. In this study, we will be focusing on mothers. As I see it, a mother's responsibility falls into three basic categories: training, discipline and example.
A mother must be involved in the training of her children. Solomon taught, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6, ASV). To "train" a child is to communicate "the way" to them -- "the way he should go." A mother needs to give her children what can be handled and what is needed to direct them.
In training children in "the way," mothers need to remember that there is a "broad way" and a "narrow way." Our Lord announced,
"Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many are they that enter thereby. For narrow is the gate, and straightened the way, that leadeth unto life, and few are they that find it" (Matthew 7:13-14).
The "broad way," of course, is the way that seems right to man, "but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs 14:12). The "narrow way" is through Jesus and "no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).
It is important to realize that between birth and age 21, the average child spends 105,000 hours awake. Of these waking hours, an average of 2,100 are spent in Bible classes and worship. About 10,000 hours are spent in secular schools. However, 92,000 hours are spent at home. We should easily see the need for training our children at home. Read carefully Deuteronomy 6:4-9 as added emphasis to the importance of training our children in the way they should go.
Furthermore, a mother must also be involved in the disciplining of her children. Discipline in the home is vital, for without discipline there will be no respect for authority. Mothers need to teach their children to respect the authority of parents and the authority of God. Our jails are full of those who were not disciplined to respect authority in youth. Also, there are many who have become unfaithful to the Lord because they were not disciplined as a child.
Solomon declared, "He who spares his rod hates his son. But he who loves him disciplines him promptly" (Proverbs 13:24, NKJV). "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame" (Proverbs 29:15).
Finally, a mother must set forth a good example for her children. Children blindly and trustingly imitate their parents. Moms need to realize that if they yell and gossip, more than likely, so will their children (Proverbs 11:16; 14:1). If a mom is not honest, what chance will her children have?
Surveys have shown that when both parents are active in the work of the church, 93% of the children remain faithful. When only one parent was active, 73% of the children remained faithful to the Lord. When both parents were marginally active, their children remained faithful only 53% of the time. When both parents attended worship services infrequently, only 6% of the children continued in the faith. The need for mothers (and fathers) to set good examples for their children is easily seen.
This type of good example was seen in Lois and Eunice. Paul, writing to Timothy, was "reminded of the unfeigned faith that is in thee; which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and, I am persuaded, in thee also" (Timothy 1:5). Jesus said, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). Would this not apply to mothers as well? Mothers need to set forth good examples in their speech, Bible study, honesty, modesty and how important the Lord and his church really are to her. Mothers, you have an important and awesome responsibility in raising your children.