Vol. 5, No. 7
~ Page 10 ~
We are dreading it like the plague -- and yet, we know there is nothing we can do about it. Our children will grow up, and one day leave home to build their own families. God blessed my wife and me with two precious children, who have brought a lifetime of joy and happiness in the few years he gave them to us for care and safekeeping. With bedraggled hair and lines on their faces, we have soaked up their morning time smiles. And with comforting arms and a plethora of nightlights, we have conquered nighttime monsters. All the while, watching their beautiful handprints fill our house. But the time will come when they grow up and move away, no longer under our guidance and care. Thus, this open letter to you.
I don't know what day it will be, or in what town you will likely see them. But chances are, in this "small world," your paths will cross one day. I hope on that day, you will remember this letter and help their mom and me out. Believe me when I tell you that we are praying for that day. For you see, as parents, we want nothing more than to hear Almighty God say to our children, "Well done good and faithful servants...enter thou into the joy of the Lord" (Matthew 25:23). We want them in heaven! Their souls mean more to us than all the material possessions on this planet. We are simply asking you to do all you can as a Christian to help us get them there.
Now please do not think we are unloading our responsibility on you. This is certainly not the case. We know that children are like arrows in the hand of a mighty man (Psalm 127:4), and it has been with forethought and determination that we have launched them towards that goal that we so lovingly call heaven. In fact, we have centered their lives around God and his Word from the day they were delivered into this world. Bibles do not collect dust on our shelves. We try to seize every opportunity available to teach them about God, Jesus, the Bible and his creation around us. We not only "talk the talk" of Christianity, but we humbly "walk the walk." When the doors of the church building were open, our children were there. We lost count of how many Gospel meetings, vacation Bible schools and area-wide singings they have attended. They were raised at the feet of men whose Bible knowledge and Christian example were nothing short of exemplary. But there will come a day when mom and dad's voices will not be heard as loudly as others. And sadly, there will come a time when we will not load them into our car to go to worship with us. And so, we are soliciting your help.
My wife and I do not subscribe to the idea of "political correctness." Thus, if you ever see our children doing something they shouldn't, correct them, and add a good swat as a reminder. Should they be running, playing and acting like the auditorium is a gymnasium, block their path and rebuke them --remind them that tracks and playgrounds are for running. If our children look sleepy or tired in worship, please ask them what was more important the evening before that caused God to take a backseat. If they are late to worship, tell them to buy a watch. If they leave the auditorium during the sermon, kindly remind them to get "their business" done before worship begins. If they walk by without speaking to (or worse yet, almost knocking over) elderly members in the church, take them by the arm and nip it right then and there. If they appear to be passing notes or not paying attention, kindly take a minute to ask them what they learned in the lesson that day, and ask them why we worship. Do not be afraid to tell them if they are dressed inappropriately. And if for any reason you do not see them in a worship assembly that they should be in, please pick up the phone and call them (and us) immediately. For you see, we want our children not only to be "Christians" in name, we want them to live faithful Christian lives.
If you have the opportunity to teach either one of our children in school, or in a Bible class, please challenge them. I know many "specialists" warn that we should not push our children too hard, but we would like to see ours wrestle with a few problems. Part of learning is knowing how to think on your own. This lesson will never be learned if they are given the answers each time something is challenging. How will a child learn perseverance or diligence if they are handed everything on a silver platter? Expect more from them, but be there for them when they sincerely need help. Do not accept mediocre performance, and do not allow them to become bored. Help motivate and educate them. God blessed them both with brains, and we expect them to use them.
We also do not buy into this idea of building our children's self-esteem in an unnatural way. If our children lose at a sporting event, please do not immediately run out and buy them something. If they make a poor grade, please do not curve it because they are nice. Some of the best lessons in life come at the expense of pain and tears. How will a child ever learn to improve if he is rewarded for everything in life? We want our children to understand that life will not always hand them roses. They need to be Christians whether they win or lose -- good times and bad. Use these times to help them get better, so that they can win in the future. Both of our children have grown up surrounded by love, and are complimented quite often. But we don't believe some guy, selling bestseller "how-to" books about self-esteem, knows what is best for our children. Call us old fashioned, but we still believe God's inspired Word knows what is best for us all.
If you happen to be the parents who are currently rearing the children who will be their future spouses, know that we are praying for you as well. We know that the values, character and spiritual emphasis you are currently placing in your children's life, will one day greatly affect our own children. Our children are being taught that marriage is for life -- period. And they will walk into their marriages able to quote God's one and only acceptable reason for divorce and remarriage. We hope your children are hearing the exact same message. We beg you to "do your homework now" -- teaching your children to love God more than anything in the world. Maybe, as parents, if we focused more on loving God, instead of only, "Thou Shall Not's," then our children's own hearts would be convicted when they face something God would not approve of. Your offspring will likely be one of the most influential factors in getting our children to heaven. Please do not take your job lightly!
And finally, dear Christian, please notice what type of example and influence you are being for our children. While they may sit by you in worship on Sunday, what message are you teaching them throughout the remainder of the week? They will see you walking into the corner grocery for alcoholic beverages. They will hear you belittle your family members or cuss out the waitress in the restaurant. They will watch you work overtime to buy more and more material things, and yet have no time or money for the church. They will hear you gripe and complain about the preacher and elders all the way home. They will learn about your priorities and commitment to sporting events as they look at Sunday night and Wednesday night attendance. They will observe elders who enjoy the "title," but are not strong enough to stand up for the Truth, especially if it means there will be confrontation. They will witness preachers who claim to love God, but then act in a way that proves otherwise. We hope when they look at you they will see nothing less than a Christian faithfully trying to serve our Almighty Creator.
The devil desperately wants my children. He would love nothing more than to have them as his own. However, he knows that as long as their mother and I still have breath in our lungs, we will be fighting for their souls -- a fight that we do not intend to lose. And with you in our Christian family, we know that the devil will fail. Know that we are eternally grateful for your help, and we ask for your continued prayers as we do all we can to get our children to heaven.