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Archive for December, 2010

Scripture: Discipline your children, and they will give you rest; they will give delight to your heart.  (Prov 29:17 NRSV)
Observation: Vs. 16 and 18 of this chapter of proverbs refer to the discipline of children.  Discipline and discipleship come from the same root word and include education, training and correction.
Application: Several books I have read recently emphasize the fact that parents have the primary responsibility for the spiritual growth of their children.  Another way of saying this is that the responsibility for discipling children and preparing them for eternity falls on their parents’ lap.  As parents, we cannot relegate that responsibility to anyone else. And yet, more and more parents are doing just that – neglecting their role and delegating others to raise their children.     I did a little bit of math and was astonished at the results:
Hours in one year (365 days X 24 hours) = 8760

Hours spent in church each year =   200

Hours spent sleeping each year = 2920

Hours spent in school each year = 1100

Hours spent with parents/friends = 4540

Several things jumped at me immediately:

1. Even for those families that spend a lot of time at church (more than three hours each week), the total number of hours a child spends at church each year barely amounts to about 200.  That being the case, we cannot expect the church to have the strongest spiritual influence on your children, even if the sermons are good, even if Sabbath School is great, even if the church has a great youth program or even a youth pastor, even if the church has a lot of youth-oriented programs or activities.

2. Because children spend about 1100 hours a year in school, we can’t minimize the influence of the school in the spiritual life of a child – for good or for bad.  That’s why I have encouraged parents in previous blogs to have their children in an Adventist school where the opportunities to learn about God are greater than in public school where, and to not present their children to the public school altar where teachers, staff, and fellow students have such strong influence in undermining Biblical principles, doctrines, and beliefs.

3. Even adding time spent at church, at school, and sleeping, they don’t equal the number of hours that parents have to spend with their children.  Obviously, I don’t know that it would be healthy for parent or child to spend every one of those 4540 hours together, but if parents were intentional in spending just 1/4 of those hours, or 1135 hours, that would be about 21 hours each week, or on average 3 hours each day.  Those three hours could be spent in prayer, bible study, conversation, help with homework, work around the house (together), playing games, in some community project, visiting the sick, elderly, or house-bound, and in so many other activities together.  That’s probably what Moses referred to when he wrote: “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. {7} Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deu 6:6-7 NIV)  Staring today, make an effort to spend time, quality and quantity, with your children.  You will influence them for eternity.

Prayer: Father, help me to spend time with my children and to not allow anything else to rob me of that special gift only I can give them which could mean their life and salvation.

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