The Pleasure and Pain of Parenting.
“A wise child brings joy to a father; a foolish child brings grief to a mother.” – Proverbs 10:1 NLT
Parenting is hard work. It is not for the feint of heart or the weak of back. It requires incredible energy and fortitude, limitless endurance, boundless courage, and a certain degree of blind faith. Raising children is a huge responsibility that can intimidate the bravest of souls. It can make the strong weak in the knees and turn the most confident of men into sniveling, teary-eyed basket cases. But all the same, there is nothing more gratifying than to watch your children grow and mature, making the most of the gifts and abilities God has given them. It is a blessing to pour into their lives and see God use you in His grand scheme to mold them into the likeness of His Son. It does not always go well or even quite like you had imagined or dreamed. There are setbacks and heartaches along the way. Children have a mind and a will of their own, and their not afraid to use either one. They can be loving and frustrating. They can warm our hearts and try our patience. They can bring a smile to our faces and a tear to our eye – all within just a few minutes time span.
It seems that Solomon knew well the joys and sorrows of parenting. He talked about it a lot. And he dealt regularly with the topic of the foolish child. Here in verse one of Proverbs 10 he describes two different children. One is wise and the other is foolish. He says the wise child brings joy to his father. He makes him proud. But a foolish child makes his mother sad. He brings her to her knees in prayer and despair. The specific Hebrew word Solomon uses for fool is kecîyl and it means fool, stupid fellow or dullard. This is a very specific kind of fool. He is not talking about the simple fool, that child-like fool who, because of his young age, doesn’t know how to make good choices and lacks good judgment. No, Solomon is describing that individual who is stubborn, arrogant, and set in his or her ways. They reject the discipline of their parents and all authorities in their lives. They seem determined to make wrong choices. They are sensual fools, driven by their passions and obsessed with immediate gratification. They can’t deny themselves anything and lack the common sense to know better. These kind of children don’t just happen, they get this way over time. They are that innocent, young boy who one day turns out to be that insolent, rebellious teenager whose parents barely recognize him. He is lazy, unreliable, unteachable, and will ultimately be destroyed for his lack of common sense (Proverbs 10:21). They actually enjoy doing wrong (Proverbs 10:23), and make light of sin (Proverbs 10:10). What mother wouldn’t cry over a child like that?
So how do we keep our children from becoming sensual fools? The easy answer is that we expose them to the wisdom of God. We teach them the truth of God’s Word. We model what it means to fear God and honor Him with our actions. But in the end, their is no guarantee that our children will turn out perfectly. Proverb 22:6 says, “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” But that is not a promise. It is a proverb or wise saying. It is not a guarantee from God that our children will turn out well if we do out part. There are too many examples of train-wrecked lives to prove that not true. It is a calling to do our part as parents. We have a God-given responsibility to teach our children well, to point them to Christ and to model Christlikeness in front of them. But when it is all said and done, they each have a will of their own. They will each have to develop a faith of their own. They may make wrong choices. They may choose a different path. They may become a sensual fool and bring tears to the eyes of their mother. We can’t make godly children. Only God can do that. So with all our effort at parenting, we must never forget that we need God’s help. He alone can make our children wise. He alone can keep them on the right path. It is their relationship with God through Jesus Christ that will make them wise, not us. We have a part to play, but it is ultimately up to God. Turn them over to Him early in their lives. Place them in His hands for safe keeping. Do your job. Love on them. Teach them. Discipline them. But entrust them to God for their future well-being.
Father, thank You that I am not alone in this parenting thing. You have always been there for me. Any good in my children is totally due to You. I praise You for Your faithfulness to my family. You have each of my kids in Your hands. You will see them through. You have a plan for each of them and that plan will be perfectly fulfilled. Help me to trust You as I play my role as a father in their lives. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men