A renowned pastor recently was arrested for restraining his daughter. There were various reports that she hit her father and he had to take action.
That recent event reminded me of the time when my daughters walked into the room and said, “Dad may we ask you a question?” “Sure,” I replied. “When you were a kid, did you ever say no when your father told you to do something?” Now it was my turn to ask a question. Perhaps it came out a little stronger than it should have, but in my defense, I was in shock.
“Are you girls crazy? Heck no! There was no way I could have lived in my father’s house and ever responded “no” when I was told to do something. As a matter of fact, that thought and those words never entered my mind until this very moment when you girls mentioned it. I had a healthy fear and respect for my parents, a fear and respect that they earned and deserved. They supplied me with love, food, clothing and a roof over my head. Much like Richard Gere’s character in An Officer and a Gentleman, I knew I had no place else to go.”
One of the oldest bits of writing in the world is the Papyrus Papers. It is more that six thousand years old. The first two sentences state: “Alas times are not what they used to be. Everyone wants to write a book and children are no longer obedient to their parents.”
In 400 BC, Socrates made this statement: “Our youth love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority, they show disrespect for their elders and love to chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not servants of their household. They no longer rise when their elders enter the room. The contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up food and tyrannize teachers.” That statement confirms the scripture, “There is nothing new under the sun.”
Victor Hugo wrote, “There are children who have both mothers and fathers, but they are still orphans.” This should not be. I know, as my parents knew, that we have a responsibility to do our best to ensure that our children become good adults. God has given me a window of time of parental stewardship to instill within my children the faith, character, knowledge and work ethic required to be a productive member of society. I keep them in check so that society doesn’t have to.
There was a time when a person literally would wash his hands as a way of demonstrating he had done his job, and he was free of any future liabilities. In essence, I believe that is what many of our parents were doing when they disciplined us. They wanted clean hands and wanted to make sure we turned out okay and not bring a reproach upon the family name.
I am trying to do as much with my children, and I believe that pastor was trying to do so with his daughter. That is why we spank, preach, teach and hug. In spite of our best efforts, our children now may turn out to be some of the worst adults you have ever laid eyes on. That is because we are all free moral agents, but they should not be able to say we did not teach them right from wrong.
Woodrow Wilson said it best: “They are your children reared in your homes, blood of your blood, bone of your bone. They absorbed the ideals of your homes.
You have formed and fashioned them. They are your children. In those malleable, moldable years of their lives, you have forever left your imprint upon them.”
As parents, we should try our best to have clean hands when it comes to rearing our children.