“Older people”—in which I include not just the elderly but anyone whose children are older—and even others should practice compassion and sympathy toward our dear parents who are making the effort and sacrifice to be present in our assemblies with their wonderful small children. Attention spans and articulation of needs are challenges up to a certain age. Even good children wrestle with rambunctiousness and precociousness. This is natural and certainly forgivable. With compassion, we must acknowledge that some children have special needs and cannot help some of their behaviors.
Yet, there can be children who are simply spoiled and undisciplined. While all of us are experts on how others should be raising their children, we all come to the task regarding our own children as rank novices. God knew that, and so He instructs us as to what to do with our children.
“Train” them (Pro. 22:6). If we are not careful, we can let our children train and condition us. Have you ever seen children who consistently “ruled the roost” in their homes? Training implies intention, planning, forethought, and concerted effort. When children seek to impose their will, it takes great will-power and discipline on our part to show them what is and is not appropriate.
“Bring them up” (Eph. 6:4). Who was it that said “if you don’t bring them up, you’ll let them down?” I agree with them. Paul urges fathers to raise children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” We must mold them into God-followers, which means appealing to their minds and bodies. The instruction addresses the mind. The discipline guides the body. The antithesis would be undisciplined, ignorant children in the most important area of life—the spiritual!
“Love” them (Tit. 2:5). Here, Paul urges mothers in this all-important, pervasive action. Sadly, some think love equates to indulgence, permissiveness, and helpless by standing. Not at all! Only loving parents will make their children obey the rules, be polite and well-behaved, and considerate of others. How sad and unloving when parents constantly shift blame or excuse misbehavior rather than address it and help correct it.
Train them, bring them up, and love them. Do this, and others will sincerely enjoy being around your children, will compliment them consistently, and thank you for making the effort. Fail to do it at the potential peril of the child and yourself! Do what God says should be done with your children! You will be glad you did.