In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.
He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
Proverbs 22:6, 15
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
After my son’s basketball game yesterday, one of his teammate’s mom and I had a chance to chat. She commented on his behavior. She told me that she had had several interactions with my son, where he opened doors for her. She also commented on his sharing the ball with his teammates when he could have scored himself. She mentioned several things that she noticed, and then she asked this question: “What do you do?”
For a millisecond my mind raced. “What do I do?” I thought. I don’t really DO anything anymore. My son is the person that he will become, being that he is eleven years old. The personality that he will have is already formed. The opinions that he has about the big things in life is already formed. His likes and dislikes are already formed. He already knows that he likes hot dogs and he hates cheese. He already knows he likes basketball and baseball but does not like football. He already knows that he is male and his sisters are female. I really don’t DO anything anymore.
To answer her question, however, I thought on the things that I DID…the things that I was led of the LORD to do when he was a baby, a toddler, and a little boy. I was led by the LORD to have a time of daily Bible study with my son and his three sisters. Each day, we began sitting on the floor in their bedroom, with all of our Bibles open, even though, at the time, he and his sisters could not read. I taught them to open up the Bible to the passage of the day, and we would go through a chapter, 12 verses at a time. At that time, I figured that 12 verses would be all that their little minds could comprehend. We would have prayer before we began, and after we finished we would pray as a family. Each child, beginning with my son, would thank the LORD for His death on the cross, His daily provision, and the forgiveness of our sins. Then we would ask Him to save or bless those whose names crossed our minds, and we would ask Him to provide those needs that we had in our personal lives. We have kept up this pattern of worship from their infancy to the present, and they are all pre-teens and teenagers now. We eventually graduated from 12 verses to whole chapters, and we discuss each verse because I do not want my children have surface knowledge of God’s Word….I want them to understand in depth what God’s Word says to us.
The other main thing that I did was discipline my children. Discipline and disciple are two words that are closely related. Jesus kept His disciples close to Him, and when they needed correcting, He corrected them. The same applies to my children. When they would disobey, they would get warnings, but when they didn’t listen to the warnings, they would get what we called “Miss Do Right”. Miss Do Right was applied to their “seat of knowledge”, and normally, once Miss Do Right spoke, the problem was solved. I thank God for “Miss Do Right” and I think my children do also, because at this point in our lives, we don’t have a Miss Do Right in our home. When I speak, they listen. When I give instruction, usually they obey. Very seldom do we have big issues with obedience in our home based on the fact that instruction was given in the beginning, and now the lessons have already been learned.
If you are the parent of an out of control teenager, and you did not use these methods in their developmental years, I am sure you are regretting that at this point. But never fear: as long as they are alive, it is not too late. You can begin teaching them God’s Word, talking about the things of God every chance you get. At dinner, assuming that you have dinner with your teenager, talk about how good God is, and how He has blessed your family and saved you from hell and gave you your family and your home and all of the tangible things that your teenager takes for granted. Talk to them about how Jesus died on the cross at Calvary, bearing the weight of the sin of the world on His body, and how that is terribly difficult to understand without faith in Jesus Christ. Tell them that Jesus is coming again, and no matter how they try to deny Him or avoid Him or hide from Him, they will answer to Him one day, by choice or by force. Tell them that He loves them, and no matter how much the world tries to deny Him, He is real, He is sovereign, and He is coming again to judge the world, living and dead, for all they have done on this earth.
This is my suggestion for raising a Godly man.