We would soon squash all the fun, excitement and creativity out of children if we pushed them into adult moulds too quickly.
Reference: v.4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (NIV Bible)
Explore: My husband, Cameron, and I have a 15 year-old foster daughter. Children come into foster care when they are no longer able to live in their current situation. Adults apply to become foster carers to provide a safe home for these children to live. 18 months ago our foster daughter came into our home and into our hearts. She is absolutely gorgeous, very creative and has a great sense of humour. She is, however, still a teenager and we are, however, are still her 'parents'. There are typical teenage things she does that frustrate us – leaves her dishes out, keeps a messy bedroom, forgets important notices from school etc. On the other hand there are typical 'parent' things we do that frustrate her – nag about homework, implement bed-times, 'lecture' her on particular behaviours etc. Cameron and I will often talk about our frustrations together but we have to remind ourselves that she is only 15. While we are double her age we can't expect her to act with the same knowledge and experience as what we do. We are committed in teaching her and guiding her in good life skills, however sometimes we need to stop and understand things from her point of view. It's no good bombarding her with all the areas in her life that we would like to see improved. We often need to 'pick our battles'. That means we often look at what is most important and work on that area rather than working on everything and not getting anywhere.
Application: Although there is a break down in the 'generation gap' there are still expectations we put on children. We expect them to respect their elders, to try their best, to be polite, to help their friends etc. However this passage is clear about children's actions as well as parent's actions. While it is important to guide and teach our children it is also important for adults to do so in love and understanding. We can't expect children to act like adults and in a lot of ways we shouldn't want them to either. We would soon squash all the fun, excitement and creativity out of them if we pushed them into adult moulds too quickly. And so any adult that has contact with children should take their role seriously to not exasperate them but to pick your battles, understand the child's situation and guide them while still allowing them to be children.
Prayer: Lord, you are the best parent figure who guides us but loves us no matter what. Help us to love and care for all those younger than us. Amen.
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This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.