In Ephesians 6:4, Paul writes directly to fathers: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” This echoes the Lord’s word to parents in Deuteronomy 6, that they impress His commandments on the hearts of their children.
The Bible charges mothers and fathers with the responsibility of diligently training their children in character, knowledge, purpose and godliness.
You know as well as I do that this doesn’t always happen. I’m reminded of wealthy families who leave a sizable inheritance to children. This inherited wealth should be a blessing—one that not only enriches a life (literally), but also gives opportunities to enrich others.
Yet how often do you hear of financial failure and personal destruction resulting from inherited wealth? The young, rich scion who squanders everything in a series of bad decisions…it’s practically become a cliché.
Why does this happen? It happens because some families pass along wealth to the next generation without taking the time and energy to disciple the next generation about responsibility, meaning, and how to use wealth for good.
A financial inheritance means nothing if it is not accompanied by an inheritance of character, morality, and responsibility.
Not everyone has that kind of money to pass on to our children and grandchildren. But all of us can pass along a heritage of faith and righteousness. This is a task God has given directly to parents.
It’s tempting to transfer this responsibility to schools, churches, and media, because it takes time and energy to train our children. But this is our job.
Proverbs 22:6 instructs parents, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” This is a powerful promise. If we “train up” our children correctly, when they are mature they won’t depart from the way we have trained them.
But we must first meet the condition of training up our children. We have to understand that training isn’t just saying something or telling a son or daughter the right thing to do. Training means we show them. We live it out. We mentor them, disciple them, and teach them.
Training is the full process of transferring values, character, knowledge, spirituality, skills, and purpose to our children. It includes everything we do and excludes nothing.
Wise parents understand the power of their example and use it to their advantage, focusing on their children’s future success. This kind of dedication takes both quality and quantity time. There is no such thing as successful part-time parenting.
Successful families are successful for a reason. They make right choices and think the way the Bible tells us we should think.
Regardless of the mistakes, pain, or failures of your past, you can have a successful family. God can forgive you, heal you, and give you the power to succeed. It’s never too late to do the right thing—for yourself, and for the generation to come.