Children in the Home - Building Bonds
“Children are a heritage from the Lord” (Psalms 127:3). Nothing is more thrilling than to look upon a newborn baby, which God has entrusted to you. It is an awesome responsibility that God has placed in your hands as husband and wife. This is a person you will teach and mold by example. Nothing is more wonderful than to hear them laughing, singing, and sometimes crying as they learn the joys and lessons of life. Studies have revealed that 85% percent of the influence on a child’s life comes from the home. They will be what your home is. They will be introduced to God and His word, both by your teaching and by your lifestyle. Most likely their physical and eternal destiny lies in your hands. Throughout your life, they must be at the top of your daily prayer list.
There are also heartaches because children have a will. They may make choices that are clearly wrong. It may break your heart. However, should they go astray, remember the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-24. Surely the father spent many sleepless nights praying and wondering about his boy. He was always looking down the road for his son to return to his house. When he returned, forgiveness was in the heart of his father who would not even let his son finish telling how sorry he was. That is the heart of a true Christian parent.
The story is told of a man who tore down one of his farm buildings that stood for more than twenty years. It left a bare, unattractive spot, but as April came and the sun and rain fell upon the place where the building had stood, the owner was surprised to find innumerable flowers springing up. These seeds had evidently been there all the time, but lack of rain and sun had prevented their growth and blossom. Many homes have in them just such possibilities of undeveloped beauty.
Affection and Oneness
We had a policy in our home that the children could ask any question, at any time, they wanted to. In fact, we encouraged them to share anything, and they had a right to disagree with things that we said. However, we always had this policy, “Everything is debatable, but not always negotiable”. As my children grew older, these times led to great biblical discussions. We knew this was making them think! It was confirming to them what we believed and what the Bible taught. We always had a policy with our children that if the they wanted to talk, we were ready to talk. Often at bedtime they had a question, maybe not that they really wanted an answer, but rather did not want to go to sleep. However, we always used this time, because if they were interested in talking, we were interested in listening.
One of the greatest failures in homes is that parents do not communicate with their children. Too often, brothers and sisters go outside the home and seek advice from their closest friends. Sometimes they ask questions that are not being answered at home, or are afraid to ask in the home. The friend may not be one’s brother or sister, but a neighborhood boy or girl who may give wrong answers. The reason for this may be obvious. Often the family life, by its very character of close and almost constant association, may tend to lose a bit of its interest and freshness. Children must understand that their best friends are their own sisters and brothers. Friends come and go, but family is forever. We can be assured that no matter how close a relationship is between friends outside the home, that they can never be as true and close of the relationships between brothers and sisters. “Blood is thicker than water,” runs the old proverb. Many parents may think that family love and affection is a kind of instinct and does not need development. Nothing could be further from the truth. The parents must openly demonstrate it. The same process of sacrifice, discipline, unselfishness and loving consideration of others knits hearts to hearts in the home. Just because hearts are knitted together does not mean they will necessarily be loving hearts, unless there is a demonstration and example clearly taught and lived in the home. Hearing the words of the father and mother saying, “I’m sorry,” “Forgive me,” and “I love you” are lessons they will never forget.
A Brother Should Be a Guard and Defender to His Sister
The story of Charles and Mary Lamb is a familiar story that has often been told. In a sudden fit of insanity, the sister took the life of her own mother. From that time on, she was subject to recurring fits of violent insanity. There were premonitory symptoms, and when these were discerned, Charles and Mary would go, hand in hand, to the asylum, where for a time, she must be confined. One of their friends tells how he suddenly came upon Charles and Mary who were weeping bitterly as they walked hand in hand down the little woodland path to the madhouse. This was a trial that Charles Lamb bore, not for one or two years, but for thirty-five years - all of the time in love and patience. Yes! a brother is to be the protector of his sister!
There is another way in which he will protect her. Every young man knows the young men who are impure and wicked. He will not stand by and see such a young man become the companion of his pure sister. He will, if he is a true brother, warn her of the other man’s character. A sister will do well to heed and seek a brother’s counsel about the men with whom she would form close friendships. Likewise, a brother will do well to talk confidentially and frankly with his sister about the young women with whom he is considering dating. Girls know girls and boys know boys. A sister will know if a girl is true and worthy of her brother’s consideration or if she is covering up her true character in a female seduction of him. A true sister will know and tell her brother these things, and the brother will do likewise for his sister.
A Sister & Brother Will Be an Inspiration of Purity and Virtue to Each Other
The greatest challenge a young man or woman faces today is keeping them selves pure. They hear, “everyone is doing it”. That is a lie! Let’s suppose we say everyone is taking drugs. Does that make it right. No! A pure, moral life is hard for every young man and women to keep, however, it is a choice they must make. There is pressure on every side to yield. God says, “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Romans 6:13).
Temptations tests a young man, often more subtly and powerfully than it does a young woman. However, a great verse to memorize is I Corinthians 10:13. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
Every sister has an opportunity to be helpful here! She can be an example in actions and attitude, so pure and sweetly attractive, that the memory of her character will go with her brother out into the world and serve him as a shield of defense. When evil tempts him, the thoughts of his sister will rise up as an example before him, bringing sheer disgust and loathing for the temptress. Surely it would seem to be worthwhile for every girl to seek to have this abiding influence in her brother’s life. She can make virtue so attractive that he will always be repelled by vice. She could have no higher compliment than for a brother to say that he wants to marry someone with character like his sister. “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies” (Proverbs 31:10).
Every brother should set before his sister the example of fine, clean, noble manhood. His character and language, along with his Christian testimony, should be a clear guideline as to the standard that she is looking for in a man. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh” (Luke 6:45). Therefore, his example will guide her when she chooses a husband. Because of the life and character of her brother, her ideals will be so high that none but the most worthy may hope to win her; so will she be safeguarded.
The word “safeguard” is greatly needed today. Standards in many places such as on television, magazines and the Internet are riddled with pornography. Many other public venues are disastrously low in regard to moral things. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8). Many girls fail to realize their great opportunity and responsibility. A nation never rises any higher than its women, and men are only as good as women compel them to be. We don’t want to put an undue weight of responsibility upon the shoulders of women, however, the fact is that sisters in the home and women in general hold in their hands the destinies of their brothers and other young men far more than they often realize.
Brothers and sisters should preserve their mutual love and attachment through the years. It is easy to drift apart. Change of residence from one part of the country to another, together with the growth of families and diverging interests and responsibilities make it difficult to keep the their ties close, warm and firm. However, It can be done. We have means of instant communications like no other time in history, emails, phones and instant messaging. If there is a question, either should feel free to ask for counsel. It should be done; and in many Christian families it is being done. Brothers and sisters, with their common heritage, their mutual blessings and memories of home should bond together. The family is a God-ordained unit and will stand not only through this world, but also through all eternity. Let us then live with a sense of responsibility and love with mutual patience and helpfulness, that we may be better prepared for the life there.
If your family ties have become lax, if coldness and indifference, or misunderstanding and criticism, have crept into your relationships that were once close and, I strongly admonish you to do what you can to restore the relationship. A phone call, written letter or email may be the first step toward the restoration of the old ties. Think about this.