Who’s the Boss?

By Jason Jackson

Two boys were working on a go-cart in the garage. Their sister went out to call them in for dinner. “It’s time to come in and get cleaned up for dinner,” she demanded. They didn’t budge, much less acknowledge her presence. In a few minutes, she returned. “Mom said it’s time for dinner.” Suddenly, they paid attention (Tedd Tripp. Shepherding a Child’s Heart. Wapwallopen, Penn: Shepherd Press, 1995, p. 28).

We live in a world where authority is minimized. It is evident in the public school system, the home, in the workplace, and even in the church. Many people do not like to submit to authority of any kind.

When it is adopted by parents, this mentality makes scriptural parenting impossible. Christian parents are required to “be the parents.” But in order to be effective parents, we must remember “who’s the boss?” — God is. We cannot say what we want to say, tell our children whatever we desire, demand of them our every whim, or let them “discover” themselves by rearing themselves.

God gives parents a few years wherein they are to control the shaping influences of their child’s heart and teach them how to react to life in a godly way. God demands that we bring children up in the Lord’s discipline and instruction (Eph. 6:4). We must, therefore, consider how the structure of the family, the values of the family, and the roles within the family will shape the thinking and behavior of our children.

Our children observe us as we resolve conflicts and deal with failures. What do they learn? That the loudest wins? That failure is demoralizing? Our children are affected by these shaping influences.

They are not, however, blank slates upon which we carve their personalities with absolute control. They have hearts. They make decisions. We must, therefore, teach them to react to life — to its shaping experiences — in a godly manner.

When we instruct as we walk, talk, play, and rest (Dt. 6:7), our children will learn how to live with an eternal perspective — if that is the perspective from which we live.

On the other hand, if we are more upset about grass stains on new jeans than disobedience, what message will they ultimately get? If they are managing their own time, and they know more about cartoons than the Bible — where is their interest going to be as they grow?

God is the boss! And parents need to be obedient by providing what children need the most — Christian parents who will nurture in them a love for God, our heavenly Father, and a love for his word -the Bible - every day.