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Facing Intellectual Giants: MODELLING, IMAGES AND PATTERNS

Wednesday, 6 July 2011


The power of what your see
STUDENTS AT RISK - A CALL TO PARENTS, PASTORS AND PROFESSORS: A dear sister, Susan, said on Facebook "But then I would also like to ask parents what are they teaching their children? I think parents tend to forget that children really, really do what they see, not what parents tell them to do!" 

Grace Terry and I agree. I call it modelling. Images. Patterns. Parents are the first and most important role models for their children. Their attitudes to God's word in their homes form the primary images their children see on the importance of God's word. If parents don't consider God's word the guide book on how to doing and living, those are the pictures or images that would form in the minds of their children about the place of God's word in their lives. On the contrary, if parents take God's word seriously both as individuals and as a family, those are also the images that would form in the minds of their children.

Why is it important that parents have a proper attitude to God's word and model the same to their children? There are many reasons. But, first, look at Proverbs 1:1-8. I take the quote from the Amplified Bible:

1. The Proverbs (truths obscurely expressed, maxims, and parables) of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
2. That people may know skillful and godly Wisdom and instruction, discern and comprehend the words of understanding and insight,
3. Receive instruction in wise dealing and the discipline of wise thoughtfulness, righteousness, justice, and integrity,
4. That prudence may be given to the simple, and knowledge, discretion, and discernment to the youth--
5. The wise also will hear and increase in learning, and the person of understanding will acquire skill and attain to sound counsel [so that he may be able to steer his course rightly]--
6. That people may understand a proverb and a figure of speech or an enigma with its interpretation, and the words of the wise and their dark sayings or riddles.
7. The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; but fools despise skillful and godly Wisdom, instruction, and discipline.
8. My son, hear the instruction of your father; reject not nor forsake the teaching of your mother.

Look at verses 3-5 very closely. God gave us the book of Proverbs so that we can "Receive instruction in wise dealing and the discipline of wise thoughtfulness, righteousness, justice, and integrity." Not only that, He also gave it so that the empty minds of young children can be filled with prudence, knowledge, discretion and discernment (vs 4). Now look at verse 5. The child raised according to verses 2-4, will hear and increase in learning, acquire skill and attain to sound counsel with the overall result that he is able to steer his course rightly. Isn't failure to know how to stir their lives rightly the greatest problem we have with our young children? Isn't it clear, then, why our children are becoming anything but the God-fearing children we dreamed they would become? They have no fear of God in them and live very recklessly while we cower under the pretext that someday, they would come to their senses and begin to make wise choices. How would they come to their senses one day? From what deposit of wisdom would they draw the data they need to come to their senses? Who has ever gone to the bank to draw money he did not deposit there?

When parents fail to make it a priority to model proper attitudes to God's word in their home, through the way they deliberately make time to read and study it, through the way they talk about it in their homes, through the way it is the reference point to any decisions they make, the friends they keep, the places they go and what constitutes their fun activities, the children would simply adopt the images that are thrown around the house from the behaviors of their parents. 

The models, images, and patterns seen at home preach more convincing and lasting messages than any word picture painted by any preacher. The task is in calling parents' attention back to their primary responsibility to God in relation to their children- "Train up a child in the way he should go....." The Father's assurance in His word is that "...when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6). If parents do their part in solidifying God's truth in the hearts and minds of their children, the kids themselves would be able to detect the lies being pushed to them in the classrooms through their subjects and reject them or at least bring them back home for a discussion with parents, who then take them up with the teachers/professors for corrective measures, and actions when such measures fail; or take it up with their pastors for issues they don't see themselves well equipped to deal with.

Like those people who heard Peter's preaching on the day of Pentecost (Act 2:37), my heart cries out, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"

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