Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.—Ephesians 6:1
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.—Colossians 3:20, NIV
One Sunday when Willie and I were visiting a church in the mountains of North Carolina, the pastor happened to be preaching on parenting.
It quickly became obvious that he had been greatly influenced by psychological theory because his sermon could have been taken right out of my college child development textbook.
He was talking about how important it is for parents to help their kids develop high self-esteem and how children need lots of attention and praise.
Toward the end of his sermon, he said, “I don’t think it’s right for a parent to say, ‘Because I said so.’” Willie and I looked at each other with raised eyebrows.
Had this pastor never read Ephesians 6:1 or Colossians 3:20? Those passages simply instruct children to obey, and the only reason given is because a child’s obedience is pleasing to God.
A parent’s authority is assigned by God. As such, a parent is called to reflect God’s unconditional love and unequivocal authority.
It is a sufficient reason for us to obey God because he is the one holy and almighty God—because he says so. That is, therefore, a sufficient reason why a child should obey his or her parents (assuming that they honor God in their parenting).
Note that Paul does not say that children should obey their parents because their parents provide good reasons. Rather, children should obey “in everything” simply because that’s the way God wants it.
Children who experience the joy of obedience to their parents are taking a huge first step toward experiencing the joy of obedience to God.
To Ponder and Discuss
Do you often feel obligated to give your children “good” reasons for the decisions you make and the instructions you give them? If so, can you identify the social and cultural factors that have caused you to try to reason with your kids?
Do you find yourself engaging in frequent unproductive arguments with your kids? Are you ready to reclaim your authority and stop arguing with children who are only satisfied when they win?
Today’s parents are all but completely disconnected from the commonsense parenting wisdom of their parents and grandparents. The self-esteem parenting revolution has erased the practical insights gathered by generations of parents about the best way to raise kids. In this book, John Rosemond seeks to recover this wisdom by resurrecting what parents of yesteryear tended to say. Maxims such as “because I said so,” “children should be seen not heard,” and “you’re acting too big for your britches” are more than cute sayings for John. They are parenting principles, springing from a biblical view of the world. John makes the case that these principles from the good old days are just as valid today and will help parents to pass on values to their kids so that they can succeed at life. Grandma was right after all!