A few weeks ago I was walking along the Pot for some exercise (yes I do actually exercise!). In the distance I saw a young girl with her hands crossed and back to her parents. She looked about 10-12 years old. Her father was carrying what looked to be a nice bicycle and her mother carried a scooter. Such nice toys indicated that they loved this girl and gave her nice gifts. However they were having a problem with her.
It seemed that the lovely gifts and soothing words were not enough to motivate
the child to listen to her parents. As I passed by I clearly heard heard her
say (roughly translated as I can't remember the precise words), "No! I do
not want to walk back." It seems this girl had gone far enough. I cannot
be sure, but I think the father said something like, "Well I cannot bring
the car here", which was obviously the case when you're halfway along the western stretch of the Pot.
I didn't dwell too much at the time on this interesting stand-off. I've had
enough of my experiences of children who have become tired and stubborn, so
that they will no longer listen to me. However a few days later I received some
spam email from Twitter. I often get such emails, which tell me about what my
"friends" on Facebook and Twitter are saying (this could well be a
lesson in how the internet notes everything you say and visit, since I don't
use either of these things). In the spam email, I was invited back to Twitter
to hear what John Piper was saying.
John Piper is the pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church
in Minneapolis (Minnesota, USA) and author of many books like Desiring
God. In my
opinion his books are very worthwhile reading for Christians. I am aware his
organisation desiringGod.org offers all John’s talks to download, but I must admit I have
probably only listened to a few. He now travels around the world to speak at
surprising aspect of this spam Twitter email was to see what John Piper was
saying. The email had John’s Twitter comment and a link to an article that John
had written about parenting. John’s twitter comment was something like: Parents
should expect their children’s obedience. Since I had observed this young girl
stubbornly refusing to listen to her parents a few days earlier, and of course
we experienced such stubbornness in our own home recently, I followed the link.
Here is the
link to the article: Parents, Require Obedience of your Children.
I can only
say, do not delay in reading and thinking about John’s argument. It is short
enough to read over morning tea (and funnily enough, the girl I saw on the Pot
is in exactly the same pose as the boy on the picture at the top of the article).
describes two situations which he observed two children refusing to listen to
their parents. However John considers their behaviour from the perspective of the consequences of their actions –
one of the children was shot dead. These situations prompted John to consider
the biblical material again on the relationship between parenting and
obedience. Several of his points are probably more good wisdom (e.g. Point 4) and
advice (e.g. Point 8), rather than biblical. Yet all of it is worth
I would hate
to suffer the great loss of a child because I was foolish as a parent. Admittedly I am not often considering the consequences of my children's stubbornness and refusal to listen to me. So I
commend the article for your reading and consideration. I was personally challenged
to ask myself again, can I show my children something of God’s discipline and
patience as I raise them to know and trust Jesus Christ.