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sreda, 20. november 2013

Expecting obedience

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 Christian conferences.

Now the 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.

I was completely shocked!

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).

John 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 considering.

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.

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