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the rearing of children: law or teaching?

29-10-2011 - Posted by Andre Piet

8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law  (torah = teaching) of thy mother: 9 For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck. Proverbs 1:8,9 (KJV)

the strength of sin is… It so happened this week that with several people I had a discussion about the rearing of children. What surprised me, again and again, is that it are especially Christians who have a legalistic conception about this task. Bringing up children means, especially for them: imposing rules and regulations and forcing children to comply. They should not watch so and so (fill in anything from TV or the Internet). They may not be later than a certain time in the evening or night be coming home. They should not go to that place and they should not do this or that, etc. For parents who have such an idea about rearing their children, this task is no less than an uphill battle. The more you say that a child may not do this or must do that, the stronger will be the urge for it or to do just the opposite. If somewhere the truth of Paul’s words “the strength of sin is the law…” is confirmed, then it is in instructing (educating) children. It are precisely religious parents who get caught in that trap. teaching What I’ve discovered (through scripture study and in practice) is that the education of children is not about law, but about instructing them. The Hebrew word “Torah” means that literally. The point is that children are to learn; acquire knowledge; understand issues. The objective being that children become wise, i.e., learn to make the best choices in their lives. Read the introduction to the book of Proverbs and convince yourself that it is so. Everything revolves around knowledge, insight and wisdom, with respect to the whole of life. Entrust to them the secrets of happiness and blessings and live it for them, as an example. Then the correction and instruction of father and mother will not be to them a nightmare of terror, but “a ornament of grace” (see above posted text). let go What children do with the teaching is their own business. In that, let them loose and please give them space. This indeed, includes the risk that they will lose, badly, at times. So be it. But make sure they know and learn the value of what is ideal, and above all, that they see it in the way their parents exemplify it, in their own life. ——————————— translation: Peter Feddema

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