Tim Johnson: Include God when training a child

Tim Johnson • Updated Nov 3, 2017 at 7:00 PM

While eating at a fast food restaurant, I had the privilege to watch a young boy interact with others and how his mom dealt with the situation. The tabletops were at nose height as the lad bounced from table to table examining what people were eating. Mom was waiting in line ready to order their food but seemed oblivious to her son running through the dining area.

The boy ran up to a table, grabbed a French fry, stuffed it in his mouth and took off. The victims of the fry thief saw what happened, but it happened so quickly they were unable to respond before the boy ran to another table. The smiles on the faces of the second table’s occupants erased quickly when their French fry supply diminished because of the speedy bandit. Table No. 3, having witnessed the crime spree going on around them, moved their fries from the side of the table toward the wall just as the malefactor stretched his arm in their direction.   

When the lad realized the fries were now out of reach, he threw himself onto the floor and started kicking and screaming. He was yelling, “I want French fries,” repeatedly.

Momma now looks in the direction of her son, and an amazing conversation takes place between the mother and the man at table three.

“Could you give my son a few French fries? He’s crying for them.”

“I’m sorry, but he’s been running from table to table stealing food.” 

The two are nearly yelling at each other because the child is still rolling on the floor screaming for French fries. Mom has not interacted with the child yet.

“What’s wrong with you? Do you want this poor child to starve?”

“Are you going to tell him to stop crying? Can’t he wait five minutes until you get your food and feed him?”

For the first time, the mom addresses the boy. She tells him, “Stop crying now. This nasty, selfish man is not going to share his food with you.” She reaches down and grabs the boy by the hand and drags him, still kicking and screaming about French fries, back over to the counter to order their food.

I wonder if a mugger ever used the defense they were justified in the robbery because the victim was selfish and did not want to share their cash? I digress. 

By scolding the man at the table instead of her son, it led me to believe momma had pretty much given up trying to correct her son. She had reached the point of giving in instead taking charge. To be good at anything, there is a certain amount of training involved, and parents have the responsibility to train children in being good adults.

Training a child is a 24-7 endeavor (Deuteronomy 6:7). The opportunities to teach a child are in nearly all situations. Deuteronomy 6:7 tells us we should be teaching them when we sit, walk, lie down and get up. 

Training is necessary, but the field of study is essential. A person does not become a surgeon by studying auto mechanics. Not that a mechanic cannot become a surgeon, but training on how to use a scalpel will help to be a doctor more than his knowledge of how to use a wrench.

To train a child to be a moral person and fulfill the purpose of life determined by the Creator the field of study must be God’s word and come from the heart. Deuteronomy 6:5-7, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”

Taking a child to church is not enough. As mentioned earlier, and as the verses in Deuteronomy point out, it is a full-time job. 

If when telling a child that stealing is wrong, and he responded with, “Who says?” Without God, the best we can tell him is, “I do.” All humans, especially children, need to know God is the ultimate authority. As children learn about God and His love, mercy, grace, tenderheartedness and His other attributes it becomes easier for them to obey Him, which instills a character, which makes a parent’s life much happier. 

Jesus said that only God was good (Matthew 19:17; Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19), so if we want our children to be good children, we must train them to be godly. Sadly, many parents do not include God in their child’s training.

Preacher Tim Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. Email him at [email protected] His sermons can be found on SoundCloud.

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