Entertain Your Own Kids

by David Padfield

Who is responsible for the raising of your children? Some in our society will point to the government. Others will tell you the public schools must take the lead in molding the lives of children. Some Christians will suggest that "the church" has a major obligation in the rearing of children. I would like to suggest a rather novel answer, i.e., that parents are responsible for their own children! There, I said it, parents are to be responsible for their own kids!

This seldom heard viewpoint has ancient origins—the Bible. "And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4). We live in an age when sacred duties are often pawned off to public schools and government programs. Parents are responsible for all aspects of the development of their children. The area I would like to focus on in this article is the entertainment of children.

Personally, I have grown weary of parents who expect other people to entertain their children. This philosophy is prevalent, not only in secular society but in "the church" as well. Too many parents are so "busy" with other activities that they "just don't have the time" to fulfill this aspect of parental responsibility.

Over the years I have had a lot of parents tell me that "the church" needs to provide more social activities for "the youth." I have tried to kindly remind these people that Jesus Christ died on the cross so that we might have the remission of sins, not so your teenager could learn to play basketball!

I realize that association with good friends is very important for kids, but when did the church inherit this responsibility? Several months ago I had a preacher tell me why he would not allow his own daughter to go the "youth group" meetings at the church he works with. He said the problem was that the parents who were pushing for the "youth group" had already failed in the upbringing of their own children and now wanted "the church" to try and straighten them up. This preacher told me the "youth group" had an assortment of kids with major problems, like drinking, smoking, drug use and premarital sex. These were the very kids this father was trying to keep his daughter away from! The goal of the other parents was to have their unruly kids associate with the good kids, thinking that would make everything turn out fine. Their intentions might have been good, but the reality of the matter is that "evil company corrupts good habits" (1 Cor. 15:33). I want to make it clear that the church where this man preached was opposed to all of these sins, but the sad fact remained that many of their young people were morally corrupt.

Our oldest son has been deaf since birth. When he was about seven years old one of his teachers suggested that since our second child could both hear and use sign language we should put him into a preschool class with deaf children so he could help them improve the speech and language skills. This sounded like a good idea at the time, but it turned out to be a disaster! Our hearing son went into a class with about a dozen deaf children. Their language and signing skills did improve, but our son had to spend the next six years in speech therapy to overcome the effect of being surrounded by children with severe speech impairments.

If you are really concerned about the development of your children, then you must take the lead in providing for all aspects of their development. Our youngest son played soccer in high school and as a result my wife and I spend a lot of time at soccer games. To say that soccer is not my favorite sport would be an understatement. To be honest, it ranks right up there with a root canal. However, we went to the games not because we love the sport, but because we love our son. We wanted him to know that we supported him and would cheer him on.

Parents, you are responsible for your own children. They are not going to be in your house forever, so enjoy the time you can spend with them now.