Tomorrow my wife and I will help celebrate our oldest son's 25th birthday. A few weeks ago, we celebrated our daughter's 27th birthday, and shortly before that, we celebrated our youngest son's 22nd birthday. I have often said that I would rather be a successful husband and father than a successful anything else. If I accomplish nothing more in life, I consider my life to be a huge success because of the outstanding family God has given to me.
Our oldest son is in the early days of owning his own plumbing business. He and his wife named their little boy after yours truly. They were both virgins when they married. They are a dedicated Christian couple serving the Lord together in our church. They do not drink, smoke, or use drugs. They have never been in trouble with the law. They love God, each other, and their parents.
Our only daughter is the apple of my eye. Her husband is in the early days of owning his own engineering company. They have three children. My daughter and her husband are the youth leaders in our church. They, too, were virgins when they married and do not drink, smoke, or use drugs. They have never been in trouble with the law, and they demonstrate the highest degree of Christian dedication.
Our youngest son is in his first year of law school. He is still single. Like his brother and sister, he is a faithful, dedicated Christian that has kept himself morally clean and does not use alcohol, tobacco or drugs. He loves God and our family.
If it sounds like I am bragging, I am - on Jesus! I recognize that every good gift comes from above, and that includes this most precious of all gifts: a Christian home.
At the same time, many people who know my family have asked me to share the principles we used in rearing our children. (It is amusing that so many "child experts" have never successfully raised children of their own.)
I begin by saying that raising children is hard work. The responsibility of raising children cannot be passed off to a school (public or private) or to any other institution, including government. I am sorry to have to tell Hillary that it takes a mom and dad, not a village, to raise a family!
Parenting must be given the priority it deserves. Parenting is not a hobby; it is a full time occupation. One cannot ignore his or her children and expect them to turn out well. Beyond that, preoccupation with materialism and greed will also ruin a child. Wallowing in moral and spiritual poverty while surrounded by material and financial prosperity is the sad story of many American families, I am afraid. It takes time and effort to instill the fundamental principles of character and conviction into our children. There is no short cut, no easy way to raise honest, considerate children.
Child rearing takes love, instruction, and discipline. All three ingredients are equally important. Children must be loved. They must be taught, and they must be disciplined. I would even argue, that if children are not taught right from wrong and are not properly disciplined, they are not loved. Any parent who truly loves his or her child will be ready and able to teach and discipline them.
To be sure, many parents have done everything right, and their children have still turned out wrong. I do not understand it, but I know it is true. I am also aware that there are examples of parents who did it all wrong and their kids turned out right. Only the grace and sovereignty of God can explain some things.
Overall, however, we have the kind of children we raise. It seems to me that a bundle of love and a big hickory switch would solve most of America's problems. At least it solved a bunch of mine.
© Chuck Baldwin
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