Even parenting methods, it seems, are subject to changing trends. Not long ago, an article in the newspaper described how an increasing number of parents are reverting to spanking their children as a way of disciplining them. After years of using timeouts and verbal discipline to no avail, many parents are abandoning the experts' advice and going back to "old-fashioned" methods.
As the world we live in becomes increasingly complex, and with the barrage of information and influences hitting us daily, teaching our children has become a greater challenge than ever before. Advertisers and different media specifically target the young. The messages they send all boil down to a few: money can buy happiness, the ultimate fulfillment of love is sex, and the gratification of your wants and feelings is your right. It's no wonder that parents are resorting to stricter means of discipline. In a society that teaches "yes" and "I want," how is a parent to teach "no"?
Proverbs 19:18 says, "Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction." Raising children to have faith in the Lord teaches them to live beyond the moment. The world and all it offers are only temporary, and will be destroyed. But how we liveâ€”the actions we takeâ€”has an impact beyond this life and this world. God has established standards for our lives that are separate from those of the world. From early on, we must teach our children to evaluate their wants and impulses against the standards of God. The choices they make will determine the fate of their souls. In following the will of God our Father, they will find ultimate joy, love, and satisfaction.
God has sent us a Helperâ€”and not only to us, but to our children as well: "For the promise is to you and to your children," the Bible says. The Holy Spirit that sanctifies us and guides us will fill and transform our children as well. Filled with the Holy Spirit, they will experience a satisfaction in the Lord that will dull the appeal of anything the world has to offer. With the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit, they will know self-control, be equipped to make the right choices, and be comforted in the face of trials. It is critical, therefore, that parents pray with their children to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Only with this help can the family as a whole overcome the crises of faith and enter securely into God's kingdom. "Let the little children come to Me," Jesus said, "for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 19:14).