We hear a lot these days about our children being entitled. Parenting articles outline the “needs” that we should be supplying for our children. Johnny deserves to be happy. Suzie should enjoy the latest and greatest. Larry needs to be pampered so his self esteem can flourish. And Mary needs to have her wishes met so she feels good about herself and the world she lives in.
While I am all for providing for our children in as gracious and generous way as is prudent, I am convinced that “entitlement” is the exact wrong approach. In fact, what we really need to be focused on is “instruction” for our kids.
Let me illustrate out of the life of Susanna Wesley (1669-1742). Married at 19 to an English pastor, she had 19 children. Nine of those children died as infants. Her two sons, Charles and John Wesley became the very notable leaders of the Methodist movement and served as distinguished Christian leaders in both the United States and Great Britain. Although both were accomplished preachers, John became known primarily for his evangelistic efforts and Charles was the gifted hymn writer. In his life time, he wrote some 5500 hymns and penned the words for another 2000 songs. Many of those hymns we still sing today (“O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing,” “Christ the Lord has Risen Today,” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”).
With such remarkable sons as her spiritual legacy, one might asked, “How did she do it?”
She did it through INSTRUCTION. As each child turned 5 years of age, she saw to their formal education. Sons and daughters alike studied at her feet for 6 hours a day. She also saw that each child had a personal time with her each week to discuss their spiritual life. In one of her letters, she remarked, “On Monday I talk with Molly, on Tuesday with Hetty, on Wednesday with Nancy, on Thursday with Jacky, on Friday with Patty and Saturday with Charles.”
From the time the children could speak, they memorized the Lord’s Prayer, a catechism and other portions of scripture. They prayed together every morning, every evening and at every meal. She was intentional about the spiritual INSTRUCTION her children received!
Perhaps it is time for a little inventory work in your home – are your children “entitled” or “instructed”?
Deut. 6: 6-7 “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”