The following is taken from Alistair Begg’s sermon “Respect for Children,” which I strongly recommend all parents to listen to. Follow the link above to listen to the sermon online or to download an audio copy (only 25 minutes long, and he has a wonderful Brittish accent!).
I Took a Piece of Plastic Clay:
I took a piece of plastic clay
And idly fashioned it one day-
And as my fingers pressed it, still
It bent and yielded to my will.
I came again when days were past
The bit of clay was hard at last.
The form I gave it, still it bore,
But I could change that form no more!
I took a piece of living clay,
And gently formed it day by day,
And molded with my power and art
A young child’s soft and yielding heart.
I came again when years were gone:
He was a man I looked upon.
The early imprint still he bore,
But I could change him then no more.
Alistair Begg also emphasizes, “By and large the average church has the child 1% of the time, the family has the child 83% of the time, the school for the remainder. The sad fact is that we are trying to do in our churches on a 1% basis what we can’t accomplish; and we’re neglecting the 83% percent period when children are exposed to us on a dynamic, interpersonal level. The home marks the child for life. Failure to understand this will find us scurrying all around apportioning blame in ever department while failing to recognize the privilege and challenge which is given to us.”
RESPECT: An Acronym for Parents in Teaching Godly Respect to their Childre
- R – Reverence towards God, His Truth, and those in authority.
- E – Enthusiasm in fulfilling the responsibilities that are given to them. Some will naturally be more enthusiastic than others, but we need to encourage them towards enthusiastically fulfilling their godly callings. If we tolerate reluctance when they are young, then when they are teenagers and adults they will carry that reluctance with them.
- S – Sympathetic towards the needs of others. They won’t learn this by a seminar, they will learn it by their parents’ example. If we do not model this to them, we should not expect them to be sympathetic towards those who are less fortunate.
- P – Prompt in all aspects of life. We try to leave things to the last minute. Promptness is a measure of our sincere respect of others.
- E – Economical. We live in such a wasteful environment that we will never teach this to our children if we do not practice it ourselves.
- C – Courageous in standing for what’s right. “Even if everyone does it, but not me” mentality.
- T – Truthful in all aspects of life. Positive commitment towards thirsting for God’s truth and submitting to those in authority.