From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
A young man married very young and against his parents’ wishes. When the marriage soon grew cold and ended in divorce, he returned home to live with his family. The father told a friend, “I am glad he came home; I am afraid we didn’t treat him the way we should have when he was a boy and it’s hurt him.” The father admitted that the family home had been less than what it should be, a home filled with bickering and tension. He felt that the environment, in part, had caused his son to flee to any alternative he could find.
As children grow older and become responsible for the decisions they make in life, parents shouldn’t take upon themselves all the blame if those decisions are bad. But our failures do have an impact on them, making them more open to foolish or evil ways. Harsh, unreasonable discipline, neglect, favoritism, failure to show love, being too busy to give them any attention, a volatile atmosphere, failing to teach them the difference between right and wrong and set an example; all these and more can embitter children so that they become discouraged.
Children are a precious gift from the Lord and parents have an enormous responsibility to nurture and care for them physically, emotionally, and—most of all—spiritually, pointing them to the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Bible instructs parents not to provoke their children lest they become discouraged (Colossians 3:21), but raise them in a home with a foundation that has been set in place by God’s Word.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)