Psalm 112 is one of my favourite psalms and I will underscore/emphasize verse 2 for this discussion. In thinking about how ‘mighty the descendants of the righteous should be on the earth’, I think about Jonathan Edwards. He was College President( a Vice-Chancellor) of what is known today as Princeton University and a pastor with descendants as follows – 1 US Vice President, 3 US senators, 3 governors, 3 mayors, 13 college presidents (VCs), 30 judges, 65 professors, 80 public office holders, 100 lawyers, 100 missionaries.
You can contrast that with Max Jukes (who was identified because 42 New York prisoners at one time were traceable to him). A further study of his descendants revealed 7 murderers, 60 thieves, 50 women of debauchery, 130 other convicts, 310 paupers in poor houses, and 400 physically wrecked people from indulgent living.
A large part of what we become has to do with the parenting we had. A man visited a historical village and asked a wise old man if there were any great men born in that village. The old man replied, “No, only babies”. Only babies are born anywhere but their nurturing will go a long way to determine their greatness (Ps 127:4). For instance, I now think that, apart from what the bible teaches, I learnt forgiveness, mercy, and tolerance from my late dad.
May I use this opportunity to point out some big things to watch out for in parenting because we have the privilege and responsibility of ensuring that our children start off to be better than we were/are.
1.Make up your mind it is a ministry – Don’t leave all the training to teachers, nannies, TV, grandparents, etc. Gen. 18:17-19
2.Be dilligent to train your children – to train is to discipline into a way of life – Pr. 22:6, 23:13-14
a.Think of what happens in the military and how soldiers are trained.
b.It includes discipline as may be required – someone said the problem with the western world is that parents are forbidden to train children till its too late, then the child has to be locked away or punished.
c.It is as simple as making a child clear up after himself so he gets used to doing things himself.
3.Watch your lifestyle because it becomes a pattern for the children – My son once told me he was watching and listening to what I say knowing it must be right. Pr 17:6
4.Teach them God’s word – 1 Pet 1:23, Ps 19:7-11
5.Pray for them – Job 1:9-10, Is 54:13
6.Love them and don’t operate by anger/terror – Eph 6:4