Be More Responsible!
Responsibility is a "plus" for both parents and children – it's not something to resist but to strive for diligently. The Bible includes helpful guidance on how and why to be responsible – as well as the blessings it brings!
"Why can't you be more responsible?" As a parent, you may have asked (or shouted) that question once or twice! What are we asking when we try to instill right actions into our children? While kids may think that responsibility is a bad word, look at these definitions:
- Having control. Youngsters certainly like having control over specific activities or duties.
- Being accountable for blame or praise. As a parent, you need to find more occasions for praise than for blame.
- Acting independently. Hey, that means you don't nag - the child is independent in agreed-upon areas and can make decisions without authorization.
- Worthy of trust. Yes, you must reach the point where you feel you can trust the child.
- And finally, moral correctness, in keeping with basic principles (such as those in the Bible).
When parent and child look at these five definitions, responsibility looks like a good deal for both. But what about the "basic principles" in point 5? Certainly there are many Biblical principles including the Commandments and the Beatitudes, and Jesus' summation: to love God and one's neighbor as oneself. But in the book of Micah, there is a wonderful verse (6:8 ). Here's the translation in contemporary language from Eugene Peterson's, The Message: (God has) "already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don't take yourself too seriously - take God seriously."
Of course there are tasks kids should be doing daily (find dozens of ideas in my book "Six Weeks to Better Parenting"). No matter if they are toddler or teen, chores in support of the family show that you both are compassionate, fair, just, and loyal in your actions. Good home role models and Sunday School training will make these so-called "chores" into pleasant activities. And it says in Ecclesiastes 12:3: "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. "
And should these activities be taken seriously? According to Isaiah (28:10), the answer is yes: "For precept must be upon precept,....line upon line." So it is proper for homework, home tasks, and home religious studies to be treated with respect and diligence.
And the reward (Psalm 16:8, 11) is for parents and children: "I have set the Lord always before me: ....in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore." What could be better!