I’ve heard many people, even experts say that when you have pre-teen and teenage children it is important to keep the lines of communication open. I agree. My children are still very young, but I never want to reach a place where we are not speaking. And I know it would kill me to find out that they were hiding things from me. What I don’t agree with is the idea that our children can openly and without fear discuss their unrepentant sin with us. There seems to be this idea that if a child openly talks about having sex or drinking with their parents that it makes it ok.
I believe that a child should have a healthy fear of their parents. Not a fear that their parents will harm them, but a knowledge that if rules are broken their parents will enforce proper punishment. To me it seems equivalent to the fear we should have of the Lord. I can’t imagine telling God, “Ok Lord I’m going to go out and get drunk tonight. I know your word says not to, but I just wanted to be open and honest with you and thought you should know.” If I ever hear one of my sons say something similar to me or my husband, I know we’ve gone wrong somewhere. It will mean that we haven’t taught them well enough. We will have lost our authority.
If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, I believe a fear and respect for the authorities the Lord places in our lives is a part of that wisdom. And I want my children to be wise. So we teach them what is right and what is wrong, and that when we do wrong there are consequences. In doing so we are sewing a seed that will grow into a fear of the Lord and wisdom.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
(By the way I chose the picture not because Matthew looked fearful, but because he looked wise, and SO CUTE!)