Thursday, May 22, 2014
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It's 1:00 A.M....the telephone rings. I mumble in my pillow. It was our daughter. See, all through college, if the phone rang when it was late at night, then it was a good guess that it was our daughter. That's even true now. She's a night person. And my wife always reminds me, "Well, it's your fault." See, when our daughter was born I was a director for a youth organization and most nights I'd get home about 10:30.
My wife had a decision to make. She could follow the conventional mother wisdom that you put the baby to bed early. Right? In which case that little girl would seldom see her Daddy. Or she could let her stay up. Well, guess what she decided to do. Yes, I'd come home. There's my little girl waiting. It was play time! I'd crawl around with her, and goof off with her, and swirl her around in the air. I had no idea I was programming her for life.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Lifetime Programming."
Our word for today from the Word of God is a familiar statement from the Bible, It's Galatians 6:7. But I want you to think about it today in terms of parenting. "A man reaps what he sows." Isn't that interesting? That little phrase "A man reaps what he sows." Now, that verse is primarily speaking of spiritual consequences, but it is a principle that really applies to parenting. Our children are going to reproduce the rest of their lives the relationship they have with us; the positives, the negatives. And we're going to reap from them what we sow in them. Like sowing a night person and getting one who calls you late at night. That's it. You know.
The Bible challenges parents to really get serious about what they're sowing. For example, "Train a child in the way he should go..." That's sowing. "...and when he is old, he will not turn from it." That's reaping. (Proverbs 22:6) Or "Discipline your son..." That's sowing. "...and he will give you peace. He will bring delight to your soul." That's reaping. (Proverbs 29:17)
In Colossians 3:21, "Fathers, do not embitter your children." That's what you sow. "...or they will become discouraged." That's what you reap. A mom or dad is doing lifetime programming of a child without even realizing it, and neither does the child. It might be interesting to try to role play your son or daughter and fill in the blank in the following sentence as you think they would fill it in honestly.
"Most of the time I feel _____ by my Mom or Dad." Fill in the blank. Possible answers: "I feel criticized. I'm not good enough." Well, if that's how they feel, you're going to reap a child with a little sense of worth and they will make choices that show they don't feel like they're worth much. "I feel neglected." Okay, you're going to reap a child who's not sure they're loved, and they're going to go looking for love in all the wrong places.
There are other answers that can produce a heart-breaking crop. Like, "I feel pressured by my parents. I feel not trusted. I feel manipulated." Let's get back from the trees of every day with our family and look at the forest for a minute, the kind of person that we're building with our everyday words and actions. Work on making sure the sentence would say, "I feel loved no matter what. I feel respected by my Mom or Dad. I feel cared for, listened to. I feel included, trusted, encouraged." They're never too young or never too old for you to start on this.
What about the destructive seed that maybe you've already sown in the past? Will you tell your son or daughter that you're sorry? Would you apologize? Would you ask for their forgiveness? It will tear down walls. It will start building bridges.
I didn't know what I was doing when I programmed my daughter to be a lifelong night person. That's only cost me a little sleep. But every parent is doing lifetime programming one day at a time, and a negative program can cost a lot later on. God has trusted you with a precious life to shape. Sow seed that makes that child feel valuable, important, loved and trusted, because it's worth it later when the crop comes in.