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Parenting isn't easy; it's required
Pastor's corner
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Let me begin by quoting Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
This passage of scripture reveals two ingredients are key when it comes to raising children: first, the command, and second, the promise. It is the responsibility of parents to raise their children in the right way. However, in this day and time, it is becoming more and more difficult to raise children. Times have changed and there are too many distractions to rearing children.
When I was growing up, we did not have cable television, the Internet, cell phones or the other distractions our children have. There was one television in our home and our parents dominated it. We had to either watch what they were watching, go to our rooms or play outside. There was no late-night TV because television broadcasting ended at about midnight and came back on around 5 or 6 a.m.
Most houses used to have one or two phones, and only one line. One phone might be in the living room and the other, perhaps, on the wall in the kitchen. Children of my generation were not allowed to spend a lot of time on the phone. Now children have their own cell phones. They talk and text all day and night — many without much supervision.
The Internet has captivated our children. MySpace, Facebook, chat rooms and other Web sites have consumed our children’s lives. Children are becoming prey to online predators and it seems some parents have no rules or guidelines for their children’s Internet use.
As I have said on many occasions, we have a problem with our children, but our children are not the problem. In my opinion, we have a parenting problem. Some parents are trying to be friends with their children. Some have given up on their children. Some are too busy and some are just too young to know anything about parenting.
Girls as young as 13 and 14 are having babies. Their parenting skills are limited because many of them are babies themselves. It’s easy to take care of Barbie dolls, but real babies need much more attention.
I won’t deny that parenting is difficult, but if you are going to have children, you have to be committed to raising them. In fact, you have to start while they are in the crib. Your responsibility for parenting does not end until that child reaches adulthood. You have to be the parent, and it takes a lot of dedication. You have to set rules and stick to them. Your children may not like it and they may try to rebel against your rules, but you have to be the parent. You must set a good example for your children. Our children learn from what they see, not what they hear.
Don’t be afraid to discipline your children. Proverbs 22:15 says, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.”
This does not mean you have to use corporal punishment to correct your children. There are many forms of discipline, but you must start while they are young. If you want a tree to grow straight, you attach a rod to the tree while it is young.
As hard as parenting may seem, you must not quit. Quitting is not an option. You must not leave that responsibility to the schools, the church or the government. Ask God to give you strength to be the best parent you can be. Don’t allow your children to rear themselves. Remember, they are your future.

Jackson is the pastor of the St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance.

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