Today, while working at one of the neighborhood malls, I happened to notice a young man, probably in his late twenties, walking hand in hand with his son (maybe four years old).
I was thinking to myself, what a nice picture. A father taking time with his son. I thought maybe they were going to walk to the kids area, down at the other end of the mall.
Instead, the young man walked his little boy into the Spencer’s store.
What a shame.
“So what?”, you may ask. “What’s the big deal about Spencer’s?”
Well, though it’s true there are a lot of stores so much worse, and while it’s also true a typical four year old won’t find anything tempting or titillating at Spencer’s, there are a couple of reasons why I cringed at the sight.
One – A father’s focus, to a large extent, prepares the son to follow suit. It’s not automatic, but typically he mimics his dad and follows in his footsteps.
Though a father may argue that Spencer’s isn’t a bad place, the question I’d ask is “And what other places do you find acceptable for an impressionable little man?”
What are you putting in front of his face at home? What do you have hidden in your closet, or chest of drawers, that he may accidentally come across someday?
If your son looked at women the way you do, could he stand before God without blushing when the secrets of his heart were made known?
Do you want him to follow in each and every one of your steps?
Two – There is such a thing as sowing and reaping. Believe it or not, like it or not, whatever you pour into him is what will grow.
As a rule.
That’s how the Lord “visits” the iniquity of the fathers on the children.
“…The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:6-7 ESV)
It isn’t that God makes your children rebellious; not at all. He doesn’t train them, or make them act a certain way.
You and I, the parents, are the ones who train our children. Good or bad.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 ESV)
Remember, whatever is sown will be harvested.
Dad, you have a relatively short season to spend molding and shaping you little guy before he is out on his own. And while you’ll never be the perfect parent, the time to begin teaching him the right way is now.
Teach by what you say, and how you say it.
Demonstrate how a godly man relates to his wife. Let him see you put only good things before your eyes. Let your son see you own up to your mistakes.
Be the man of God you want your little man to follow after.
Yes, ultimately he has to choose which way he will go; in your direction, or off on his own, on a different path.
But the same scripture that teaches about the sins of the father, also make mention of the forgiveness and blessing of God upon our children, to the third and fourth generations.
Do you REALLY think it’s okay to hang out in Spencer’s? What kind of desire are you attempting to feed; to satisfy?
Don’t you think your son deserves a better life than that?