When young people are caught up in the serious problems from which this society suffers — hostility toward parents and other people, drug and alcohol abuse, illicit sex, crime, depression and other psychological problems — what is the cause? There is a cause for every effect. What, then, is the cause of the tragic and frustrating situations in which many children find themselves? Often, parents just don't seem to know. They can't figure it out. They blame circumstances or the school systems or modern entertainment or their children's peers. Or father blames mother and vice versa. But all the blaming doesn't halt the almost universal plague of juvenile delinquency. Who is to blame for the vast majority of troubles with which young people are faced? It's the parents themselves, just as surely as they are the cause for the begettal, birth and existence of their children!
God's earnest appeal
Through the prophet Hosea, God voiced a stern warning that almost all parents in this world have carelessly ignored. Yet this warning reveals a key that could unlock the door to almost unbelievable blessings in all parent-child relationships: "Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children" (Hos. 4:6). There it is! When parents themselves forget God and God's law, children lose out on the blessings that come from learning of and living God's way. It's human to reason that young people are only running their course. Some parents tell themselves, "They're only doing what I did when I was young!" God's Word tells us that we are living in an age when evil influences will grow worse and worse (II Tim. 3:13). The weapons now exist that could erase all life from the earth, and morality is at an all-time low. Jesus said that if God does not intervene in this world soon, no humans will even be left alive (Matt. 24:22)! Don't kid yourself — this is not "just another generation." We are living in the worst time in all history. How can a child wisely make his way in society if left to his own devices? Young people without guidance only cause their parents so much grief, says God (Prov. 29:15). Yet there is a source of spiritual understanding that reveals the causes of — and the solutions to — the problems with which young people are confronted. That source is God's Word.
We know God's way
Fortunately for us, God has given us, as His people, the knowledge of His way of life, which produces every happiness we could desire. Do you treasure God's instruction to you as a Christian in your own life? How much of that instruction have you diligently and wisely passed on to your children? God says to parents, "These words which I command you today shall be in your heart [your thoughts and mind]; you shall teach them diligently to your children" (Deut. 6:6-7). Inspired Solomon stated, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Prov. 22:6). And Proverbs later says: "The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.... Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your soul" (Prov. 29:15, 17). Time is running out — it is later than you think! God knows this even if you don't. "Chastise your son, while there is still hope of him, and do not let him run to ruin" (Prov. 19:18, Moffatt). If you don't correct the errors of your child's ways early in his life, you will ruin him. So says God.
God holds parents responsible
God holds you as a parent responsible. "Even a child is known by his deeds, by whether what he does is pure and right" (Prov. 20:11). A child's actions reveal his upbringing, right or wrong. God tells us that He will discipline us as little children. So you, if you truly love your child, will chasten him when he goes wrong. God realizes that punishment and correction are not pleasant at the moment, but they provide necessary reinforcement to spiritual instruction (Heb. 12:5-11). There is a cause for the effect you see in your children — for their good or bad conduct. You are that cause. If you are training and disciplining them in love, as God directs, then your children's conduct and happy, fulfilled lives will be a joy to you. If not, you and your children will reap serious problems. And you need to not only train and discipline them in love, but spend much time with them every day, so they can share your closeness and your godly character.
Success for parents who trust in God
God says to parents who will turn to Him in obedience, drinking in of His biblical instructions: "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is His reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed" (Ps. 127:3-5). Teach your children while there is hope — while there is time. Teach them to obey God's Word and to stand in awe of God. God will not — cannot — then withhold His blessings from you and your children. He has promised. Neither will Hosea's prophecy come to pass in your family. God then will not "forget your children"! You and your children will be blessed with health, joy and happiness, and with outstanding accomplishments in everything you set your hands to do. Do it with all your might (Eccl.9:10)!