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Marital Moments

I trust  that  the thoughts  about  the "Potholes  On The  Marital Highway"  have been very  productive for you.  This Marital Moment will  continue to focus on the Potholes by looking at The Wayward Child.  Jacob's children were certainly way-ward  in  their behavior.  In Genesis 34:2 Jacob's daughter, Dinah, had  pre-marital sex with  a young man in a nearby city.  In  Genesis 34:25 his sons,  Levi and Sim-eon, murdered all the men of that city.  In Genesis 35:22 Reuben, his firstborn son, had  sexual  relationships  with  one of Jacob's wives.  In  Genesis 37 eleven of  his sons conspire against  their brother, Joseph, and sell him into slavery.   To say that Jacob's  home  was dysfunctional is an understatement.  His  children disappointed him  many times  by  their  lewd behavior  and blatant  disobedience.  Sadly, many parents can sympathize with Jacob over the rebellion and conduct of their children. Many Moms  and Dads have wept  themselves to sleep over the callused and cruel way their children have broken their hearts. This  generation of  young people have many  things  in which  they can engage themselves  into to the detriment  of  their own life.  Drugs, alcohol,  sexual promiscuity, trouble  with the law,  teenage  preg-nancy, wrong  friends, and  many other  problems all combine  to destroy  the lives of today's youth.   How do parents cope with wayward children?  (1)  Loving But Firm Discipline.  Discipline  must be started early.  You can  bend a young tender tree  but the giant oak will break before it bends. You must have consistent bound-aries that are true all the time.  There  cannot be inconsistencies in either your rules or your enforcement of them.  Discipline must be administered in a steadfast loving manner or it can become abusive and  vindictive.  (2)  Focus On The Big  Things Of  Life.  Some things  are not worth fighting over.  Save your energy for the maj-or  battles of life.  (3)  Don't Say  No If You Can Possible Say Yes.  A  constant "no" breeds resentment  in the lives of young people.  They are  searching for their own identity  in life.  They are exploring new ideals and horizons.  They are  learn-ing to be  and become their own  person  in life.  A consistent and constant barrage of no, no, no  may drive them  away from you rather than to you.  If  possible, say yes  especially  if  their request is  not morally wrong  or if it doesn't go  against the established, consistent  rules in your home.  Make  certain  the rule is  important.  I read  once  that  a father grounded  his daughter  two  weeks for  overlooking  two sprigs of  crab grass in the yard.  That  rule is  unfair and  unjust.  (4)  Spent Time With Them.  As much  as possible be with them at their ball games, schools plays, and Church functions.  Talk often with them about their lives, their goals, and their dreams.  Make your home a safe place for both them and their friends.  It  is much easier to have  them in  your house than  it is  to worry about  them whenever they are  somewhere  else.  (5)   Express  Your  Love,  Admiration,  and  Apprecia-tion For  Them As  Often As  You Can.  Instead of  constant  criticism why  not show  your  love  and support  for them.  Be  honest  and  sincere in  your compli-ments.  (6)  Pray  For Them.  Spend  time on your  knees talking  to God on their behalf.  Have  consistent  family devotions.  Let  them hear you praying  for them. James 4:16 says  that, "The effectual  fervent  prayer  of a righteous  man  availeth much ".  Remember, if  your prayers are  to be meaningful  to both  them and God you  must  live  a  dedicated,  holy, and  godly  life  before  them.  Otherwise  your prayers are  meaningless.  Please  don't  be a  hypocrite in  front of them.  Perhaps your children are  rebellious to  you because  you are  rebellious  to your  heavenly Father.   Consider carefully  your own life and  if  you need  to repent  then do  so. Why should  you expect your children to do any better than yourself?   You should so live  before them  that they  readily see a godly  example  out  of your life.  You must say as did Paul in I Corinthians 11:1, "Be ye followers of  me, even  as I also am of Christ".  Your  children will  follow your  example more that  what you  say.

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