Will it matter in 20 Years?

In the car this morning, with son and granddaughter, on the way to school, I had a sudden flashback when I heard the words coming from his mouth to her ears. Laughing and appalled at the same time. Laughing because it was coming from HIS mouth and appalled that I must have sounded just the same when giving him a talking to when he was that age. Oh, my goodness. Hysterically funny and tragic all in one breath.

We really don’t get how we sound when we are trying to be stern and make a point hit home to our children, do we?

He didn’t raise his voice but the deep, ‘I’m being serious’ daddy tone came out for just a few seconds. Her reaction was contrition but more than that, I could tell there were some feelings hurt there, too. It’s so hard for those happy go lucky kiddos who have a great deal of sensitivity to hear “the voice”.

We talked after she went into the school. After all, this is new territory for him, too. A first grader and a bouncing baby boy can make it tough. He’s hard on her in the ways I was hard on the first two. By the time he arrived on the scene I had mellowed.

I developed a gauge for myself over the years: Is this {issue, behavior, talk, association} going to matter to the person they become in 20 years?  Will it adversely affect their relationship to God, their character, their integrity, their ability to socialize with others, or their ability to be an upright human who can relate their love for Christ to those around them?

To give you an idea of what I’m talking about- this morning she had walked out with a note pad and pen that she had received at her birthday party last weekend. She knows the school rules- not to bring personal toys or items from home unless they are to be used in the learning process. Translation: don’t bring toys and stuff to school. It clutters up the place, causes friction when someone else wants it, and takes away valuable time from learning, not to mention the fact that if it gets lost, then the teacher has a new problem that must be addressed in the classroom.

So, no stuff from home. Not a new issue with her. She loves to show and tell and she loves to share. Bless her. But will it matter in 20 years? Maybe, maybe not. After all, sharing is a good thing, right? And show and tell was around in my day too! So, will it matter in 20 years? Bottom line is – yes.

Because this is not a new issue but one now, of disobedience. She knows the rules. She “forgets” the rules. She disobeys the rules. He’s trying to be a good daddy and teach her right from wrong, obedience and the importance of being honest. He had told her to leave it in her room for after school – more than once this morning.

It’s hard being a parent, seeing those traits in your children and trying to mold their hearts while teaching responsibility and accountability. It’s even harder, when you are trying to see them with Jesus’ eyes.

Spilt milk won’t matter in 20 years, but not making them clean up the mess- just might.

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck. Proverbs 1:8-9

 Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching. When I was a boy in my father’s house, still tender, and an only child of my mother, he taught me and said,  ” Lay hold of my words with all your heart; Keep my commands and you will live. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them. Do not forsake wisdom,and she will protect you; love her,  and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost you all you have, get understanding. Esteem her, and she will exalt you;   embrace her, and she will honor you. She will set a garland of grace on your head and present you with a crown of splendor.”

Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.

Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way. For they cannot sleep till they do evil; they are robbed of slumber till they make someone fall. They eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.

The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.

My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. Proverbs 4


But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  2 Timothy 3:14-17


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