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Columnist: Who lives in this house?

Who lives in your house? Who lives in my house? It may just be that there are no more important questions than these.

Take any home occupied by a family. It is not absurd to ask, “Does the father live in the house?”

A group of 300 seventh and eighth grade boys kept accurate records on how much time their father actually spent with them. The average time fathers and sons were alone together for an entire week was seven and a half minutes.

Who lives in this house? Does mother live in the house? Some people believe that it is impossible to be a supporter of such traditional values such as motherhood, marriage and the family and also, support the movement of women’s rights. I am not among those people. Personally, I believe that you can support both, and I do!

In the home of a same sex marriage, does the parent live in the house? A teacher said to me recently, “Children are basically raising themselves today.” Is that true?

Without minimizing the importance of any other human endeavor, the proper care and nurture of children should be society’s first priority. On one occasion people were bringing their children to Jesus for his blessing. Because of Jesus’ busy schedule, his disciples sought to intervene. But Jesus was incensed with them and said, “Do not hinder the children” (Mark 10:14).

Now, the word “hinder” is not so easy to describe. Hindering may be unconscious. It probably has more to do with omission than commission. At any rate, the message is clear, “Do not ruin the children.”

Here are a few suggestions:

• First, parents accept their parental responsibility to lead! One of the best gifts we parents can give to our children is responsible parental leadership. Practically everything a child learns in his/her formative years is learned or not learned in the home: love, respect, honesty, discipline, manners, generosity, character, knowledge of God, kindness and other.

• Second, parents instill in their children a sense of family! Every child needs to be loved and to know it. I lost my mother to death at the age of 10! One night shortly after that, I was sitting in the den with my father and we were listening to music and the song, “Are you Lonesome Tonight” came over the radio. I began having a difficult time with my grief. My father pulled me over to him and said, “Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed to cry. I miss her, too.” I knew I was loved.

• Third, parents understand that the guidance of their children is by example. There is much truth in the saying, “More is caught than taught.” Especially, this is true in the home. A child simply cannot be what a child has not seen.

• Fourth, parents nurture their children with time! The happiest children are those whose parents spend considerable amounts of “quality and quantity” time with them. It has been truthfully said that “love is spelled TIME,” and it is!

• Fifth, parents point their children to the higher power! On one occasion after visiting in Europe a number of famous people, Mark Twain’s daughter said to her father, “Dad, you must know everyone worth knowing except God.”

All of us parents must be careful about that! A knowledge of God is the greatest gift we can give to our children.

Question: Are we praying with and for our children? Who lives in your house? Who lives in my house?

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Faith encouragement

Hal Brady

Hal Brady operates Hal Brady Ministries in Decatur with the stated goal of presenting the good news of Jesus and offering encouragement in positive ways. halbradyministries.com