Balance is important in family life. It’s easy to understand the give-and-take that needs to keep a marriage strong: Husbands need to show love to their wife and a wife needs to respect her husband (Ephesians 5:22-33). Yet, it is often overlooked that parents have responsibilities to their children and children have responsibilities to their parents.  Each have needs that the other can and should meet.

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:1-4)

Parents Need Obedience

God gave 4 reasons why children should obey their parents: (1) They are Christians – “in the Lord”, (2) It is “right” – it seem logical since their parents brought them into the world and care for them. (3) It is commanded – Honor your mother and father is the 5th of the 10 Commandments.  (4) It brings blessing – It is the only commandment with a blessing if you keep it. Disobedience of children to parents is actually rebellion against God. By nature, a child is selfish, but can learn to obey his parents and glorify God.  God has placed in every parent the desire to see their children follow their directions. (3 John 1:4). As adults, we are no longer under the compulsion to obey our parents, but we are to always honor them.

John Maxwell tells a story about 2 boys on their way to school,  talking about their families. One boy said—“I’ve figured out a SYSTEM for getting along with my MOM…. It’s very simple— She tells me what to do….AND I DO IT!!!”

Children Need Guidance

If left to themselves, children will be rebels.  It is necessary for the parents to train their children. Children need this from parents. Four responsibilities parents have: (1) Not provoke them – Parents may provoke their children by hypocrisy, blame with no praise, inconsistent & unfair discipline, favoritism, make promises and not keep them, make light of problems, etc. (2) Nurture them – Parents are to share love and encouragement to their children. (3) Discipline – Children are to learn through discipline in the right manner (love not anger, fair & consistent). (4) Instruct – Parents are to admonish and encourage through words and actions.

Dr. Tony Evans talks about a major league baseball superstar’s recollection of his boyhood home. He, his friends, and his father played baseball quite often in their backyard. As a result, the grass had really taken a beating. It didn’t look good anymore, unless you were a child looking for a nice place to play ball.  One day, as the kids and the father were playing and having a great time, the boy’s mother leaned out one of the windows and called, “Can’t you guys find somewhere else to play? You’re killing the grass.”  The man looked at his wife and answered, “Honey, we aren’t raising grass; we’re raising kids.”

I hope this helps you find balance in your family.