Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
Continuing the theme of submission, Paul instructs children to obey their parents. Assuming that the parents are believers who are actually teaching them “in the Lord,” the children will grow to be not only spiritually sound, but contributing members of society who are more likely to live long in the land. I’ve said it over and over to my daughter, when she obeys us she is obeying the Lord; when she chooses to disobey she is not doing what she wants to do but what Satan wants her to do.
You see, I am the proud parent of a five year old who thrives on arguing with the skill of a trial lawyer. I expect obedience and have tried everything from timeouts to a penny system to losing my temper completely when she won’t do what I say. Recently I have required her and her 2 year old brother to nicely say “yes ma’am” immediately upon hearing a request from me. Then I expect to immediately obey. Miraculously those two little words have made a huge impact. Somehow verbalizing their respect for me has made them more prone to actually obey my requests.
No one has to teach children to misbehave, to hit, to be selfish, or to throw tantrums. Parents and others in a position to mentor children must continually teach things that go against the nature of our flesh – self-control, kindness, patience, love, forgiveness, etc. All Christian adults must model Biblical wisdom and teach the next generation through word and deed. Modern television shows and movies glorify sassy self-centered children and mock clueless parents. We must be very intentional with children and youth in the church in providing them with a biblical worldview and teaching them to live counterculturally for Christ. Teach them to not be conformed to this world (Rom. 12:2). Follow the command of Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”