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A Four Letter Word All Children Need to Learn

Isn't life exciting around a small child?! School is always in session. For the first several years of life the child is chock-full of questions, and doesn't think any question is too silly to ask. During these years, the child is the student and the parent is the primary teacher. Hector Bernasconi of Kingston, Canada reminds us that a child's brain is full to the brim with questions just waiting to be asked and answered.  He wrote: "Our six-year old daughter, Terra, has a need to ask questions . . .lots of questions. Finally, one day, my wife had had it. 'Have you ever heard that curiosity killed the cat?' my wife asked. 'No,' replied Terra. 'Well, there was a cat, and he was very inquisitive. And one day, he looked into a big hole, fell in, and died!' my wife told her. Terra was intrigued: 'What was in the hole?' " (Reader's Digest, 4/11, p 67) That story brings to my mind the memorable comment by Mark Twain about how his father seemed to get smarter as' Mark got older. Twain said, "When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21,I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years." Strange, isn't it, how our parents seem to grow wiser as we get older?! This is a lesson all young people need to learn. Under normal circumstances, parents are smarter than their children! At least for the first seven years of the child's life! And if they are sincere and devoted Christians, they will give you the very best advice and teaching and guidance you could possibly receive, even when you may not agree! That's why the Bible has this direct word to you: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 'Honor your father and mother,' which is the first commandment with promise: 'that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth' " (Ephesians 6:1-3).

There' 's the four letter word God wants every child to learn — "OBEY!" Especially your parents! Why? Because God said, "This is right." It's just the way it's supposed to be. It's not right and it's not healthy and it's not good for kids or parents or families or schools or societies when children are allowed to disregard authority. Children should obey their parents not only because it is right, but because that directive has been revealed by God — "Honor your father and mother" was the very centerpiece of what we know is The 10 Commandments (found in Exodus 20:12 and Deuteronomy 5:16). Do you not find it more than a little noteworthy that when Moses came down from Sinai with two tablets of stone holding ten fundamental commands, that smack dab in the middle of the list was the command to honor your father and mother?! That is a central part of God's Old Testament revelation to mankind, reiterated repeatedly in the New Testament. You don't really respect God if you don't respect your parents. And then, obey your parents because there is a reward — "the first commandment with promise: 'that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.' " This may not be literally true in every child's life — obedient children sometimes suffer and even die. But what is always true is that God will honor and bless every child who learns and put into practice this four letter word: OBEY! the four-letter word God would have every child to learn. Are you teaching it to your child?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ