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86

TRAIN YOUR CHILDREN GOD’S WAY

not actively promote, when their children are young, an openness that will carry into the teen and adult years.

Young people often feel that parents do not understand their present circumstances. Be sure this is not the case with your teen- agers and younger children. Listen carefully to your children. You have many years of experience to offer them, as a basis for giving sound advice in a broad array of areas. It is your responsibility to instill within them sufficient warning about smoking, drinking, drugs, pre-marital sex, gambling and any other vices that could harm them. This is much easier to do if your children feel that they may easily and comfortably come to you with questions about these things.

Your children should never be afraid to ask you questions. They should consider you a fountain of wisdom and guidance in every important matter. Do everything in your power to promote an atmo- sphere in which they will feel comfortable asking you about anything that is on their mind. Avoid at all costs making them feel like their questions are unimportant or “stupid.”

At age eight, my father began what became the regular habit throughout my childhood of having “man-to-man” talks with me. Many of these discussions took place during long walks—five to ten miles—down country roads with our German Shepherd running alongside. But he would also occasionally sit me down to ask what questions were on my mind. It helped that he used the phrase “man- to-man,” because it told me that I was not just a “dumb kid” in his eyes, and made me feel that I could ask him anything. I can still re- member specifics of these discussions, over 50 years later.

How sad that so many children today find it easier to go to the Internet for “answers” to questions because they cannot or will not go to their parents. This should simply never be (unless done under the guidance of a parent who may have instructed them to do it).

Encourage your children to develop a deep thirst for knowledge. Teach them to be inquisitive—to be fascinated with life—to seek to be “millionaires” in knowledge and understanding. Explain to them that they should always look to God’s Word as the ultimate source of true wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Teach them to look into the book of Proverbs for answers to questions that they have, and for solutions to problems they are facing. (Few recognize that up to 20 percent of corporate Chief Executive Officers in the United States read this book of the Bible for wisdom.)

Where Teaching the Basics Begins

87

Appearance Is Vital

In a world increasingly given to ridiculous, garish and endless forms of outlandish dress, your children will want to fit in. They will be under tremendous pressure to look like everybody else. This puts par- ents in a very difficult position. They must decide whether to: Teach their children the importance of modesty and moderation, and do not permit them to always follow trends (which is also very expensive and time-consuming), or cave to the peer pressure of modern youth influencing their children to become—and, in this case, look like— virtually all the things that God teaches against.

It is important to carefully instruct your children about all as- pects of proper dress. Explain to them why they should not dress in a sloppy or crude fashion—why your daughters should avoid wear- ing indecent or suggestive clothing. Teach them to wear the appro- priate clothes for the right occasion (for example, to make the point, not wearing jeans to a wedding or bib overalls to Church services). But make this interesting and fun, not drudgery—teach them to color-coordinate and to take satisfaction in knowing how to reflect quality.

Teach your children to comb their hair and to maintain present- able hairstyles. This means hair that is sufficiently long for girls, and sufficiently short for boys (I Cor. 11:1-15).

This instruction must also include why they should never get a tattoo. Notice Leviticus 19:28: “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.” Those who have become role models of every kind throughout soci- ety today seem to be almost covered in every kind of bizarre, per- verse, sexually suggestive, and even outright satanic, tattoo that a “creative” mind (at a tattoo parlor) cut off from God could dream up.

Explain to boys why earrings should not be worn by men, but why they can be a beautiful adornment on a woman. God’s Word mentions earrings worn by men in several places, but they all involve His servants telling people to remove them. See Genesis 35:4, Exodus 35:22, Numbers 31:50 and Judges 8:24-26.

Teach your children that first impressions count in life—and that this is directly connected to APPEARANCE. The way a person looks and dresses carries far more weight to the important, older people who

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