We have all been there – maybe in a department store, or a restaurant, at the mall, or maybe even at the home of a friend – things are just fine. But then…you encounter that Wild Child that is acting out. This may range from a young child that will not stop crying – loudly – to a youngster running around willy nilly among displays or restaurant tables. Maybe it is a teen that is speaking and/or acting disrespectfully. If the behavior is short-lived we can usually move on without much consideration. But at times, it just will not seem to stop until it becomes a real irritant.
There are parents that will just totally ignore the behavior; or, they will sit there watching with a smile on their face and a gleam in their eye and you know they just think it is cute, assuming everyone else will think the same. Well news flash – we do not! At times like that, the wisdom of the old expression “children should be seen and not heard” comes to my mind. Parents have a responsibility to do better – much better.
Proverbs 20:11 (NLT) says: “Even children are known by the way they act, whether their conduct is pure, and whether it is right.” Proverbs 22:6 (GNT) says: “Teach children how they should live, and they will remember it all their life.” Proverbs 13:24 (GNT) says: “If you don’t punish your children, you don’t love them. If you do love them, you will correct them.”
I have a hard time understanding how our society has strayed so far away from believing a child should be disciplined. They need to have a strong foundation that includes being loved, having good morals, respect for others and how to speak and act appropriately. How else can we feel confident that they have a path before them that will lead to a successful life? Laying that foundation requires discipline and parents that neglect to do their duty in that area of their child’s life will reap the rewards of it at some point in time, as will their children.
But….there are so very many adults in today’s society that are no better than the rebellious, undisciplined children I have spoken about. Everyone is going to have things that they feel very passionate about and consequently when they encounter those that do not have the same outlook they can become obstinate. That obstinance can come out of them with rude words, threatening actions and overall bad behavior. When adults act this way it is a very poor example to children and young people that may adopt that same behavior for themselves – not to mention it is a real turnoff to other adults that witness it.
With almost everyone in our society having phones with cameras people are caught in all kinds of circumstances. In some of them we see people doing and acting very generously and kindly. But too much of the time the scenes that tend to grab the headlines are the people ranting and raving and overall acting badly. Those unapologetic people will tend to justify their angry words and actions based on their personal beliefs, disregarding the fact that everyone has the right to their own opinion.
We seem to have forgotten that there is a Higher Power – a Heavenly Father – that sees and hears all. I wonder how He feels when He looks down on us and sees us behaving badly? He will weigh what He sees and hears and judgment will be forthcoming at some point. What is in the heart will be revealed by what comes out of the mouth – our mouths are either a testimony for us or against us.
Matthew 12:33-37 (NIV) says: “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Proverbs 27:19 (NIV) says: “As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.” Proverbs 16:2 (NLT) says: “People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives.”
Joyce Meyer said: “Words are containers for power and we need to choose them carefully.” (In my personal opinion, I would add to that that actions are right there in importance with words.)
I would hate to think that God looks down at me and observes me as a Wild Child – that He sees me, as one of His children, acting and speaking in totally inappropriate ways. I want to be a blessing to Him and to others. I do not want to be saying or doing things that will cause anyone else to question the validity of God or my relationship with Him. I know that very likely every single day I think, say and/or do things that are wrong and believe me, every single day when I have my prayer time I ask for God’s guidance and forgiveness.
We are living in troubled times. People are divided spiritually, politically and morally. We question – from our personal view of things – the sanity of others. We want to speak out and try to show them the error of their ways, as though ours is the only way.
What we should keep in mind always, is that we are responsible for ourselves and ourselves alone. Yes, as parents we have a responsibility to raise up a child in the right way, but in the end when they come of age, they are their own person and their decisions have to be made by them and them alone. We have to pray that they do not become a Wild Child that will be rejected by God.
I have a prayer list that I have on hand every day during my quiet time. It is a very long list. I pray for every single one of my family members, I pray for many friends, I have pages of people that need healing that I pray for, I pray for the leaders of the world, but most especially for the leaders of our nation – from Washington DC down through the states, counties and cities. I pray for the pastors, teachers and other leaders of my church and other miscellaneous people and needs. But I have come to recognize that when I ask God to help me think, say and act the way He wants me to, that I really need to ask Him to tame that Wild Child that is in my heart. When that is accomplished I should be a better reflection of my Father. I do not want to be one of those people that others view with disdain, shaking their heads and wanting to get as far away from as soon as they can. But on the other hand I do not want to relinquish the person I am. I just need to add to my prayer list the need for wisdom and understanding so that I can hold that Wild Child at bay.
Written by Karran Martin – May 16, 2020