I was born into a Christian home, the oldest of four siblings – three younger brothers.  So my Mom and I were outnumbered!!  I didn’t have a close relationship with my Dad, although he was very kind, and provided wonderfully for his family.  I didn’t miss that when I was younger, but when I got older, I often wished I would have had a “Daddy’s girl” relationship with him, and could have run and jumped into his lap. Although I didn’t have that kind of relationship, I knew he loved me and was very protective of me. He just didn’t seem to know what to do with a little girl!!  Having a little daughter was a far cry from catching wild horses on the range in Wyoming and breaking them. But I had a very close relationship with my Mom.  It was more fun for me to go shopping with her than with girlfriends.

When I was about 13 I had a girlish crush on a guy 6 years older than me, and to a degree, he returned the interest.  Of course, my parents were totally against this, and I knew it.  One evening my parents were going to a meeting in Seattle with another couple and I babysat their children.  This young man lived with them.  He was going to be coming home from work after they left, and asked if it would be okay if I fixed dinner for him.  My parents agreed (I think contrary to their better judgment).

So, as arranged, I fixed something to eat for this guy.  After he was finished eating, he asked if I would go for a ride with him in his car and bring the kids along that I was babysitting, plus my 3 brothers.  With all of my young teenage heart, I wanted to say “yes.”  The only thing that hindered me from going was that I knew my parents would wholeheartedly disapprove, and I didn’t want to hurt my Mom and go against her wishes.  It was my strong relationship with my mother that prevented me from doing something that was really unwise.

Proverbs 22:6 says “Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”  (Applies to girls too!!) I wasn’t “old” yet when this incident occurred, but I had been trained to listen to my parents and obey, and I didn’t want to do anything to displease them. 

When I was in high school, my parents were attending an evening Bible School in Seattle. My Mom would share what they were learning as we did dishes together in the evening, instilling within me a love for God’s word and a love for teaching His word, that has never left me.  Deut. 11:18-20 says, “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; …..Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Basically, that is living out God’s Word before your children.

The old adage “Do as I say, not what I do,” does not work when raising children.  They begin to observe you from a very young age and begin to copy and mimic you.  It’s really humerus sometimes when you see a little boy act just like his Dad or a little girl act just like her Mom, even down to folding their arms when they talk.   

As was brought in last Sunday’s message, “Be present and consistent, do not provoke, give instructions, and discipline when needed.”  What the world needs is more godly parents who are not afraid to discipline their children and teach them God’s word.

Naomi Brinkman