Tuesday, May 3

Two Valuable Lessons

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he'll not turn from it. --Proverbs 22:6

Two valuable lessons I was taught from a young age:

1) Don't do drugs
2) No sex before marriage

My family did a lot to make sure that those were not just suggestions, but vitally important parts of living an obedient, honorable, Christian life that is pleasing to God. When I was growing up, my parents and my extended family did a great job of making the most of every opportunity to teach me about right and wrong, and to back up the necessity for Christian behavior with more than just the phrase “"because I said so!"” A couple examples stand out very clearly in my mind.

There was a guy in the community where I grew up who was more than a little burned out on drugs. Thanks to the small-town atmosphere of the community where my parents live, the guy knows a lot of people in the area, and a lot of them know him. Occasionally he shows up at the homes of his extended family or old pals. When I was in junior high, he happened to crash a Rose Bowl party that was being given by my parents'’ friends. I remember seeing (and smelling) this man and listening to him carry on a rambling conversation with no one in particular.

His presence made a lot of people uncomfortable. I'’m sure every parent there was wondering how they were going to explain this guy’'s strange behavior and unkempt appearance to their impressionable children. The way my parents handled it has stuck with me to this day.

On the way home from the party, my parents told me who he was and why he looked, acted and sounded the way he did. They told me he had fried his brain with drugs. They told me and my sister in no uncertain terms “"Don’'t ever do drugs, girls, or smoke; ever." Their point had been driven home by the compelling visual aid we had just witnessed at the party. That alone made more of an impact on my attitude about drugs than the D.A.R.E. program ever had. I've never smoked anything, (unless the Betty Crocker’s recipe calls for it!) done drugs or been tempted to try them, even when offered.

Another example of “"training up a child"” took place shortly after I turned 18. My cousins and I had a day off school, so my aunt took us to McDonald's for some Beanie Babies Happy Meals for lunch. On the drive over, my aunt brought up the subject of me being and 18-year-old “"grown up”" who would soon be living on her own at college. She asked her kids what types of things they thought I'’d be able to do as a grown up. The replies from the 5-year-old and the 9-year-old in the backseat of the van were quite interesting.

“"Eat whatever she wants for breakfast!”"

“"Stay up as late as she wants!”"

“"Drive a car!”"

"“Have a baby!”"

Despite the van swerving off the road ever so slightly with the “"have a baby”" remark, my aunt did a great job of seizing the opportunity. Without missing a beat she told her girls that being a grownup doesn't’ make it okay to have a baby. Executing a no-nonsense look as only veteran mothers can, she told her girls (and me) "No babies until you’re married.”"

I hope it goes without saying that the only fool-proof way to make sure there are no babies outside of marriage is to abstain from sex. I have learned from the mistakes of my friends, and I have seen how dangerous and damaging it is to engage in sexual relations before being married, whether or not a baby resulted. My husband and I committed ourselves to purity in our dating relationship, and in spite of incredible amounts of temptation at times, we never gave in. Because we honored God and each other by waiting, our marriage is full of indescribable blessings.

I consider myself truly blessed to have grown up in a family committed to godly principles. My immediate family and my extended family played an important role in shaping who I am today. I am glad that they trained me up in the way I should go. If my husband and I ever have kids some day, I hope that we can influence them to make good decisions, and instill in them a sense of propriety. I hope that we would be able to effectively demonstrate commitment to godly principles, and encourage them to make the same commitment for their lives.



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