“Our little ones, our wives, our flocks, and all our cattle, shall be there in the cities of Gilead: But thy servants will pass over, every man armed for war, before the LORD to battle, as my lord saith.”
One of the things that I value the most about my childhood is how my parents involved me in their ministry. My father did what most fathers would not do and that was he allowed me to be involved with him in the ministry, and he allowed me to see the heartaches as well as the blessings he endured and enjoyed in the ministry. When most pastors “sheltered” their children from the ministry so they wouldn’t become bitter towards it, my parents saw the value in not sheltering me so that I could see the reality of the ministry.
My parents’ philosophy of not sheltering me from the reality of the ministry has been one of the greatest assets that helped me to make it through the tough times of my own ministry. Had my parents sheltered me from the reality of the ministry, I could have easily searched for other ways that I thought were easier when the hardships came had my parents sheltered me.
Sheltering from reality is what happened in the verse above. The fathers of the two and a half tribes didn’t want their children to have to go through the battles because they wanted to set up camp on this side of the Jordan River. The mistake these men made was that their children never learned how to fight their own battles. Sheltering their children from reality kept their children from learning how to make it through the hard times as seen in the Book of Judges. Let me share several thoughts about this truth.
First, your children are going to face reality someday. You can shelter them from reality, but reality is going to hit them one day when you are not around. If you want your children to know how to make it through reality and do the right thing, you need to stop sheltering them from life when they are young. Too many adults today can’t handle reality because their parents kept them from seeing reality when they were children. At some point, you are going to have to let your children face reality because if you don’t, your children will never know how to face life.
Second, reality has a way of teaching your children how to fight battles. Many adults don’t know how to make it through the hard times because their parents paid their way through life. If parents would make their children pay their way, they would find out that their children will learn the value of hard work and continue that habit when they become an adult. My friend, you have got to stop trying to help your children through tough times. I am not saying that you are not there to coach them through it, but I am saying they need to figure out how to get through it by themselves. One day you won’t be there, and if you always pay their way or bail them out when the hard times come, they won’t know how to get themselves out of hard times when you are not there.
Third, fighting through reality teaches a child that the right way isn’t always easy. The biggest reason so many adults forsake the old paths is because their parents sheltered them from the battles as youth. The thought that you don’t want your children to have to go through what you went through as a child is what rears entitled and soft adults. My advice to you is to let your children face reality; by doing so, you can show them that life isn’t always easy, but working through the hard times will give the greatest blessings if they don’t quit.