Teaching Bad Habits
“And Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son, saying, Behold, I heard thy father speak unto Esau thy brother, saying,”
The verse above is one of the most disturbing verses to me as a parent and preacher. Isaac was old and wanted to pass the inheritance on to his children. He asked Esau to kill a deer and prepare him venison for the meal of blessing. Rebekah heard what her husband was about to do, so she called Jacob in and told him her deceptive plan so that he could receive the blessing of inheritance instead of his brother.
Verse 11 shows that Jacob knew this was wrong by his question to his mother. He knew what she was teaching him was not the right thing to do, but he went ahead with her plan to deceive his father. The sad part about this story is that deception became a part of Jacob’s character in large part because his mother taught him how to deceive. The deceptive mindset that Jacob learned that day became a hindrance to him most of his life.
Every parent must be careful about the habits they teach their children. Sadly, most of the bad traits children have are learned from their parents. There are some who teach that bad traits are inherited, but I strongly disagree with this premise. Bad traits are learned from their parents. Several lessons must be learned from this story so that your children don’t learn bad traits from you.
First, be very careful about teaching your children bad traits so that you can get your way. The whole situation between Jacob and Esau happened because of a mother who wanted her way instead of her husband’s way. A parent’s responsibility is not to teach their children habits and lifestyles to appease their own sinful desires, but a parent is to bring their children up in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4) Always remember that your children belong to the LORD, and you are to train them to do what His desire is for their lives.
Second, parents must be careful not to use their influence to move them against the other parent’s instruction. Many parents cause much strife in their home by talking bad about the other parent. When you use your children as tools to get even with your spouse, you are teaching them to become manipulators in life. Most teenagers become master manipulators because they learned it from manipulating parents living to get their own way in life. If you don’t want your children to be deceptive, don’t be deceptive yourself. They learn how to manipulate and deceive from you.
Third, a parent should use their influence to teach their children to follow the LORD’s plan. The only plan that should be followed in the home is what the LORD wants to be done. Parent, when your plan and God’s plan for your children disagree, you are to destroy your plan and follow God’s. God knows what is best for your children, and they will be the happiest walking in His plan for their lives.
Finally, every child is responsible for their actions. Just because your parents do wrong doesn’t give you a right to follow their bad habits. If you are in a household with parents who have bad habits, determine to be the one who breaks the chain so that your children never have the opportunity to be exposed to habits that are harmful to life. You have the power of choice; don’t use your parent’s bad example as an excuse to do wrong. Choose to do right!