Children need a lot of T.L.C., and God has planned for parents to provide it for them. Parents have the awesome task of teaching an uncoordinated, self-centered, helpless infant to be self-sufficient, loving and considerate of others. Parents love, teach, praise, discipline, worry about, and make sacrifices for their children; and then comes the hard part: letting them go (Although someone once said the reason God made teenagers was so parents would be willing to let them go!).
We usually think of T.L.C. as Tender, Loving, Care and certainly children need a lot of it. Titus 2:4 teaches that women should love their children. Love is more than words and hugs, although they are certainly a part of it. Proverbs 13:24 says, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” Proverbs 29:15 says, “A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” T.L.C. for children means many things.
T.L.C. could stand for Train Little Children. God puts the burden of teaching or training children upon parents. Secular schools and Bible schools have a part in teaching, but the primary responsibility is upon parents. Training is the process of helping a child learn to discipline himself. Any child can be sweet and lovable when everything is going his way. The true test comes when he
is told he may not have or do something. Typically a small child will cry or throw a temper tantrum, and that is perfectly normal. That is, it is normal for a small child. Parents have the job of helping their child learn to accept the fact that he cannot always have his own way. A child who never learns this will grow into an adult who always insists on his own way. This type of person is not only obnoxious to associate with, but worse, he will have little chance of going to heaven. God has set rules for us to follow and in order to go to heaven, we must live our lives God’s way, by God’s rules, not according to our own desires. A child who learns at an early age to submit to parents, will find it much easier at an older age to submit to God.
Another T.L.C. for parents could be Talk, Listen, and Communicate. Communication is vital in any relationship and is usually accomplished by talking and listening. Both should be done in proper amounts. Parents should not do all the talking with no regard for a child’s feelings, but neither should they do all the listening and allow the child to set the rules. Helping children to develop good judgment requires years of talking and listening.
Parents must also teach their children To Love Christ. Without a deep love and respect for Christ and His Word, there is no hope for either our children or for us to go to heaven. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matt.22:37). Another important T.L.C. for our children, is to teach them To Live Contentedly. Our world is full of toys suitable for any age from the battery powered, musical cradle to the climate controlled sports car with heads-up display, TV and on-board driving directions. All of these toys are fun, but few in this world have the means to indulge in all of them. Paul said he had learned “in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Phil. 4:11). Children-and parents-need to learn to be content with what the parents can afford. Happiness is not about “things”.
Giving children T.L.C. does not mean indulgence. It means loving them enough to help them be all they can be in service to God. It means using a correct balance between gentleness and harshness, just as God uses the correct balance with His children. “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off” (Rom.11:22).
By Ginny Knox