PASTOR'S PEN: A lesson from Sheriff Taylor

Man 1 (after being told he's unfit company for a boy): "Maybe I do live differently than other people. Is that wrong? I live by my wits. I'm not above bending the law now and then to keep clothes on my back and food in my stomach. I live the kind of life other people would love to live if they only had the courage. Who’s to say that the boy would be happier your way or mine? Why not let him decide?"

Sheriff Andy Taylor: "Nah, I'm afraid it don't work gat way. You can't let a younin' decide for himself. He'll grab at the first shiny thing with ribbons on it and when he finds out there's a hook in it, it's too late. Wrong ideas come packaged with so much glitter that it's hard to convince 'em that other things might be better in the long run. All a parent can do is say, 'Wait, trust me', and try to keep temptation away."*

There's a lot of 'unscrambling' to be done when we allow shiny things to catch the eyes of our kids. But God tells us, instead, to teach them the right path in which they are to walk. God told the Israelites long ago, in regard to His law, “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.” (Deuteronomy 11:19) God found teaching the right way, God’s way, to be so important that it should be something we are constantly teaching our children. Later on, in the New Testament, He tells fathers in regards to their children “bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4).

Andy was right. We can’t simply let our kids choose to do whatever they wish. Most would choose to eat candy all day, never go to school and skip church every week. They wouldn’t go to bed, cut the grass or share with others. But there is a better way.

Are you using God's Word to show your kid's what's best in the long run or allowing them to choose the shiny things and discover too late that there are hooks in them? We can't always keep them from the hooks, especially when they’re older; but we can do as much as possible when they’re young to teach them and lead them away so when they’re older, Lord-willing, they'll look for the hook before they take a bite of the glitter of temptation.

* From The Andy Griffith Show: “Opie’s Hobo Friend”