I think that most people in this country have heard the expression, “The apple usually does not fall far from the tree.” When thinking about this from the immediate perspective, this is true. Any who has had experience in collecting apples from an apple tree knows this to be the case. When you look for an apple, do not look far from the tree, and you will usually find it. We know, however, that this sentence has a deeper meaning than just this. The deeper meaning is that children often grow up to be like their parents.
I am thankful to have wonderful parents. I am so thankful to have Christian parents, who have taught me from the youngest of ages to obey God. My mother, Shirley Gann, who demonstrated to me dedication and faithfulness to the Lord in her words and deeds, always taught me to put God First and always work to do any work that I am asked to do in the service of the Lord. My father, Charles Gann, has said that I was born on a Sunday and that they brought me to church service by the next Sunday. I am thankful to have been taught the right way. I have observed in my life that many young people do not receive the proper training from their parents. Teachers, coaches, counselors, grandparents, and others try to train children to be good and productive citizens, and this is good. We should do these things. The fact of the matter is though that often the example of parents in a child’s life cannot be underestimated. Those such as these can only go so far in training them. It is still the case that often children, despite the efforts of others, grow up to be like their parents. What should this tell us then? If you have children or when you have children, do all that you possibly can to train them in the right way.
Recently, when reading Proverbs 23:26, I read these words, “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.” I encourage every mother and every father to read the book of Proverbs to gain wisdom on how to parent your children. Be the example that you want your children to have in their lives. Know up front that they will often grow up to be just like either their father, their mother, or both. Live the kinds of lives that say to your children, “look at how I live, now you live like this.” Bring up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Teach them to be diligent (Proverbs 13:4). Fathers, provide for your families, but never allow your job to cause you to neglect them (I Timothy 5:8, Proverbs 23:4). Remember that God still says to withhold not correction from your children (Proverbs 23:13). There is a time and place for not sparing the rod (Proverbs 13:24). Never forget these words from Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”