This is what the neighbors said when they saw the wonderful events connected with the birth of John the Baptist. In the KJV it is represented as an exclamation. As if to say, "What a child this will be!" In town I saw a mother in very brief attire pushing her baby around in a stroller. The thought came to me,'"What manner of child shall this child be?" What kind of training will a child get from a mother like that?
I visited a home where there were little children -- fine, healthy,
children. But their parents do not attend church services, neither do the children. My thought was, "What manner of children shall these children grow up to be?" As I look back at my community where I was reared, I seem to get an answer to the above question. We had a few families there who rarely if ever attended church services. Some of their children and grandchildren constitute the delinquency problem of today. People are afraid to leave their homes at night because of some of these children now grown up.
I saw a mother and child in a store near the checkout counter. The little boy, about four years old, picked up a bag of candy, about a pound bag. "No, you can't have it, put it back!" said the mother. "Wah, Waah, WAAH, WAAAAH," said the chlld, in the meantime jumping high and stomping the floor. Open came the mother's purse and the tantrum immediately ceased. My thought: "What manner of child shall this child grow up to be?" Thoughtless, thoughtless parents!!
I see some parents who attend all the services and who help with all the responsibilities of the members. Their children attend the classes and the parents help them prepare their Bible lessons. I hear them singing; I hear them quote passages of Scripture, and I think: "What manner of children shall these children be?" Also, "What manner of youths and men and women shall these become?" There are two big hurdles for them, One is education, the other is marriage.
Schools are not content to prepare children and youths for serving humanity and God and making a living. They want to take over their social life and attend to their cultural and physical development. And O, the foolish, silly, worldly things they want them involved in. Children are tempted, because they by nature dread being different. Beauty contests, popularity contests, ministering to vanity and destructive of any sense of modesty; these temptations go with "mondern education."
Many drift away from the church through the influence of a worldly companion. Boys need so much to learn to look at more than a pretty face or body form; and girls need to learn to look for more than a popular athlete or a big spender.
Parents, your greatest concern should be that your children be faithful to the Lord and active in His service. If you rear that manner of children you should find great joy in them. Otherwise they will be heaviness of heart, if you yourself are not a spiritual person.
By Gardner S. Hall in Gospel Guide, August 1979
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