Scripture: (Deu 1:17 NKJV)  ‘You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small as well as the great; you shall not be afraid in any man’s presence, for the judgment is God’s. The case that is too hard for you, bring to me, and I will hear it.’

Observation: After Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, counseled him to delegate some of the responsibility of judging among the Israelites, some of that load was lifted off of Moses’ shoulders and he could devote time to other things needing his attention.  Now, at the end of his life and of his time as leader of Israel, he wants to make sure that those in charge of judgment show no partiality but that they be fair in all they say and do because they represent God Who will ultimately judge every case.

Application: It is tempting, as a parent, to want to help your children make every decision based on the knowledge and experience we have; however, the reason we have that knowledge and experience is because we have tried, and at times failed.  When there are several children at home, it is tempting to solve the squabbles among them just so we as parents can enjoy some peace.  In the neighborhood, we as parents feel compelled to take our children’s side, particularly when we believe they have been mistreated or hurt by somebody else.  At school or church, we sometimes feel we need to intercede for our kids when we feel the teachers or the leaders have not been fair to them.  But kids, the best untrained professional psychologists, can tell when they can play with our feelings and, if allowed, will take advantage of us for their own benefit.
     I believe children should be allowed to solve their own problems, as much as possible, so they learn problem-solving skills, and so they will mature.  If parents are constantly helping them when they get in trouble, they will simply learn to expect their parents help and will not learn to use good judgment.  At home, allow your kids to work things out among themselves and only intervene at those times when they have tried and have reached an impasse.  In the neighborhood, encourage your kids to work things out with their friends; don’t go and try to solve their problems by talking to their friends or their friends’ parents – it embarrass your kids and does not teach your kids anything.  This does not mean you allow others to hurt, abuse, or take advantage of your children.  You need to teach, advice, and most importantly, listen to them; these will be more useful and valuable throughout their experience.  At school, don’t be to hasty to call and yell at the teacher because of something your child tells you; if they got a bad grade, maybe they deserved it; besides, no one has to always get good grades, and one grade that is not perfect can be an incentive to try harder or do better.  I know of parents who will wear teachers out because they are not doing their job the way the parent believes it should be done simply because their child didn’t get good grades.  And yet, the same parents are not spending enough time with their kids at home, encouraging them to do their school work, turning the TV off and reading to and with their children, consulting with the teacher as to how to help their children, etc.
     So, don’t rush to solve your child’s problems; encourage them to learn to solve their own problems in a positive, constructive manner, and only intervene in those times when they have tried but have not been able to come up with a fair, workable solution – that’s where your own experience and life wisdom will be of greatest benefit.  And don’t always take your child’s side; take time to listen, analyze, and observe, and then take the side of what is right.

A Prayer You May Say: Father, thank You for allowing us to make our own decisions and to solve our own problems; it us thus that we grow and mature.  Help us to let our children grow and mature in the same way.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.



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