It was a few days ago, but it has stuck with me.
I was walking through our kitchen. Chloe was telling Shelly about her day at school. She mentioned that a friend had cried off and on all day. On the playground, when asked what was wrong by some of her 3rd-grade classmates, this little girl revealed that the night before she had been told that her parents were “breaking up.” At that point, one of Chloe’s other classmates laughed, told the little girl it would be alright, and remarked, “Nobody stays together anymore.”
The accepted concept of marriage in the eyes of this 3rd-grade girl was summed up in that one statement. Undoubtedly she had heard it before. She could say it with a laugh. And, intentionally or not, her words are one more shaping influence in several other 3rd-grade minds. “Nobody stays together anymore.”
Parents, work to give “good gifts to your children” (Mat 7:11). Do what you can to create an environment where the hearts of your children are cheerful. Enjoy watching as they learn to walk in the ways of their hearts and the sight of their eyes (Eccl 11:9). Just remember that one of the greatest gifts you can possibly pass on to your children is the security produced by a father and mother who genuinely and selflessly love each other to the glory of God.
Enough money can buy any toy, but there isn’t enough money in the world to buy a cheerful heart. Job promotions can open exciting doors of opportunity, but job promotions can’t produce fulfilling marriages. Recreation can recharge our physical batteries, but recreation alone can’t repair broken hearts. A bigger house can provide more space, but a bigger house doesn’t equal a happy home.
Those selfish demands you’re making? They are eroding the foundation of your marriage.
Those disrespectful judgments that have become a regular part of your vocabulary at home? Your children are listening.
Those angry outbursts you’ve grown accustomed to inflicting? Each one is weakening the stability of your family.
The dishonesty that is characterizing more and more of your decisions? It will eventually consume you like a cancer.
The hidden lusts of the flesh you continue to sinfully gratify? They are lying to you. They will eventually cost you everything that matters.
Husbands and fathers, take a moment to imagine your son on the playground. Wives and mothers, take a moment to imagine your daughter nonchalantly remarking, “Nobody stays together anymore,” and offering her own parents as proof. Let’s be humbled by the fact that today’s actions will impact tomorrow’s circumstances. Today’s choices will strengthen or weaken tomorrow’s marriage. Today’s decisions will shape tomorrow for our children.
Be on guard today, and say a prayer for those children whose future has been made more difficult and lonely by the selfishness of their parents. May they find peace and fulfillment in a submissive relationship with the only perfect Father in heaven (Mat 7:11).