Calvary Road Baptist Church

“RECKLESS PARENTING FOR DUMMIES”

 

        Many of you are aware of the “. . . For Dummies” series of books that have been marketed over the past thirty years to help those interested in being introduced to a field of study or of being provided the beginning steps in an area of expertise. There is “Accounting For Dummies,” “Algebra For Dummies,” “French Verbs For Dummies,” “Fifteen Minute Workouts For Dummies,” “Acne For Dummies,” “Addiction And Recovery For Dummies,” “Adoption For Dummies,” “Atheism For Dummies,” and yes, even “Parenting For Dummies.” I will admit that I have read none of these hundreds of titles, not even “Parenting For Dummies.” However, I have decided to title my message this morning “Reckless Parenting For Dummies.” I think the title is appropriate because it addresses the huge gap in rational thinking that exists in the minds of many mothers and fathers these days who either think there is no connection between how their kids turn out and how they have raised them, or who simply do not think about much of anything.

Over the course of my forty years of gospel ministry and counseling I have come to notice something of a disparity between the attitudes of successful parents and the attitudes of unsuccessful parents. In the great debate over nature versus nurture, do kids end up turning out the way they were raised therefore parents are crucial, or do kids turn out how they are going to turn out therefore it really doesn’t matter much how you raise them, parents are predictable. Lousy parents convince themselves that the key factor in how a child turns out is nature, and it doesn’t really matter how you raise a kid. Such parents don’t care if their kids drink booze, smoke dope, or fornicate with their girlfriends. However, successful parents are persuaded that the key factor in how a child turns out is nurture; therefore it is terribly important how a child is raised by parents who are traumatized when their kids get drunk, smoke dope, and fornicate.

In this message about “Reckless Parenting For Dummies,” I want spend some time showing young people just how to thoroughly botch the job of being a mom or a dad. This will be an auditory instruction manual to guide you on your way to being a complete foul-up as a parent. Recognize, if you will, that none of my main points is an exhaustive resource for the individual bent on parental failure, so you will either have to mix and match from what I have provided, or you can assume that absolutely no plan is required for achieved parenting failure, relying on the time-tested bromide that he who fails to plan plans to fail.

There will be four main points to the sermon, so that there is no excuse for not knowing how to completely ruin your children, your grandchildren, and the generations to follow:

 

First, THERE IS THE PATTERN OF PARENTAL FAILURE PROVIDED BY THE KINGS OF JUDAH IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

 

My goodness, how those guys ruined their legacies.

The most obvious bad examples of the Davidic dynasty are, of course, David and Solomon themselves. David committed adultery with Bathsheba and left a legacy of tragedy that included the death of their first child as chastisement from God,[1] the subsequent rape of David’s daughter Tamar by her half-brother David’s son Amnon,[2] then the revenge murder of Amnon by Tamar’s older brother Absalom,[3] which David so mishandled that the revolt against his rule by Absalom was virtually guaranteed,[4] and then there was the betrayal by his trusted advisor Ahithophel the Gilonite, who happened to be Bathsheba’s grandfather.[5] Things could not have turned out worse if he had carefully planned it. As for Solomon, his problem was not infidelity with one woman but with many, many women, having 700 wives and 300 concubines who turned his heart away from the LORD.[6] And what does such immorality accomplish with children? A complete and utter loss of respect, oftentimes accompanied by intense bitterness and resentment that paradoxically produces similar conduct in the child when he reaches adulthood. If you really want to mess up your kids, dads, you are guaranteed to cause them heartache and rage against you by simply being promiscuous.

In addition to David and Solomon, let me track the narrative of their descendants for several generations. Here is a list of the kings of Judah, beginning with the son of Solomon: Rehoboam, Abijah, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, Ahazia, Joash, Amaziah, Uzziah, Jothan, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah, Jehoahaz, Johoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah. If Solomon was wise Rehoboam was a fool, and his folly resulted in the splitting of the nation of Israel into two countries, Israel to the north with ten tribes and Judah to the south with the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Abijam was king after him, with this telling of him in First Kings 15.3: “And he walked in all the sins of his father, which he had done before him.” See? It is mostly like father like son. Asa was the king after his wicked father Abijam and he was a good king, “And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father,” First Kings 15.10. So, messing up your kids is not always guaranteed. Jehoram, the son of Asa was not a good king. Why so? He had a wonderful father. Yes, but he married a wicked woman named Athaliah, the daughter of Israel’s wicked king Ahab, whose mother was none other than Jezebel, who was such a grief to the prophet Elijah.[7] Jehoram’s son did what he did by marrying Athaliah, a wicked daughter of a wicked woman. But their son Ahaziah was only king for a year before he died, giving his mother-in-law Athaliah opportunity to usurp the throne, after she exterminated the entire royal house of Judah.[8] However, Ahaziah had a child who escaped the murderous plot hatched by his grandmother, being taken by his daddy’s sister who was hidden with him by a faithful old priest named Jehoida.[9] The little boy Jehoash became king when he was seven years old, did well while the old priest was alive, but turned sour after the old man died and was so bad he was assassinated, leaving his son Amaziah to reign in his stead.[10] I could go on, but you get the picture. For the most part, wicked king sets a horrible example for a son who became worse. Add to that giving the throne from time to time to young children only makes matters words. Imagine a child being president of the United States. From time to time such godly men as Hezekiah and Josiah would arise. However, even when an ungodly king repented, such as was the case with Manasseh, it was so late in his life that it did his children no good; they had already been raised by a wicked man.

 

Next, IF THE PATTERN OF PARENTAL FAILURE PROVIDED BY THE KINGS OF JUDAH IN THE OLD TESTAMENT IS NOT ENOUGH, WE HAVE A MODERN SET OF EXAMPLES

 

Consider the legacies of Jonathan Edwards and a man named Max Jukes:

First, there is the well-known New England pastor, theologian and author, Jonathan Edwards, who was born in 1703 and died from smallpox in 1758. One author said of Edwards, “Jonathan Edwards is not only the greatest of all American theologians and philosophers but the greatest of our pre-19th century writers as well.”[11] However, it is Edwards as a father, grandfather, and ancestor that is of interest to us today. Al Sanders in Crisis In Morality wrote of Edwards: “An investigation was made of 1,394 known descendants of Jonathan Edwards of which 13 became college presidents, 65 college professors, 3 United States senators, 30 judges, 100 lawyers, 60 physicians, 75 army and navy officers, 100 preachers and missionaries, 60 authors of prominence, one a vice-president of the United States, 80 became public officials in other capacities, 295 college graduates, among whom were governors of states and ministers to foreign countries. His descendants did not cost the state a single penny.”[12]

Contrast Jonathan Edwards with his contemporary, a man named Max Jukes, the non-church attending non-Christian fellow who was born in the early 1700s in New York.[13] Two studies have been written about the Jukes family tree, one in 1874 by Richard L. Dugdale and another in 1916 by Arthur H. Estabrook.[14] Then there was a book written in 1900 by A. E. Winship.[15] Admitting numerous flaws in the research underlying these three publications, a strong critic of their works nevertheless admits that the more than 1,000 Jukes descendants included drunkards, thieves, convicted criminals, prostitutes, and professional vagrants. Of the twenty descendants who learned a trade, ten of them learned their trade in prison.[16] Now, that’s the kind of legacy a truly irresponsible dad wants to leave behind. Thus, even if a quantification of the results of Edwards’ legacy and Jukes’ legacy eludes us, a qualitative appraisal of the impact of these patriarchs on their family trees seems not only obvious but expected from any common sense consideration of lifestyle choices made by children generally being the same kind of lifestyle choices made by their parents and grandparents, partly because children learning to be adults imitate the behavior and the lifestyle choices they see their older loved ones making.

Does it fill you with excitement to anticipate what kind of children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren you will produce once you embark on your journey of goofing off, getting drunk and getting high, and having sex with a bunch of people you’re not married to?

 

Third, CONSIDER JUST A FEW MODERN “DISCOVERIES”

 

Just a few of the things we know and can learn on the Internet:

First, about those who drop out of high school never to return for their high school diploma:

 

#1     Every year, over 1.2 million students drop out of high school in the United States alone. That’s a student every 26 seconds – or 7,000 a day.

#2     About 25% of high school freshmen fail to graduate from high school on time.

#3     A high school dropout will earn $200,000 less than a high school graduate over his lifetime. And almost a million dollars less than a college graduate.

#4     In the U.S., high school dropouts commit about 75% of crimes.[17]

 

Here are some considerations related to unwed pregnancies:

 

With both single moms and unmarried-but-together parents, both income level and educational level tends to be lower than married parents; with unmarried parents more likely to break up than married parents, with lasting impact on kids. Additionally, children of these relationships do worse in school, on jobs, and in life in general, according to the statistics.[18]

 

So, to ruin a kid, make sure you start out by not marrying his mom.

Consider the relationship between a child’s success in school and the quality time spent with his mother, and the presence of a child’s married father in the home, to math performance in school, reading competency in school, and a diminished likelihood of disciplinary issues in school.[19] You help a boy have problems in school by not being married to his mom.

We could go on and on, but you are as capable of searching the Internet as I am to discover the science behind our awareness that certain decisions are not only wrong but dumb. Worse than that, bad and wrong decisions are observed by children who then typically do the same kinds of things their parents did. Even when children do not observe their parents, they imitate their parent’s character and are likely based on that to reproduce similar conduct and decisions.

 

Which Brings Us To My Final Point, RECKLESS PARENTING FOR DUMMIES

 

Of course, the sinful nature each child is born with being its own guarantee that a youngster will turn out badly unless God dramatically intervenes, it is not enough for some people to just make babies without regard for how they will turn out. Therefore, I have provided the actual steps necessary to completely foul up as a mom or as a dad, focusing at this time on dads and leaving the application of these principles to mothers for you to figure out on your own. As if dropping out of school and generally staying unemployed isn’t bad enough, here are the big five guarantors of failure as a dad:

First, fornicate. Have sex with people you are not married to before you make a baby. That is because fornication is not only a sin against your own body, but it will enable you to begin a lifelong pattern of degrading your sex partners by taking advantage of them as objects for your pleasure while doing them long term harm and spiritually and emotionally scarring them.[20] As well, fornication imbeds into your mind memories that may be ignored and buried for a while, but are guaranteed to be there for the devil to use to sabotage your marriage in middle age as you compare your wife’s middle age appearance in your mind to those you fornicated with in your youth. It’s a leading cause of mid-life crisis, infidelity, and divorcing your wife at a time that will most damage your children. As well, fornication is also indicative that you are incapable of delaying your gratification, being ruled by your lusts and appetites, meaning you will set an example for your kids and grandkids of living a life that generally is out of control and given to impulsive behavior.

In addition to fornication, of course, comes impregnation. What I mean by that is get your girlfriend pregnant. Or worse, get someone who is not your girlfriend pregnant. That’s brilliant. What a wonderful thing it is to conceive a child out of wedlock. Of course, I speak with sarcasm. At my first pastorate a woman brought her son and his pregnant girlfriend to me to make it right by performing a virtual shotgun marriage. The mother’s great concern was that she did not want her first grandchild to be born out of wedlock. I felt at the time compelled to remind the grandmother who had been an accomplice to her son’s fornication that what makes a child illegitimate is not the marital status of the parents when he is born, but the marital status of the parents when the child is conceived. Of course, I know we live in a society in which fewer and fewer moms and dads seem to give any thought to the circumstances of their children’s conception. However, setting aside whether or not conception by a mom and dad who are not married is a big deal to them, I promise you that it is a very big deal with God, and will become a very big deal later in life to the child.[21] When you fornicate you commit sin against the woman you entice to collaborate with you in sin. When you fornicate you, as I mentioned before, sin against your own body, First Corinthians 6.18. However, when your fornication results in impregnation, which is to say when the woman you have fornicated with gets pregnant, you thereby sin against the child who has been conceived. Congratulations! You are now involving innocent children in your sin.

Fornication is bad. Impregnation is worse. However, isolation is even worse. By isolation I refer to the guy who makes the baby then leaving. Oh, he may not completely leave so that he is entirely out of the picture, he is just far enough away that he really cannot do anyone any good, and generally succeeds only in creating disappointment and heartache in the lives of the child and the mother. You see, these baby daddies won’t hardly support the children they sire, meaning that both the young mother and the infant child are just about doomed to a life of near poverty level existence. Therefore, you create a financial mess that other people have to deal with because you have no intention of paying for what you have created. That leaves the mother resentful and shortchanged, though admittedly it is just as much her fault. However, it is not the child’s fault. Why doesn’t he get a responsible dad? Why doesn’t he get a dad who will teach him how to grow up to be a real man instead of showing him the example of an overgrown man child who is very interested in sex but has no interest in responsibility? Why does he have to look elsewhere, to more responsible men who are raising their kids, for an example of what a man should be like? Why is your baby consigned to the role of stepchild when you finally decide to settle down and marry when your wife has a baby and you dote on your latest baby in a way you never paid attention to your first kid? Why does your first kid have to deal with your new wife, the mother of your new baby, who really doesn’t want your first kid around to take time away from her baby? Reckless parenting is really easy for a young stud, is it not? It’s just tragic for everyone else.

Fornication is bad. Impregnation is worse. Isolation is even worse. Closely tied to these three is what I call prevarication. Prevarication is almost guaranteed with an unmarried baby daddy. To prevaricate means to shift, to turn aside, or to evade the truth.[22] This is what most dads who are not married to the youngster’s mom invariably do. You have sex before you get married. You get one of the girls you are with pregnant. You do not marry her, or you live with her without getting married, or you marry her and then divorce her. It’s all the same in the end, with the guts ripped out of your child in the process. You owe child support but, of course, you do not pay. You never pay. You need your money to play, or to support your current wife and family. So your first one, or your first batch, suffers disappointment because, in addition to not paying what is right and what you owe, you lie. And you lie more and more as time goes on. You lie about coming over. You lie about when you will pick your child up and when you will drop him off. You lie about Christmas, about birthdays, about presents, about clothes, about shoes, about a bike. You won’t even keep your word when you promise to call. And through it all the mother of your child has to be absolutely quiet. She cannot say a thing about anything you promise or anything you will not do, no matter what. Want to know why? Because if she says something, anything, you will use that as an excuse for being even worse, making life for your child even more miserable, you disappointing your child even more than you already do. But you know what’s best about prevarication? You avoid all responsibility for discipline. Isn’t that great? You force the child’s mother to be the only one trying to hold the line by saying “No.” With you it’s always, “Okay, whatever.” You’re the candy man, who is destroying that child while that kid thinks you’re not so bad after all. And he will grow up to be just like you, unless something drastic happens.

The final of these five is what I call degeneration. This happens when your child reaches his or her teen years and begins to really understand what you are all about; yourself. You are an essentially empty human being, a taker rather than a giver, though your child has not figured that out yet. Your child may never figure that out. If yours is a boy he will desperately strive to figure out a way to persuade you to love him, to actually care for him, to give him some of your valuable time if you can pull yourself away from the beer and television. That means he will begin to do what you do, or what you did when you were younger. You were a fornicator, so he will fornicate. You got his mom pregnant, so he will get a girl pregnant. You isolated from him and his mother, so he will do the same when his turn comes. And he has a lifetime of learning how to lie and avoid responsibility from observing you for twelve or fourteen years. Congratulations! You have succeeded at failure. You have done a wonderful job of being a miserable father. Your son will tragically make you proud. If yours is a girl things will be a bit different. She will grow up craving your attention, your approval, and your affection. Not getting that from you (at least not enough), she will see what does get your attention, women who are slutty, women who sleep with men who are not married, women who are NFL cheerleaders or Hooters waitresses, women who love to drink beer, real party animals. Those women get attention, approval, and affection by trading sex. Your daughter will not become like you, but she will become like the kind of woman you seem to prefer. Congratulations! You have succeeded at failure. You have done a wonderful job of being a miserable father. Your daughter will tragically make you proud.

 

I hope my short course on “Reckless Parenting For Dummies” meets with your approval. If you do this right you can make sure your legacy for generations is nothing short of terrible, with fornication, impregnation, isolation, prevarication, and degeneration being the predictable result when your kids get old enough to do their version of you. Of course, the downside of all this is a lifetime of misery clouded in self-deception and a lack of concern for anyone but yourself that makes for a very lonely old age, followed by Hell when you die. Of course, you will suffer the eternal torment of the damned because God has played no part in your life. He will visit you with retribution and vengeance for that, and for what you have done to your children and grandchildren. No doubt about it. But other than that it is a perfect plan for the ruination of not only your own life, but also the ruination of your legacy. There is only one thing that will mess up everything and lay waste to your plans for the utter destruction of your own progeny, and that is the gospel. If you are exposed to the gospel, and if you are so affected by the gospel of God’s grace that you become a believer in Jesus Christ, your life will be so radically and unalterably changed that your present plans to destroy your children’s lives through your wicked unbelief will be derailed.

Abraham’s turnaround began with a visitation from God in Ur of the Chaldees and his subsequent saving faith. The same thing happened to Jacob, and to Hezekiah, and to Josiah. Even Manasseh, though his conversion came after his own children (the ones he did not offer up to Molech) were raised, and were therefore relatively unaffected by God’s grace in his life. At any point in the implementation of this five-step plan to be a ruinous father or mother the pattern that repeats itself from generation to generation can be broken, if only you turn from your sins and trust Christ for the salvation of your eternal and undying soul.

Are you a fornicator? Turn from your sins and God’s grace will enable you to not be an impregnator, an isolator, a prevaricator, or a degenerator. Are you already a fornicator and an impregnator? By God’s grace in Christ you can avoid isolation, prevarication, and degeneration to become a wonderful father. Are you already apart from your child’s mother? I promise you there is remedy in Christ to that challenge, as well. What about the dad who has been a prevaricator and a degenerator? Let me tell you what God has done in the lives of sinful men who have come to Christ, repairing and restoring every aspect of their lives. What most people fail to recognize is how horrible were the damages done in the Roman slave culture when the life-changing and soul-saving gospel message made a difference in so many lives.

Oh, my friend. Please excuse my sarcastic attempt to draw attention to the folly of trying to be a man or woman who does not know Christ, especially of being a father or mother without knowing Christ. Your child, no matter how advanced in age he or she currently is, including your grandchildren, need you to be a Christian. As well, be well aware that when the Devil implants into your thoughts the idea that “it’s too late” for you, you can certainly be assured that it is most certainly not too late for you. The Devil is a liar and it is never too late so long as you are alive for your sins to be forgiven you.



[1] 2 Samuel 12.14

[2] 2 Samuel 13.14

[3] 2 Samuel 13.22, 28-29

[4] 2 Samuel 15.13

[5] 2 Samuel 15.12; 23.34; 11.3

[6] 1 Kings 11.3

[7] 2 Kings 8.18; 1 King 16.31; 18.4, 13, 19; 19.1-2; 21.15-25

[8] 2 Kings 8.26; 11.1-3

[9] 2 Kings 11.2-12

[10] 2 Kings 11.21; 12.1-21

[17] https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-high-school-dropout-rates 2/13/2015

[20] 1 Corinthians 6.18

[21] Deuteronomy 23.2; Zechariah 9.6; Hebrews 12.8

[22] Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, (New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1996), page 1426.


Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org