Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
I can see, Lord, that You view children as having both a place of submission to their parents that leads to obedience and safety and a place of respect as those made in Your image.
They are, in Your view, unable to make sound decisions that will lead to healthy living so that it goes well with them and they live long in the land. I suppose that it is possible that a parent or parents might give their children bad direction, causing them to make poor decisions that both result in unhealthy living and bring them into conflict with You. I don’t suspect You would want children to obey such parents. But normally, parents are concerned to help their children to live good lives, morally and spiritually correct lives. And I thank You, Lord, for giving me parents who had that concern for me and my siblings.
But children are also, in Your view, worthy of respectful treatment. Parents can’t treat their children as conveniences to push around at their will and still suppose themselves to be pleasing to You. Parents can’t impose their authority on their children in such a way that they stir up anger instead of godly living.
It seems the way You are showing us to avoid such poor parenting is to make our goal bringing them up in Your discipline and instruction. When my goal with my children is to show them Your ways that helps me exclude other goals I might have (like wanting them to fulfill my dreams, or making them my convenient slaves, or blaming them for my own failures, or demanding they be fully developed adults).
I know, Lord, that when I was a young parent I got off track at times in this area. I would be angry at my kids for upsetting my peace, or not treating me with respect. I would ask of them things they were not capable of doing. I would not give them the time they needed to fill their hearts with security and love. I provoked them to anger. So thank You that You forgave me and protected them.
It speaks volumes to me, God, that You care this way for children and for parents, and so give us this instruction that we need. You are an awesome Parent!