“But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children…” (Matt. 11:16).
If there is a word that describes our generation, it is the word childish.
Children are selfish. They can surprise us with acts of giving, but their world view is not big enough to see the needs of others like they should. Babies are born totally dependent on their mothers and fathers. They are born receivers, not givers. As children grow they need to be taught to think about others. Some learn but others don’t. Many have grown in their bodies but not in their minds. They expect everybody to do for them. They demand to have their way. They have to be the center of attention and whatever is done is supposed to please them. Like the Israelite men and women in Amos’ time, they want to have fun and enjoy themselves, but they’re not concerned about the hardships of others (Amos 6:1-6).
Children get upset when even little things don’t go their way. To them the slightest disappointment is the end of the world. Without guidance and correction they tend to whine, pout, and get mad. This is how many teenagers, parents, and men and women definitely old enough to know better act today. Have you ever seen so much bickering? Have you ever seen so many people who pout or get mad over the least little thing? A lot of people today are like Ahab who went home and pouted when a man wouldn’t sell him a piece of property he really wanted (1 Kings 21:1-4).
Children want to play. They love to play. Work usually doesn’t come naturally; they have to be taught and required to work. In pioneer days children had to pitch in and work or the family wouldn’t have enough to eat. In our modern world with all our luxuries and conveniences, children often do little work around home. Parents can make this worse by thinking they have to constantly entertain them. Even in earlier times David Lipscomb warned about this. He said good parents know how to give “wholesome neglect” to their children and let them learn to entertain themselves, rely on themselves, and do for others. It is tragic that many Americans live for nothing else but having fun. At home, at work, and at church they just want to play and not be bothered with anything serious.
It hurts a child to be told “No,” but this is what he needs. “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Prov. 29:15). There are grown men and women who hate being told “No. You can’t do that.” Now that spanking has been discouraged in the home and banned at school, we have adults foolish enough to think they should never be denied anything. In marriage they throw fits when they don’t get what they want. In church they stomp off in rage when a sermon convicts them of sin. They owe nothing to others. The world is here to wait on them.
“Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men” (1 Cor. 14:20).