Burdens Children Shouldn't Bear
I recently watched a television commercial that was meant to make me chuckle but instead depressed me. It was an advertisement for sandwich meats where a little girl runs a sack lunch out to her mom who is pulling out of the driveway. The intended humor is to portray the child as the "mother figure" who is watching out for her mom and making sure she doesn't forget the things she needs. I suppose the humor would have worked on me if I didn't know of children who are having to fill that role. In reality, the reversal is tragic.
The Bible places parents and children in distinct roles:
"Children obey your parents in the Lord, . . .fathers. . .bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord" "For the children ought to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children" (Eph 6:4; 2 Cor. 12:14).
Parents are to be leaders, teachers, providers, and protectors. It is unnatural for children to have to deal with adult decisions and pressures. Though, it is good for children to be tested and challenged, there are some burdens that children ought not to bear.
Children should not have to navigate the moral dilemmas of life without a standard. Our Society encourages everyone to determine what is right for them. While that may be liberating for some sinful adults, it leaves a child lost. Children should be taught there is a God who loves but judges all. They should be taught His word can guide them in every decision.
Children should not be left to fend for themselves while parents are occupied with other things. I know of a thirteen-year old who had to learn to balance her mom's checkbook because of her mom's irresponsibility. Some kids cook their own meals and wash their own clothes because there isn't a parent around to do it. A child needs to learn responsibility but not by being totally responsible for all his needs.
Children should not be stuck in the middle while two parents fight it out in the aftermath of a divorce. One of the most unnatural things for a child to have to do is to choose one parent over another. Even in a peaceful divorce (Have you ever known of one?), kids are in an awkward position. Parents are responsible for their marriages, not the kids. In a divorce though the kids bear as much pain as do mom and dad. It is a burden kids should not have to bear and woe to the parents who cold-heartedly place it on their little ones.