Three Ways Parents Go AWOL

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I usually prefer to write about positive things, if I can.  My more recent posts, How To Make Your Home a Better Place (Part 1 & 2,) How to Be Happy for the Rest of Your Life, and Finding Joy in Each Hour are all different ways we can put some positive principles into our lives.


But sometimes, we need to look at the negative as well as the positive.  Our cars require batteries with both positive and negative terminals.  Without both, there is no life, no spark, no results.  Anything with great power requires both positive and negative.


Years ago, I spent some of time with a rather large family in Pennsylvania.  During after-church fellowships, we would sit around and talk for awhile, leaving the children to play together.  Sometimes, one of the kids would come up and want to join in the conversation.  Any time one of this lady’s children came up, she would always shoo them away, saying, “Now, this is my time to fellowship with the ladies.  Go play!”  So the children were never welcome in our conversations.

Her pushing away of her children ended up having disastrous consequences.


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God has established the family to operate like a little country inside a big country.  While the president, or king rules his people, the parents rule the family.  Unfortunately, parents cannot give away their responsability without disintigration of their authority completely.


Parents who are AWOL (Absent Without Leave, or not showing up for duty without permission) give up their God-given responsability to train their children to be good, godly citizens.  Unfortunately, parents cannot give away their responsability without disintigration of their authority completely.


Three Ways Parents Go AWOL:


1.  Sometimes parents decide not to train their children because they desire their child’s approval, and so choose not to restrain them in any way.  Unfortunately, they usually end up giving up any possibility of earning the young person’s approval or respect, and so lose out completely.


2.  Many parents are just plain too busy with their own pursuits to train their children in any way.

This is, I think, one of the biggest reasons that parents go AWOL today.  I know that for me, it is a temptation to always pile my day full, and end up busier than I should be.  And isn’t it when we’re busy that the kids decide to get into things?  Busyness is something we all need to guard against, and during those times when we find ourselves too busy, we can take it as a signal to pull back, regroup, and prioritize.


3.  Some parents are just too lazy.  They figure that the child will turn out ok anyway, so why bother?

The question we need to ask ourselves is, “Is ok good enough?”  If they are anything like your average American young person, I think we have enough of them.  The world needs more godly people, not just people who are ok.


In each of these cases, we see that, in essence, the parents leave their position of authority primarily because it is simply too much work, too much trouble.  As parents, we must become acutely aware that it is not becoming to our high calling to lay aside or give up our honorable responsability.


Remember, our children are given to us as a trust by our Creator.  He is their Maker, and He can prescribe how they are to be trained.  As we train our children to glorify Him and seek His Spirit for strength and guidance, we will have His backing and power for the tremendous job laid before us.


Going AWOL can have dire consequences.


The family in PA has had some real rough times in recent years, but the hardest of all was waking up one morning to find their son gone…away from their protection and care.  But, haven’t they been pushing him away for years?  He’s only “fleshing out” what they’ve been teaching him all this time.



Parents, let’s be willing to take up the cross and do our duty to train our children.  In so doing, we will preserve the future of the faith, society and nation that we live in.



  1. MotheringFromScratch says:

    {Melinda} The older my children get, the more I realize opportunites I’ve missed and ways I wish I would have instructed and set boundaries for them differently. Each time God prompts me to see something new that I need to change or adjust, I try to respond to that prompting and ask for His help in wisdom regarding how to do that. Because it is often difficult and a little scary.

    I also pray that God will “restore the years the locusts have eaten” and fill in where I have failed, but turning their hearts to Him, the only perfect Parent. 🙂

    • Lisa says:

      That is my prayer as well, Melinda. I can look at my children and see the reflection of things I was going through when they were younger, and pray that the Lord will overwrite my mistakes with His Grace. He is able!

      God bless!


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