An Open Letter to Parents

(Ken Hope)

Fathers and mothers, even though the following letter was not addressed to us personally, let’s be wise enough to read it. Rest assured, no issue involving “privacy” will be violated by our “listening in”. This letter was originally sent to Lieutenant Commander J. P. Carr. On the birth of their first child, a daughter, Mr. Carr’s father sent him this sobering correspondence:

“Teach her as many of the seven thousand words (sic) of the English language as you have time to, but be sure she knows that the greatest word is GOD; the longest word is ETERNITY; the swiftest word is TIME; the nearest word is NOW; the darkest word is SIN; the meanest word is HYPOCRISY; and the deepest word is SOULS.”

This statement, with its sentiment, forms the “bare bones” of what we might call “PARENTING 101.” How basic. How beautiful. How Biblical. Every parent needs to “diligently” teach these truths to their children (Deut. 6:5-6).

1) The greatest word is God! Are you teaching your children all that God has done for them so that they might love Him with all their heart, soul, and might (Matt. 22:37; 1 Jn. 4:19)? Teach your children to love Him dearly.

2) The longest word is Eternity! Are you creating within your child a desire to go to heaven by speaking about the joys thereof (Jn. 14:1-3; Heb. 11:16)? In view of eternity, teach your children to prepare earnestly.

3) The swiftest word is Time! Are you instructing your children to redeem the time (Eph. 5:16)? Have you impressed upon them that life is only a vapor that soon vanishes (James 4:14)? Time “flies” so teach your children to invest wisely!

4) The nearest word is Now! Are you reminding your children that the only time available, not to mention acceptable, is NOW (2 Cor. 6:2)? Teach your children regarding spiritual matters to act quickly!

5) The darkest word is Sin! Are you impressing upon your child’s heart that sin not only hurts God (Ezek. 6:9), but also destroys man (Rom. 6:23)? Teach your child, concerning the very appearance of evil, to abhor sin totally (1 Thess. 5:22).

6) The meanest word is Hypocrisy! Are you teaching your offspring to act from pure motives (1 Cor. 13:1-3)? May we never rightfully be charged with being counterfeit (Jer. 6:30). Regarding hypocrisy, teach them to avoid it carefully!

7) The deepest word is Souls! Are you teaching your offspring the tremendous value of their soul (Mk. 8:36)? Are they telling others about the salvation of their soul (Prov. 11:30)? With souls in mind, teach them to be seeking diligently!

The question is not, “Did Mr. Carr heed his father’s advice?” The real question is, “Will we be wise enough to obey our heavenly Father’s commandments in the rearing of our precious children?”