Love is Politeness (5 of 14) | Devotions with Dad

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Love is Politeness (5 of 14)

For DAD Only:

Parents vs. Peers

“Don’t worry, he’ll outgrow that once he gets in school.” That’s what my English linguistics instructor said about children with lazy speech habits. Some modern educators say you should not correct your child’s grammar and pronunciation; he will learn it on his own without your help. I’m not convinced. I don’t think it helps a child’s self-esteem for his peers to mock at his bad habits until he learns to speak correctly.

Of course, it is a matter of personal choice whether you allow your kid to continue talking like Elmer Fudd or you help develop his word formation ability. When it comes to character development, though, we can’t trust society to do a proper job for our children. More than just speech limitations, peer-mentored kids develop moral impediments.

Let’s look at how this progresses:

Young Johnny wants to play with some kids he meets at the playground. He says, “I want to pway wit dat baw, too.”

One of the kids laughs at his poor pronunciation. “You talk like a baby. ‘I want to pway with my baw-baw. Ha! Ha!”

Johnny is hurt. No one has ever attacked his speech before. Mom and Dad have just accepted him like he is. But he really likes this kid with the bright yellow ball. So Johnny tries his best to not say the “pway” word and if you sneak up behind the big oak tree, you will hear him talking to himself: “baw…lll. Bawllll. Ball.” Hey! This social conditioning thing really works. Right?

The next week, on the playground, Johnny says, “Can I have the ball?” Notice he still avoids the “pway” word. Gotta’ work on dat some more. But he has the “ball” word down.

Now, let’s fast forward a few years.

Johnny is now ten and has learned the dynamic necessity of getting the approval of his peers. However, over summer break, someone changed the rules. When he starts eating in the elementary school cafeteria, his friends laugh at him. “Wow, listen to this guy smack! Every time he opens his mouth, I think I see a car wreck in there.”

Johnny’s friends laugh. Uh-oh, who cares that he can even say the “play” word correctly now. He has to step up to a new notch in the limbo of life.

You are saying, “Great! Who needs a dad? These peers will teach my child everything he needs to know.” But things are not as rosy as they seem.

Johnny turns thirteen. Somehow the rules have changed again. Now, his friends don’t accept him just because of what he doesn’t do. Now, they will only accept him by what he does do. They subtly teach him that he doesn’t fit in their group unless he wears the right shoes, shirt, and jeans. No Wal-Mart clothes enter the “in” crowd.

And then…

Johnny turns fifteen. Now, his friends don’t accept him just on his social habits and brand names. Now his peer group values those who dare to push past boundaries. Has he smoked? Has he tried beer? Has he kissed a girl? Has he gone further?

A child needs a parent, especially a godly dad, to mentor him. Peer-mentoring creates a world of clones. Dad-mentoring creates a world of responsible adults. When your child receives training from you, Dad, he learns that there is a higher power. He learns that there are people who survived childhood and know what they are talking about. A Dad-trained kid has a healthy view of God. He looks for someone bigger than himself to guide his life.

Socially-conditioned Christian youth are the first ones to question the moral standards of the church. They feel self-conscious because they aren’t allowed to wear certain types of clothing, go to certain events, or say certain words. Entering young adulthood, these youths give up “mom and dad’s” morals. They say, “I’m not sure I ever believed that. It might be okay for my parents, but I have to think for myself.”

The sad truth is that they are not thinking for themselves. They are trying to please the social god, not the true God. If society wears it, they want to wear it. If people their age group are watching it, they want to watch it. If other so-called Christians go there, why can’t we?

Parenting is not a social arrangement for feeding and bathing children. By just being a dad, you teach your child about a proper relationship with God. By homeschooling your child, you bring them one step further from social warping. However, even Christian schools, homeschool groups, and church kids programs could have an unhealthy social influence on your child.

The salvaging influence is you. You, Dad, must teach your child that popular opinion doesn’t matter. They must see that you care more about what God thinks than anything else. They must learn graceful non-conformance, not the social rebellion of the gothics or skateboarders (conformity to an inset social group). They must develop the character of Peter, Paul, and even our Lord Jesus to stand for righteousness when it is popular among thousands and even when you are all alone in the cause.

The ocean of society runs awash with ever changing tides. The rock face of character doesn’t change no matter the waves, wind, or brine. God orders dads to create the moral atmosphere in our homes by talking about God things:

when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. (Deuteronomy 6:7-9)

Socialized kids may learn not to smack their food, lie, cheat, or kill. But that doesn’t mean they are moral; that means they have merely learned how to conform to peer standards. Morality stems from a desire to obey and honor those in authority, and ultimately God. If you let society raise your kids as conformers, they will look like Hollywood and live like NYC. If you teach them that God comes first, it won’t matter where they live, they will shine like lights in darkness.

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Dad, read this story with your kids:

Rude Awakening

“Where’s my camera?” Rusty demanded as soon as Dad had opened the door to help Misty get in the van.

“Rusty, give her a minute,” Mom said. “How’s your foot, honey?”

Misty whimpered. “It hurts, but I’ll be alright.” Dad helped her ease into the seat.

“I’m sorry you fell like that.”

“Well, from what I heard, she was not being very well behaved.” Dad closed the sliding door and sat down behind the wheel.

“Misty. Where you disobeying Shoshanna’s parents?”

“No,” Misty groaned. “I was showing off and I slipped.”

“So, you learned a good lesson, huh?”

“I guess so.”

“Did you break my camera?” Rusty asked.

Misty didn’t answer.

Mom looked back at her. “Misty, where is your brother’s camera?”

“I don’t know. I might have dropped it.”

“Oh no!” Rusty shouted. “How could you do something so stupid? I trusted you with that! C’mon, Misty! If you broke it, I’m gonna’—”

“Rusty!” Dad interrupted. “There’s no reason to talk like that. Your sister had an accident, and you could be a little more polite.”

Rusty looked down at his hands. Dad got on his phone and called Shoshanna’s parents to see if they had the camera. Once he found out that they had it and thanked them, Dad hung up the phone and spoke to Rusty again. “Now, you need to learn not to be so rude. I was going to take everyone out to eat today since it is past lunch time. But you, young man will only get to drink water and you will get no dessert either.”

Rusty sighed.

“And I want you to apologize to your sister.”

“Sorry, Misty.”

“It’s okay,” she said.

The family traveled in silence for a few minutes until Dad spoke again. “I think you both need to learn a few things about how to behave around other people.” Soon, Dad pulled the van into the parking lot of an all-you-can-eat restaurant.

Dad carried Misty inside and the family got a table near the middle. After they ordered their iced tea and Rusty’s water, the family prayed together, thanking God for the food they were going to eat.

Mom filled a plate with food for Misty while the guys got their food. Soon, the whole family sat down to eat and talk together. Suddenly, a woman entered the restaurant with two boys who were making a lot of noise. “I want pizza! I want pizza!” one of them said.

“Shut up! We haven’t even sat down yet,” the woman answered. They took a table on the other side of the buffet from Rusty and Misty’s family.

Rusty asked permission to go back for more food and Dad went with him to the bar. “Make sure you get some vegetables this time,” Dad said. Rusty got a clean plate and reached for the spoon so he could scoop up some green beans.

One of those boys had come to get food, too. He reached right in front of Rusty. Rusty watched the kid grab a dinner roll. After the boy moved, Rusty began to scoop more green beans onto his plate. The boy belched and took a bite out of his roll. Rusty moved down to get some mashed potatoes on his plate. The other boy followed him and grabbed a French fry off the buffet and ate it. Rusty scooped up the gravy and put it on his potatoes. The boy ate another French fry.

Rusty went back to the table and sat down with is family. Dad had already sat back down. He glanced at the boy eating off the food bar and sighed. Dad looked at Rusty and Misty and said, “Don’t you ever do that.”

Rusty nodded.

The boy at the buffet said, “Hey, Mom, what is this stuff? It looks like pig brains.”

“Would you stop it? Now get a plate.” The boys’ mom got herself a plate with some food and went back to her table.

The two boys kept walking around looking at all the food. When they came to the ice cream machine, the bigger boy pulled the handle. Vanilla ice cream came oozing out of the machine. “Whoa, check it out!” he said to his brother. The ice cream squished in the drain pan and began to pile up. “Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!”

One of the restaurant workers walked over to the boys and told them to stop. One boy said, “You can’t make me.” The boys walked away from the machine and got some plates with food. Soon, the manager came out to talk to the boys’ mother. The boys sat down at their table to eat.

Rusty sipped his water, wishing it was soda pop. From the other side of the buffet, he heard one of the boys slurping his straw loudly. Rusty tried to ignore the rude family. His eyes followed the buffet and finally settled on the desert bar. He could just taste some of that chocolate, but he knew better than to ask.

When he finished the food on his plate, Rusty got permission to go to the fruit bar. While he picked up some slices of pineapple and peach wedges, one of the rude boys came by. He went over to the ice cream machine, got a couple cones, filled one with vanilla, and filled the other with chocolate. The restaurant worker spoke to the boy again, “You need a responsible adult with you when you come to this bar.” The boy looked at her and said, “Fine, see if I ever come here again.” With an ice cream cone in each hand, the boy walked by Rusty and stuck his tongue out at him as he walked by.

Rusty went back to the table and sat down with his family. As soon as Rusty finished his fruit, Dad said to Mom, “I’ve seen enough of that group. Are we ready to go?”

Mom nodded, “Please. Let’s get out of here.” Dad left a tip for the waitress and they all got up from the table.

Mom helped Misty hobble out. “Whew,” Mom said once they were outside. “I think that group was more entertainment than the zoo, Misty.”

“Yeah,” said Rusty as he opened the van door for his sister. “I see how ugly rude can look now. Misty, I’m really sorry I was so rude.”

“I forgive you,” she said. “Just don’t ever say food looks like pig brains. That’s sick!”


What does I Corinthians 13:5 say about how good character behaves?

Doesn’t behave rude or make a scene.

How was Rusty rude? What was wrong with his attitude?

Should children be allowed to act like those boys in the restaurant?

Why is it rude to eat food right off a buffet?

Why is it rude to belch in front of people?

Why is it rude to waste food?

Why is it polite to ask permission to get up from the table?

Why is it polite to use your napkin?

Why is it polite to leave a tip for the waitress?

Read the following scripture with the family:

Historical Rudeness

The Israelites were rude to God and Moses.

Numbers 21:5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.

Job’s wife was rude to her husband in his suffering.

Job 2:7-10

So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.

Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.

But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?

In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

The unbelievers were rude to Jesus at His crucifixion.

Matthew 27:39-44

And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, and saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.

Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.


What causes some people to be rude?

They only think about themselves and don’t care about everyone else.

Why is it rude to complain?

Why is it rude to make fun of people?

Why is it rude to call people names?

How should we respond to people who are rude to us?

When have you had to deal with someone who was very rude to you?

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Memory Verse:

I Corinthians 13:5

Doth not behave itself unseemly…

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