The Duty of Children
I would now like to speak a few words to the children.
God designed that children should be a blessing to their parents. “My son, be wise, and make my heart glad.” (Proverbs 27:11) “The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.” (Proverbs 23:24-25) “A wise son maketh a glad father.” (Proverbs 15:20)
You will observe, children, in each of the above scriptures, that it is wisdom in a child that makes parents rejoice. You should seek wisdom and understanding. “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom.” (Proverbs 4:7) What is wisdom? “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.” (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 9:10) The highest honor a child can pay to a true parent, is to honor and obey God: “[Thou] shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.” (Deuteronomy 30:2) “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not.” (Ecclesiastes 12:1)
The duty of children is to fear their parents: “Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father.” (Leviticus 19:3) To honor them: “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” (Exodus 20:12) It is true this is an old-covenant commandment—but the same principle is carried into the dispensation of the gospel (Ephesians 6:2)
Children should pay attention to the faithful instruction of their parents: “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.” (Proverbs 1:8-9) “Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father.” (Proverbs 4:1) “My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother.” (Proverbs 6:20) “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.” (Ephesians 6:1) And just as surely, it is wrong to disobey. Many children do not have a due regard for the instruction of their father and mother. They oftentimes think they know more than their parents and so follow their own ways “without natural affection.” (Romans 1:30-31; 2 Timothy 3:2-3)
Children should imitate the example of righteous parents—but are also commanded not to walk in the footsteps of the unholy: “But I said unto their children in the wilderness, Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols.” (Ezekiel 20:18)
One important duty of children is to care for their parents. Just as God designed for parents to care for their children when they are weak and helpless, He also designed for children to mature and become able to take on the responsibility of caring for their parents when they are no longer able to support themselves. “But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.” (1 Timothy 5:4)