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Sermon Illustrations: Children

Anecdotes

A Swedish government study on delinquency in teenagers found that, where parents had conflicting values or were inconsistent in putting their values into practice and tried to hold their children to values they themselves did not live by, their children were not able to internalise their values. In other words, expected by their parents to be more disciplined than the examples set, most of the children turned out to be much less so. What made the difference was how closely the parents lived by the values they tried to teach their children.



When Salvation Army people dedicated their children in the 1880s, they were warned, "You must be willing that the child should spend all its life in the Salvation Army, wherever God should choose to send it, that it should be despised, hated, cursed, beaten, kicked, imprisoned or killed for Christ's sake."


The Anglican Digest reminds us that in the old days, when a youngster misbehaved to get attention, he really got attention.


You are partial to your own children. When your little girl is up there singing, "Jesus Loves Me" out of tune, you think she's wonderful. But when it's someone else's kid you're saying, "I can't believe they put that kid up there. Can you believe they let her do that?"


A missionary's son said, "My father is a missionary! He loves the Africans but he doesn't care about me."


Children have a tremendous ability to bring reality into every situation. A Sunday School teacher was teaching his class on the story of the prodigal son. When he got to the end of the story he said, "So everyone was very happy! All except one. Who was it?" A little boy put up his hand and said, "The fatted calf."


A man related the story of how he watched a horse being broken in. It was in a small wooden enclosure and two or three people were pulling on the ropes tied round the horse's neck as the horse kicked frantically. Seeing the horse's bleeding legs the man walked over to the owner and asked, "Must you continue?" The owner replied softly, "Yes, if I don't win this one, no one will ever ride him." You must win round one with your children if you want them to respect your authority.


A little boy wrote to his aunt and said, "I'm very sorry that I forgot your birthday. It wasn't very thoughtful and I wouldn't blame you if you forgot my birthday on Friday."


Before listening to the children's chests, a nurse on the paediatric ward would place the stethoscope into their ears and let them listen to their own hearts. Their eyes would always light up in amazement. But she never got a response quite like one four-year-old's. She placed the disk above his heart and said, "Listen. What do you think that is?" He furrowed his eyebrows and gazed up trying to figure it out. Then a beautiful smile filled his face. "Is that Jesus knocking?" he asked.


Footsteps. There are little feet that follow In my footsteps every day, Their little voices echo So much of what I say. Sometimes I'm not too happy With all the things I see Then I begin to realise That they're imitating me. My patience seems to falter And I speak with too much haste - Till I hear the Saviour speaking When I look into each face. Oh God, please grant me wisdom As I train each little one, Help me set a good example As You Yourself have done. I would not ask for riches Or that they famous be But may each find Christ as Saviour And live each step for Thee.


Letters written to God from children: "Dear God, I love you. I just want to let you know ahead of time that I'd like to be there with you in heaven. Love always, Sarah, 8yrs 5mnths." "Dear friendly God I think you are like a regular person. I do not believe these people who say you are dead or far away. You probably live in the next street. Marly. 8yrs." "Dear nice God, I feel close to you. Like you and I are part of the same family. Maybe we could get married and make it easier. Tina 7yrs.


Hallmark Father's Day card: "Dad, thanks to your lectures I never change horses in the middle of a job worth doing, I know the squeaky wheel gets the worm, and I never count my chickens until I've walked a mile in their shoes. And you thought I wasn't listening."


A mother complained, "When my daughter was almost 17, she was happy for me to chat with her as I walked her to the bus stop on the way to work. But as we got closer to the stop, I had to walk on by and pretend I didn't know her."


Children tell it like it is: Little Johnny was sitting on a park bench munching on one chocolate bar after another. After the 6th one, a man on the bench opposite said, "Son, you know eating all that chocolate isn't good for you. It will give you acne, rot your teeth and make you fat." Johnny replied, "My grandfather lived to be 107 years old." "Did your grandfather eat 6 chocolate bars at a time?" "No, he minded his own business."


Question: I'm 2 months pregnant now. When will my baby move? Answer: With any luck, right after he finishes Uni. Question: What is the most common pregnancy craving? Answer: For men to be the ones who get pregnant. Question: My childbirth instructor says it's not pain I'll feel during labour, but pressure. Is that right? Answer: Yes, in the same way a tornado might be called an air current. Question: Is there anything I should avoid while recovering from childbirth? Answer: Yes, pregnancy. Question: Our baby daughter was born last week. When will my wife begin to feel and act normal again? Answer: Around the time your daughter graduates from high school. Question: What is the most reliable method to determine a baby's sex? Answer: Childbirth. Should I have a baby after 35? Answer: No, 35 children is enough.


When it's hungry, a baby doesn't think, "I'll wait till later till I cry for food. They've got visitors."


Here's a parenting skill all parents should keep in their arsenal. At a compulsory school-related church service, my seven year old son kept fidgeting and wouldn't stop. Finally, in frustration, I pulled his head up near mine and said, "If you don't keep still, I will stand you up in front of all these people (there were around 300-400) and give you the biggest fattest kiss you ever had in your life." He kept still after that.


Thoughts about children: Children seldom misquote you. In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you shouldn't have said. You spend the first two years of their life teaching them to walk and talk. Then you spend the next sixteen telling them to sit down and shut up. The main purpose of holding children's parties is to remind yourself that there are children more awful than your own. We child proof our homes, but they still get in. Mothers of teens now know why some animals eat their young. Grandchildren are God's reward for not killing your own children.



I took a piece of plastic clay / And idly fashioned it one day / As my fingers pressed it still / It moved and yielded to my will. I came again when days were past / The bit of clay was hard at last / The form I gave it, it still bore / But I could change that form no more. I took a piece of living clay / And gently formed it day by day / And moulded it with my power and art / A young child's soft and yielding heart. I came again when years were gone / It was a man I looked upon / He still that early impress wore / And I could change him nevermore. Author Unknown


A boy says, "Hey Dad, can I use the car?" "Sure, son," said the father. "Just bring your grades up, study your Bible and cut your hair. Then you can use the car." "But Samson, Moses and Jesus had long hair," argued the son. "Yes, and everywhere they went they walked," replied the father.


From 1988 - 1992 a family of 12,500 Sudanese boys wandered the deserts of Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya. Some had been orphaned in the civil war in their country. Many, it is thought, had been taken from their families by Sudanese rebel forces to become soldiers. Accompanied by a few "teachers" - members of Sudan People's Liberation Army - the boys kept moving; barefoot, they walked 2,000km during their 4-year walk. Mostly between 10 and 16, they became adults before their time, caring for one another, providing each other with support and a sense of belonging. In 1992 the boys finally reached a refugee camp in Kenya where some were reunited with their families. Others are still trying to trace their relatives.


In countries like Albania, beggar children as young as ten are the main breadwinners.


In Chile, a 65-year-old woman (Leonita Albina) has had 55 documented births. Altogether, she claims to have had 64 children.


You've probably heard about the graffiti that goes something like this: "The trouble with young people today is they're lazy, their hair's too long, and they don't want to get a job." What's strange about that? It could have been written anywhere. But was discovered in Rome and is about 2,000 yrs old.


An Ohio teenager threw a wild party while his parents were away. The damage was so great, he reckoned the only way to cover it up was to burn the house down. So he did.


When my nephew, Timothy, was about ten years old, he decided to give his mother a birthday present. He had a $10 note, tied it to his guinea pig, and said, "Mum, the guinea pig's got something for you." Then he explained to her that he had intended to give her $5, but thought that wasn't enough. So he decided to give her $7. That's right, he wanted $3 change!


A Sunday School teacher asked her children, "And why do we have to be quiet in church." A little girl replied, "Because people are sleeping."


One child was gaining a lot of Bible knowledge. But one day she asked her grandmother, "Grandma, which virgin was the mother of Jesus? The virgin Mary, or the King James Virgin?"


The age of electronic communication is well and truly upon us. A child was heard saying the Lord's Prayer solo for the first time: "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us some email."


Bill Gates recently gave a speech at a high school about 11 things they did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world. Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it. Rule 2: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself. Rule 3: You will not make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both. Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss. Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping - they called it opportunity. Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them. Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parents' generation, try delousing the closet in your own room. Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to anything in real life. Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time. Rule 10: Television is not real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs. Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.


Not disciplining children is like not weeding a garden. Soon the weeds take over, and then you have an enormous job on your hands. You might say, "Well, you'll always have weeds in your garden. Kids will never be perfect." That's true, but the reason we discipline children isn't so that they'll be perfect, but so that they'll grow up to become disciplined adults. When discipline imposed from the outside becomes internalised, it becomes self-discipline.


An old Italian man lived alone in the country. He wanted to dig his tomato garden, but it was very hard work as the ground was hard. His only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament: "Dear Vincent, I am feeling pretty bad because it looks like I won't be able to plant my tomato garden this year. I'm just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. I know if you were here my troubles would be over. I know you would be happy to dig the plot for me. Love, Dad." A few days later he received a letter from his son: "Dear Dad, don't dig up the garden. That's where I buried the bodies. Love, Vinnie." At 4am the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologised to the old man and left. That same day the old man received another letter from his son: "Dear Dad, go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That's the best I could do under the circumstances. Love you, Vinnie."


According to one child, angels drink milk from holy cows.


A young mother discovered her little boy drawing a picture and asked him what it was. "That's a picture of God," he replied. "But nobody knows what God looks like," she said. "Well, they will when I get finished."



In the 1970s in the US, there used to be a TV game show called "Let's Make a Deal". The studio audience used to dress up as ducks, squirrels, and household appliances in the hope that they'd be selected by the host, Monty Hall, as a contestant. One time, Monty saw a lady dressed as a chicken and called, "Chicken, come on down!" She made her way down the aisle and to the stage where Monty showed her three doors. She had to choose one of the doors. The audience helpfully called out their suggestions. Chicken lady made her choice: "Three!" Monty said, "Before look at what's behind door number three, let's see what's behind number one." The door opened and there were two Mercedes Benzes. When he opened door number two, there was a 50-foot yacht and a vacation to Acapulco. The audience was disappointed and Monty opened door number three. Behind it was a donkey. Everyone moaned at her tragic choices. But what would happen if the host had told her what was behind each door before making her choice, and she still made the same choice. God has already told us where our choices lead: life or death, heaven or hell, eternity or judgment?


A little girl approached her father while he was watching TV. "Daddy, what's sex?" she asked. Knowing how important it was to answer her questions openly and honestly, he talked about the differences between boys and girls, about how the body changes as children grow up, and how babies were created. She listened attentively, and asked, "And what's a couple?" Her father explained about dating, finding someone special and marriage. Then at the end of his discourse, he said, "So what's brought on these questions?" The little girl replied, "Because I just asked Mummy how long till dinner and she said, 'Just a couple of secs.'"


One mother had her daughter's birth videoed. She says that when her daughter annoys her, she just hits the rewind button and puts her back in.


Quotes

Children would rather be from a broken home than live in one. Dr Phil McGraw


I've got two wonderful children - and two out of five isn't bad. Comedian Henny Youngman


Perhaps because I gave them so fully to God that He did not think it necessary to take them away from me. Catherine Booth when asked how so large a family as theirs had never buried a child.


If children did not ask questions, they would never learn how little adults know.


Cleanliness is next to godliness, but in childhood it's next to impossible.


If you want to stay young associate with children! If you want to grow old try keeping up with them.


My father didn't tell me how to live! He lived and let me watch him do it.


False cries - If you don't see any tears, make it into a real one straight away. Barry Smith.


I have bred a generation of delinquents. Dr. Spock


I beat them until they cry and then I beat them until they stop. Susannah Wesley


It's a wise man who knows when to overlook and when to oversee.


Bad authority causes a fear relationship between generations. James Dobson.


Parents are a child's first exposure to leadership, it forms the basis of their attitude to other future authority figures and ultimately the authority of God. James Dobson.


If you want to develop a mean hostile teenager let the authority of the parents lean in opposite directions eg. oppressive father, permissive mother. James Dobson.


The will is like steel, the spirit is fragile. (Shape the will without breaking the spirit, James Dobson.)


Oversaturation of a need destroys pleasure. James Dobson.


Children are natural mimics - they act like their parents in spite of every attempt to teach them good manners.


I could not point to any need in childhood as strong as that for a father's protection. Sigmund Freud


There may be some doubt as to who are the best people to have charge of children, but there can be no doubt that parents are the worst. George Bernard Shaw


The average father spends 37 seconds of direct communication with his preschooler per day. Phillips


Apply the board of education to the seat of learning.


Most parents would agree that the best part of their children's lives was the drawing board stage. P.K. Shaw