“Watch” translates a military term referring to the duties of a guard, and the root word means to go without sleep. A guard cannot sleep because he must be circumspect, attentive, and mentally aware—prepared to confront the enemy. The security of his encampment, the army, and ultimately the nation depends upon the vigilance of the guard.
We are guarding souls, a word that includes the mind, will, and emotion. So we are to guard what goes into our child’s mind, “for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). As our children’s thinking determines their decisions, so their decisions determine their destiny.
Guarding our children’s souls is a serious and daunting business, and we cannot be neutral or passive in that war. Thankfully, God gives us guidance in His Word. In Proverbs 1, one of my favorite passages for direction, the father/writer addresses his son about three critical relationships: his relationship with God, with his parents, and with his peers. Beginning with a healthy respect for God and desire to obey Him, our children must next learn to listen to and obey our instructions. Finally, we must guard or carefully monitor our children’s discernment in choosing friends. The child who truly fears God and desires to submit to his parents’ authority wants to be around friends who exhibit the same patterns.
Some of our children’s “friends” are the electronic type. While electronics can be useful tools, we must vigilantly guard against their potential for serious spiritual harm. TV and videos, video games, cell phones (talking and texting), and the Internet (surfing and social sites) may involve undisciplined use of time, gratification of the flesh, or manufacture of idols of the heart. Wise parents monitor their child's entertainment choices as carefully as they do their child’s friends.
As we guard our children’s souls, let us help them make decisions based on the truth of God’s Word, not on the whims of fleshly feelings energized by current popular culture. Our scripturally sound practices will help guard our children's souls from the relentless attack of the enemy (1 Pet. 5:8; 2:11; 1 John 2:15-17; Eph. 6:10-17).