5 Now Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, put himself forward and said, “I will be king.” So he got chariots and horses[a] ready, with fifty men to run ahead of him. 6 (His father had never rebuked him by asking, “Why do you behave as you do?” He was also very handsome and was born next after Absalom.)
– 1 Kings 1:5-6 (NLT)
David is known to be the “Man after God’s own heart” in the Bible. He had led Israel through many successful battles. Even before becoming King, he was passionate about God and his glory (1 Samuel 17:26, 45-47) and his courage and leadership instantly made him the people’s favourite (1 Samuel 18:7).
However, his leadership did not translate automatically to his family. He neglected disciplining Adonijah who assumed Kingship when his father was old, even if he was not a firstborn. And as the passage says, David failed to rebuke his son even by asking “Why are you doing that?” (NIV) which led to Adonijah being disrespectful and not recognize his boundaries as long as he gets what he wants.
Godly leaders ought not to neglect his or her own family. Paul instructed Timothy about leadership and family, saying:
“He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full[a] respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)”
– 1 Timothy 3:4,5 (NIV)
Character takes a lifetime to develop. We may think that we have to be more lenient and forgiving to children – and Filipinos even have this principle ‘pagbigyan mo na, bata lang yan‘ – but setting the boundaries with our children early on will help them learn about self-control.
Indeed, David’s son who succeeded him as King was right when he said:
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
***images are from The Brick Testament