Genesis 34:1-31

What parents do to protect their kids. Even in Genesis.

Because Jacob’s sons hear about the rape of their sister, while still in the fields with their livestock, it’s fair to assume that Hamor (the father of the offender) is fully aware of his son’s behavior also.

Shechem acts deplorably; first by violating Dinah (vs.2) and then by keeping her captive in his home (vs.26). To further demonstrate his character, he demands his father, “Get me this girl as my wife.”  And finally, equally shameful, he shows up at Dinah’s family home – apparently without an ounce of concern for what he’s done – and has the audacity to ask Dinah’s father for permission to marry her.  How arrogant.

It’s a tragic snapshot of an undisciplined child. Verse three reports that Shechem loves Dinah and speaks tenderly to her. But his feelings are obviously not reciprocated, so he simply takes what he wants. Shockingly oblivious to the fallout of his behavior.

Which brings me back to his father. Where was the rebuke? Where was the outrage? Instead of dealing with his son’s bad behavior, he continues to indulge him by virtually begging Jacob to fulfill Schechem’s demands.

It’s a pattern that probably began in the check-out aisle at Walmart. Oh wait.

As a teacher, I’ve seen my share of Shechems and Habors. What starts as appeasing disrespectful demands for candy, leads to defending destructive and dangerous behavior.

Our kids will suffer momentary disappointment, but by demanding respectful words and actions, providing consequences for poor choices…and teaching them to courteously accept “no” for an answer…we give them the best gift possible. It leads to respect for themselves. Respect for others. And most importantly, respect for God and his Word.

When we accept – or even excuse – bad behavior, we set our kids up for a lifetime of disappointment, resentment, confusion, reckless behavior and bad relationships. They’ll survive without the candy. They may not survive without discipline.