How often do you hear someone complain about a recent plane flight? The airline industry is experiencing some difficulties. As a frequent flyer, I always look for the cheapest way to get from Point A to Point B. You can tell you’re using a cheap airline when:

  1. They don’t use “tickets” but refer to them as “chances” instead.
  2. All the insurance machines in the terminal are sold out.
  3. Before the flight, the passengers get together to elect a pilot.
  4. You can’t board the plane unless you have exact change.
  5. The captain asks all the passengers to chip in to help pay for gas.
  6. You ask the captain how often planes crash and he says, “Just once.”
  7. You don’t need a movie on the flight because your life keeps flashing before your eyes.
  8. The airline’s slogan is “We’re Amtrak—with Wings”
  9. The company advertises, “Your kids will love our slides.”
  10. And finally, you know you’re on a cheap airline when all the planes have a bathroom and a chapel.

A few years ago, I was boarding a plane to Dothan, Ala. when the flight attendants announced it was experiencing mechanical difficulties and we would need to change equipment. (They should just say, “Folks, this plane is broken. We’ll have to move you to another plane and hope it will fly.”)

Out came the next piece of “equipment:” a tiny prop plane to replace the brand-new jet we had just boarded. This plane looked as though it had been pulled from a museum and hadn’t flown in years. It had a flat tire, and the only thing that seemed to be holding it together was its spotty, rust-streaked coat of paint. I was relieved to hear the flight attendant say we’d be on our way as soon as they aired up the flat.

With the airplane loaded and the doors closed, the flight attendant began to go through the safety procedures—until the pilot paged her. This tiny plane was overloaded, so someone would have to switch flights. Who would volunteer?

A long period of silence usually follows this type of question. But this time, the flight attendant had hardly finished her sentence when a man volunteered. He must have raised his hand faster than the rest of us who wanted to get off that rust bucket with wings. Our one lucky volunteer left.

Again, the door closed, and the flight attendant began her spiel when we heard “Urrrrrrh, urrrrh, urrrh, urh.” This time, the engine wouldn’t start.

The door opened once more to allow a mechanic to board. For 40 minutes, all we heard was the “Urrrrh, urrrh, urh” sound. At one point, the mechanic yelled, “I think I got the backup batteries working.” Now, the last thing I want to hear from an airplane mechanic is the phrase, “I think.” I want him to know whatever was wrong is now fixed and the plane is fit to fly. Finally, the plane took off, and I spent the entire flight in prayer. Sometimes a bargain ticket comes at a high price.

The moral of this story? You get what you pay for. And the same rule often applies for parenting. Your parenting shouldn’t be accidental, but intentional. God’s Word speaks to this type of intentionality: “Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it, so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged” (Deut. 6:1-2, NASB).

God wants us to teach and lead our children to be “doers of the word and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22, NASB). Mom and Dad, it isn’t enough to give your children head knowledge. They need to have the skills to handle choices and challenges in and through His holy Word. Their lives depend on it.

Eph. 6:1-3 says the same thing. If children learn to submit their lives to the Word of God, they will live long and well. Isn’t that what you want for your children?

In this season of new life, resolve to become a parent who brings life to the children under your care, a parent who not only teaches them to know God’s Word but also to have a heartbeat of obedience.

After all, you don’t want either your plane or your parenting to crash.

Walker Moore is president of Awe Star Ministries in Tulsa, P.O. Box 470265, Tulsa 74147, email, Phone 800/AWESTAR (293-7827).