Like it or not our culture and society is progressing. Progressing where, well that remains to be seen. But if the trends are any indicators where we’re going may not look so good. I don’t mean to sound all ‘doom and gloom’ here but what exactly are parents teaching their kids these day? And on the flip-side what are they not saying to their kids?
How and who teaches our kids makes a world of difference. Don’t believe me? The Warlords in Africa understand this notion. Why do you think they abduct young boys and recruit them for their armies? He who controls the youth controls the next generation. Right or wrong (and that last example is most definitely wrong) the principle is still constant and true. Who is responsible for instructing the youth of our next generation? The Parents!!! But what are the parents not saying any longer?
Here’s a list of a few things they aren’t saying:
Discipline has become inconsistent at best. Children are allowed to do more, stay up later, eat whatever they want and parents aren’t telling their children ‘NO’. Let me make a confession. As a parent of four children I think I know a little bit about kids. And if we as parents don’t tell them no when we know what is best for them they will begin to craft their own ideals and notions of right and wrong. I am the parent! You are the parent and we have to set boundaries for our children especially when they are young and in the formative stages of life! I’m not saying it’s too late for teenagers if you’ve never said ‘no’ to your child, but much of a child’s understanding of right and wrong begins when they are young. Say no, not just to say it, but when it applies to situations and circumstances that may endanger your child, when they act up or push the boundaries…have the guts to be consistent and say no. There are far too many lazy parents in our world today who just don’t have the time to tell their children no. Be a better parent than that!
We live in a fast paced, fast food society. Everything is based on instant gratification. But what is that teaching our children? Good things don’t come to those who wait, no good things come to those who get it now! Whatever ‘it’ is get it, why wait? This applies to purchasing items that are beyond our financial means, eating foods in over indulgence, and even sexual pursuits. Parents, we have got to step up to the plate and tell our children to wait! Don’t let them make decisions based on what their friends are doing or what modern media is telling them is okay. Have ‘the talk’ with them. Get involved in their lives and remind them that God does have a plan for their lives…and some of it involves waiting.
3. I love you
Let me be clear on this point, many parents are saying the words ‘I love you’ but they’re not backing it up with action. If you love your child don’t just say it be involved in their lives, actually listen to them as they share with you their day. Be available to them so that they have someone to come and talk to. They say body language is sometimes more important than actual verbal language at times. So put the tablet, cell phone, or laptop down and actually make eye contact with your child! Let them know that you love them by paying attention to them! Parents we cannot afford to be selfish when it comes to sharing our love with our kids. We only have them for 18 years of their life and then they go out into the world on their own. Make it count, help them show love in the same respect by being there and being attentive to them.
4. Your choices matter!
Start young with this! Make sure they understand what consequences are for both good and poor choices! Instruct them properly and help them to weigh out their choices in this life. We are witnessing a whole generation of young people growing up in a world where no one is responsible for the consequences of poor decisions. How does that happen? It starts at home. If the parent can’t admit wrong doing or own up to bad choices, the child learns from this as well. The child has learn to blame others for their mistakes, to ignore the consequences and to just do what makes you happy. Parents we have to be adult enough to show our children how to admit wrong doing, and to help them make better choices in their lives. It’s not a weakness to admit that we were wrong at times. Doing so displays something that is lost in our society today: integrity and courage.
5. Love the Lord with all your heart and serve Him first!
I understand many do not live in Christian homes, but for any parent out there who attend Sunday School as a child or still goes to church today this is one of the most fundamental building blocks for any child’s development! Without knowledge of God’s love and our reciprocation in word and deep we stand to lose an entire generation to ignorance and faithlessness. Understanding that God is real and that His love saves us has to be at the forefront of our children’s development. I’ve heard it said that it’s not our job to get our kids saved, I offer an contrary view. It is our job to point our children in the right direction and to instruct them in the ways of God! If we feel ill-equipped then I think we’re doing it right. It won’t be easy but when our children see faith in action through us the Bible lessons about God and our relationship to Him will be that much clearer!
Parents I cannot stress it enough, we cannot omit these important instructions from our children’s development! The dangers in our society today are very real. We are facing the possibility of an entire generation blind to faith and lost in sin. We must instruct our children. We must take the time. We cannot afford to be selfish with our time and our knowledge of God. Don’t dismiss this as just another alarmist, get involved with your children, tell them no, tell them to wait, help them to learn to make better choices in life and that consequences do exist. Lead them and point them to God…make sure that you also display in word and deed these same principles and attributes in your life!
-Get on with it!