by Richard Mansel, assistant editor
If we will help the younger generations avoid the dangers facing them, we must first acknowledge our complicity in creating such an immoral society with our materialism, destructive marriages and lack of faith. However, we still have a chance to make things right again.
Creating this unfortunate situation did not happen overnight and the solution will be just as arduous. The rewards, though, are monumental.
We must blanket our young people in safety while allowing them to breathe and grow. This delicate balance will require individualization. Some young people are wiser and more balanced. They have a firm foundation in Christ and are less susceptible to apostasy. Still others need constant help to maneuver through the minefields.
We cannot allow our technological ignorance or fears to overwhelm us. We must teach our young people how to use the media properly rather than keeping them from it completely. The latter is a short-term solution that can have serious consequences when they are no longer under our guidance. Once again, the delicate balance will require wisdom on our part.
This proactive plan begins with building their spiritual foundation in Christ. If they are not a Christian, lead them to become one (Acts 2:38). Get them into God’s Word. Ensure that the family is active in prayer and spiritual fellowship. Lead by example by being a strong Christian and exhibiting godliness.Above all, be genuine and transparent (Ephesians 4:1).
We must help our young people develop their own faith. They must discover reasons why they should want to be faithful to God. This does not mean that we let them decide whether to attend worship or study their Bible lessons. This kind of freedom is a recipe for danger. We must help them see why they should want to, on their own. Along the way, we guide and nudge, as necessary.
Engage them in discussions on moral, ethical issues. Teach with questions. Arm them with the tools they need to handle the temptations they face. Use real life scenarios and make application to their lives.
Parents must teach them to handle themselves properly when we are not around. This will require hours of commitment and focus as we look for teaching moments and use them.
Know who their friends are and where they are at all times. Keep a tight lid on their social life. We must grow up and not allow our past to injure our children. We may still be seething about the lack of freedom we had when we were dating. Hence, we allow our kids too much freedom. It is disastrous to try to live vicariously through our children.
A parent wrote a column about her daughter’s page on a social networking site. The Mom joined so she could monitor her daughter. However, her daughter blocked her friend request and the Mother was fine with that! We cannot seek to be buddies with our children to the extent that we are afraid to be parents. This is war and we must be tough. Our feelings are subordinate to their souls.
We must not be short-term parents who just try to put out fires. If we can just eliminate problems as they arise, we are happy. The situation is too desperate for this. This full-time commitment cannot be shirked. Long-term parenting faces each moment as a teaching opportunity. We must teach life-skills constantly. Their future depends on it.
As Dr. Laura says, “Why have kids if you won’t raise them?” Whether we asked for this job or not, it is here. We have no choice.