Oh the pain, the deep grief. I have hardly been able to watch the reports coming out of Newtown, CT. Seeing the faces of panicked parents, scared little kids, and the extreme agony of loss causes me to grieve with them. The grief is deepened by the inexplicable reason for the massacre. The senselessness of the murders and the cold hearted execution of children renders the mind reeling, trying to find some connection that would cause such an atrocity. But sadly, none is found, leaving closure an impossibility.
Children are a gift from God to parents, to the world. They are a source of joy, love, hope, and aggravation. Children are somewhat of a blank page. They have certain innate, God given talents, but they need instruction, correction, and encouragement. Children do not raise themselves. Too much of current parenting is a hands off approach. It does not direct, teach, or correct. It allows unbridled emotions, actions, and verbal expressions. The result is unruly, undisciplined, rude, wild, obnoxious little brats. They are dangerous. I see them hitting their parents, running wild banging into adults and other children. Sadly, I see parents take the abuse and refuse to discipline the child. It is like they do not know what to do. They have no parenting skills.
So, we have a generation of parents who have little or no clue how to rear children and we have children who are unrestrained and receive little or no guidance from their parents. They are being trained by videos, violent games, peers, and teachers who are afraid of lawsuits. Even teachers are being injured in schools as administrators tolerate near criminal behavior in fear of the ALCU and special interest groups with high powered lawyers. Meanwhile we are growing a nation of emotionally ruled babies that grow into unbalanced adults. This is not an indictment on all since there are some doing a great job of parenting; however, the trend leans toward the undisciplined.
With this as a backdrop, we, the church must change our culture since the church has been deeply affected by the secular educational philosophies. We have segregated the family over the past number of decades, have bought into the “generation gap” and have concluded that families need to be separated so they can learn. Against that philosophy, we have around 2000 years of families being together.
We currently have a serious illiteracy in the area of Bible knowledge in children especially and in adults too. We cannot seriously address the culture when there is no character strength based in the word. We are swimming in a sea of ethical, religious, and moral pluralism. We are drowning in tolerance which is defined, not as respecting another position, but defined as anything goes and nothing is really right or wrong. So, our children are being taught in such a manner that true, absolutes do not exist. You cannot change the world with anything goes.
Thus, we must make a determined effort and program of training the children in the basics of God’s word. The establishment that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, that the Word of God is true, that the Word of God is reliable and authentic becomes a gargantuan task against the tsunami of relativism permeating the secular culture.
We cannot stand against the forces with bland, weak teaching. We cannot stand against the problem with entertaining or babysitting the children. There has to be a concerted plan that involves parents and mentors. We have to be on the same page and work diligently, not for a semester, but for years. This is not the job of mentors or teachers in church; it is the job of Christian parents to engage their children. Really the basis for this is God’s delegation of procreation and the responsibility of the parent as a steward of God’s creation.
With that in mind, we are going to do everything possible to support parents in the training of their children. Home is the greatest greenhouse of character and education. Church can help, but it cannot succeed without the home working on character.
My granddaughter in law is a teacher as is my granddaughter. She commented that the kids come to school and do not even know the basics of civility. They do not know kindness, sympathy, basic manners, or the necessary relational skills that allow education to take place. She said that this should not be her job, but the job of the parents.
So, our Herculean task is to turn things around in our midst. It is to focus on children as a treasure and not an inconvenience. It is to see the future in the eyes of our children and invest in them. It is to recognize that godly character is taught in the home and reinforced at church. It is to provide the tools to help parents be good role models, good, loving disciplinarians, and to be good teachers of God’s word.
To stop the slide, there must be dramatic changes and a commitment from the church to do this. It will take everyone on board. It will take mentors in the classes, but it will also take folks supporting and aiding the parents in church. It will take, we, the leadership, upholding the vision and supporting it in the way speak, act, and invest.