How can you, as a parent, hope to rear moral children in today's immoral world? And can you be sure that what you teach them will stay with them for the rest of their lives? God's Word provides the answers to these questions—and they are not what you would expect!
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Raising a child in today's violent, morally permissive, “anything goes” world is the most trying, difficult thing a parent could do. To produce a productive, moral and emotionally mature adult, parents must swim against the powerful currents of this world's trends, pulls and overwhelming pressures.
And so many drown under the strain!
Parents must counteract the pulls of Hollywood, Madison Avenue and MTV, which glamorize rebellious attitudes and self-centeredness.
Parents must contend with a strange generation of youths who are different from previous generations. They have their own subcultures, and their own set of values that would—should—shock adults!
When it comes to childrearing, parents often do not know what to do—or when to do it.
Consider television sitcoms: Strong family values, once promoted in the past, have been corrupted into the dysfunctional family values of today.
Consider Hollywood films: Many glamorize sexual immorality. Movie characters change sex partners more often than they change their clothes! Hollywood manipulates audiences to shout for the rebel, the anti-hero and characters who thumb their noses at authority.
Consider the Internet: With a few clicks of a button, your child can access web pages that promote every sick idea known to man. Photographs of twisted and perverted images are only seconds away from your child's mental consumption.
We live in the age of instant gratification, through mass media: Television, music, movies, video games, music videos. All of these deceive children into believing that they are the center of the universe. Our children are constantly bombarded with messages of selfishness, greed and “me first” attitudes. These messages are boxed, wrapped and marketed to an unsuspecting generation in packages of vanity, illicit sex, hatred, physical aggression and rebellion against authority.
Television has spoon-fed garbage for so long that children do not know how to think, or solve problems with their minds. Instead, television has taught them to solve problems through violence and brute force.
Kids no longer read beyond what is required by their schools. To read, one must move his eyes back and forth across the page. And he must think about the words and what they describe. This is too much effort for a generation that has been programmed to stare at a TV screen. Television does not require thinking—or effort.
The result? Many youths have never visited a library or even owned a book. Much of their perspective on life is limited to what flashes across a TV screen. And what they constantly see is violence, corruption and widespread immorality. They have little concept of the world of books.
Today's youths live in a different world than previous generations—a world that teaches them that careers come first. That individual fulfillment is more important than raising a family. That stay-at-home mothers are as rare as four-leaf clovers. That households need two-parent incomes, otherwise many families cannot survive.
Consider these alarming statistics:
• In 1990, 24% of U.S. families were single-parent households. By 1999, it rose to 27%.
• In 1999, 68% of U.S. children lived in two-parent homes. That's down from 77% in 1980.
• From July 1, 1998, to June 30, 1999, there were 47 violent deaths in U.S. schools.
• From 1992 to 1999, students were more likely to be victims of theft at school than anywhere else.
• The U.S. has the highest rate of teen pregnancy of any industrialized nation—one million annually among girls ages 15-19. The United Kingdom is the next highest, with about half a million pregnancies.
• Of Americans who are infected with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) annually, more than three million (25%) are teenagers.
• Each year, about 25% of new HIV cases occur in people ages 13 to 21.
Teenagers have their own subcultures, their own set of values. Teen—and even pre-teen—sex is fast becoming the norm. So are teen pregnancies and STDs. Body piercing, tattoos, drug abuse and widespread fornication have become their way of life.
Notice: “They have dealt treacherously against the Lord: for they have begotten strange children: now shall a month devour them with their portions” (Hos. 5:7).
Kids today are cynical, world-weary and emotionally drained. They may seem tough and talk tough, but inside they are morally weak and spiritually vacant. They lack empathy—they cannot feel for others, but only for themselves. They lack the moral fiber or backbone to do the right thing even when it hurts. Instead, they have stumbled into adulthood believing that “if it feels right, do it.”
This did not come about all at once. Modern society has reared a generation of “latchkey kids”—children who come home to an empty house after school. Without adult supervision, they are left to their own devices, practically rearing themselves into adulthood.
Now grown up, they are fiercely independent adults who need little supervision on their jobs. But they never learned to emotionally bond with people. They never learned to feel for others because they have been trained to feel—and fend—only for themselves. They do not know how to build loving, mature relationships. And they show little interest in parents who showed little interest in them.
Many kids today are void of true values. Their hearts are invested in material things, like $200 sneakers and expensive leather jackets. Some will even kill to possess what others have. To them, life is about status, “getting respect,” conforming to peer pressure. They do not care about tomorrow—only about today.
We are rearing a “generation that curses their father, and does not bless their mother” (Prov. 30:11). This describes the last generation of every previous great society, which eventually fell—the Romans, Greeks, Babylonians, Egyptians, Assyrians, etc. Each of these great empires produced youths that were proud, arrogant and rotten. Just like today. There is nothing new under the sun (Ecc. 1:9).
We are rearing a “generation that is pure in their own eyes, yet is not washed from their filthiness” (Prov. 30:12). You cannot tell them anything. They already “know it all.”
They do not know the meaning of the word “no.” They expect parents to reason with them. Every issue is a negotiation.
And parents are unbalanced. They do not know how to properly rear their children. Rarely will parents make their kids do anything—they give them few chores or responsibilities. They are more concerned with being their child's friend than in being his teacher and parent! They would rather be popular with their children than “upset” them by teaching them right from wrong and applying discipline!
Now consider: How can we possibly teach our children to be moral, to act justly and to be merciful when the daily news continually reveals the sins of adults? White-collar crime—government corruption—widespread child abuse among this world's clergymen and others of influence, who are supposed to help in their development. To children, such actions speak louder than words.
Religions have failed to give parents the tools they need to properly rear their children. This world's Christianity teaches that God's spiritual laws—His Commandments—were “done away” and “there's no need to keep them.” Therefore, morality has become a matter of personal taste: One man's sin is another man's lifestyle.
Theologians substitute the righteousness of God—His commandments (Psa. 119:172)—for the righteousness of men, and call it “political correctness.”
No wonder kids today have smug faces and smirk at authority. They roll their eyes because they already “know” what is right and wrong—and no one can teach them otherwise. So many are ungovernable, unmanageable and unruly.
Political correctness teaches them that nothing is truly bad or wrong—except intolerance. Yet those who preach political correctness will not tolerate those who take a stand against sin.
What irony—and hypocrisy!
Teens are no longer taught right from wrong because their parents no longer know the difference. They embrace a world of “differing shades of gray,” where clear-cut rules of morality, ethics and integrity no longer exist. Some parents will even steal items from their jobs—pens, markers, paper, notebooks—and then wonder why their children shoplift.
Fifty years ago, if a child found a wallet filled with money, he would have turned it over to the police.
Today, such a child would be ridiculed by his peers—and even by some adults! He would probably be written up in the local newspaper because what was once considered a civic duty has now become a phenomenon. Such honesty is so rare, it makes headlines! Honesty is becoming a small flame—slowly flickering out.
How can you hope to rear a child in such a morally topsy-turvy world? What chance do you have to “train up a child” into becoming a successful, productive, moral, emotionally and physically mature adult?
There is hope. Request our free booklet Train Your CHILDREN God's Way. It contains the truths that will show you the way!