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A controversial bill was recently proposed to ban spanking in California. Penalties would range from mandatory parenting classes to heavy fines and jail time.
Elsewhere, just days after this bill was announced, a toddler and her parents made national news: They were kicked off an airplane because the child had a tantrum and would not stop kicking and screaming long enough to sit down for takeoff.
Is discipline necessary to correctly train a child? Or would children be better able to live productive, happy lives without it?
In many areas, society has gone from being overly strict to overly permissive. Where is the balance? The ultimate question is: How can parents produce happy, healthy children?
Modern bookstores in almost every city contain a wide variety of books teaching a host of men’s ideas about how to rear children. While often containing interesting facts and quotes, and perhaps some few helpful minor points, none of these competing, disagreeing and largely confusing books, which are usually written as though they are trying to impress intellectuals, have succeeded in bringing the answers that the parents of today long for—and desperately need!
Millions of families today are in almost complete despair. Ignorance of the most basic spiritual knowledge has brought about a near holocaust of a whole generation, now almost entirely lost to misguided thinking and false values. The terrible fruits of modern families are visible and obvious, but no one knows what to do about it. No one knows where to turn for the answers that countless millions of parents are seeking. The world has not known that there is an Instruction Book containing all the vital information necessary to rear children the right way.
More and more thinking people recognize that civilization is out of control. New problems of every kind are appearing, with older ones growing worse seemingly every day. The current generation of leaders has utterly failed in its responsibility to improve the world—to make it better for the next generation. Government leaders have failed to lead the world out of problems. Business leaders have not been able to stabilize the world’s economy. Generals have failed to bring peace through military intervention. Scientists have failed to rid the world of food shortages, pollution and problems such as global warming. Doctors and medical science have been unable to check the spread of deadly viruses and bacteria, and the diseases and other plagues that come from them. Religious leaders and philosophers have utterly failed in bringing happiness, fulfillment and true purpose to the lives of billions.
All are looking to the next generation to bring final solutions to the world’s greatest problems!
But, if the present picture looks bad, then the future looks much, much worse! The world’s most important resource—and the backbone of every society and nation on earth today—are its children. But today’s generation of young people is in big—HUGE—trouble. The condition of the present generation of youth is so bad, with problems so severe, that anyone with eyes to see does not, and could never, doubt this! But this is because parents have failed in their God- given responsibility to give their children the right foundation necessary to produce lives full of achievement, productivity and true success. They have not met the challenge! Again, no one has taught these parents—no one has equipped them for their responsibility.
Consider this from the perspective of how the world looks ahead to those it is counting on to produce the leaders they suppose—and anticipate—will be tomorrow’s “problem solvers”:
From today’s young people will come the university professors, schoolteachers and childcare professionals of tomorrow. They will also produce the scientists, inventors and explorers of the next age. And from today’s younger generation will also come the economists, financiers, business entrepreneurs and chief executive officers of the vast numbers of small businesses, companies and multi-national corporations in tomorrow’s economy. The next generation of government leaders, senior military officers and members of futuristic “think tanks” will also come from those who are in school today. So will the philosophers, writers and journalists. And then there are the future doctors, psychologists and other professionals who will also arise from the modern generation. In addition, will come the lawyers, judges and law enforcement officials to deal with the worsening societal breakdown occurring today. Perhaps most important, the religious leaders of tomorrow will come from the children of today, and it is desperately hoped that these will soon bring leadership that their predecessors have failed to bring for the last 6,000 years!
Of course, all of this first supposes that there will even be a tomorrow for the world, and that there will also be a generation to produce sufficiently qualified leaders to guide civilization closer to the final utopia that every generation and all nations have sought. The evidence is not good that either of these things will happen.
The nations of the world possess a vast sum of knowledge, and it increases every day, but they are ignorant of the right kind of knowledge— spiritually revealed knowledge. This is because the modern system of education is morally and spiritually bankrupt! Deluded educators have been biased against God and His Word by having had the atheistic teaching of evolution poured into them from childhood. They have taught young people for decades (and these have become today’s parents and grandparents) that there are “no absolutes” and that they must follow “situation ethics” in all circumstances. They have led the world into a kind of secular humanism—where people are driven by how they feel rather than clear definitions of right and wrong! But there is right and wrong in life—and the educators who are teaching the children of this world have cut themselves off from this knowledge (Isa. 59:1-2). They cannot teach what they were never taught. And neither can parents who have been indoctrinated in their thinking!
Also, this world’s churches have kept parents and young people steeped in traditional pagan philosophies and teachings that have deceived the world for millennia. All the world’s religions have ignored the great spiritual principle of cause and effect that governs every aspect of life. They have all neglected to teach true spiritual values—that there is an inspired, vital Instruction Book from Almighty God that contains special knowledge. It explains that there is a great spiritual law that, when obeyed, brings all the good things that every human being seeks. Confused by the conflicting influence of blinded religious leaders and deceived educators, parents have utterly failed in their greatest responsibility, which should have been to teach their children how to live, and to instill in their young minds the marvelous truths of God’s Word and the supreme purpose for which they were born! Again, they have failed to meet the challenge!
It has been said that children represent a parent’s greatest stewardship. We could ask: What else even comes close?
Think of all that is at stake in how parents rear just one child. This little human being can either be armed with how to succeed in life, or literally programmed to fail—left defenseless against the many problems that life will throw at him! Further, the child’s children—the parents’ own grandchildren—will be directly affected by the principles of childrearing (good or bad), which could then in turn continue to be at least partially employed, potentially for generations to come. Then there is the effect the child will have on all the other people with whom he comes in contact throughout the balance of his life. And what about the very real peace and happiness—or lack thereof!—that the child brings to his parents as another direct result of how well they did their job? All these things are measured in very real terms, and carry implications almost too numerous and far-reaching to comprehend.
If you are a parent, your task is to recognize what all of this means to you, which must translate into action—what you must do!
Take a moment to consider the world around you. Reflect on all the different kinds of influences—with seemingly more every day—to which a child is exposed. Rearing children in today’s violent, morally permissive, confusing, “anything goes” world is perhaps the most trying, difficult thing that adults could do.
The situation could be likened to a ship entering what has been called “the perfect storm.” The force of the wind and the size of the waves beating on the “parental ships” of today mean that parents are working seemingly against all odds, and without a compass, maps, a working rudder or an engine to power their ship—assuming they even knew where to steer it. However, in reality, the greatest “perfect storm” is that which their children are suffering. If it could be said that parents are experiencing 30-foot waves and gale force winds in the open ocean, at least they are on a ship. By analogy, their children are experiencing the same conditions, but in a small, leaking row boat, without oars or a can with which to bail!
Fathers and mothers today must counteract a host of powerful pulls coming from Hollywood, Madison Avenue and MTV, all of which glamorize rebellious attitudes and self-centeredness. Then they must contend with a strange, perverse generation of young people who are different from all previous generations, and who have their children surrounded. Youth and teenagers of today have a whole variety of new subcultures, values and thinking—many of which would shock all but the most liberal, open-minded parents!
Consider the following quote from The Daily Telegraph, a British newspaper, in an article titled, “Keep out: TV, DVD and computers rule.” It plainly reveals the effect of technology on parenting today: “Technology is destroying traditional family life as young adolescents increasingly spend more time in their bedrooms playing computer games, surfing the Internet or watching television, videos and DVDs, a study released today claims. Whereas the living room used to be the hub of the home, now more and more 11- to 14-year-olds prefer to be alone in their technology-filled bedrooms, communicating with friends via mobile phone texting or e-mail.” (This article goes on to state that 75 percent of children ages 11 to 14 have a television in their room, 64 percent have a DVD player or VCR, and one-fourth have a computer in their room.)
So many children and teenagers today have become hopeless, with no hint, inkling or clue of why they are alive, and whether there is a purpose for human existence. Just observing their faces in a crowd reveals this much. They can see that world conditions grow ever worse, with the news of each day seemingly worse than the day before, and the problems each day becoming worse and greater in number than the day before.
The result of all this is that the vast majority of children and teenagers today simply tune out the confusion and emptiness of religion, the division and ineffectiveness of government, the evils and troubles plaguing schools and education, the complex economic forces at work in the modern world and the breakdown of the family, which increasingly often includes their own. This leads them to select from—more like back into—a variety of different means of escape: drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, endless parties, and mindless, gratuitous entertainment, among others—to occupy themselves. In turn, this leads to a whole host of problems which are overwhelming society, and parents as well.
Your children will be—and maybe already are—tempted to turn off, give up and drop out if you are not unceasingly vigilant in your responsibility to keep them in the belief that they can have a future, and that it can be wonderful beyond belief, if they are carefully building it step by step under your guidance!