“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
The recent death of my father brought back many memories of my childhood and I couldn’t help but compare the differences between then and now. At the time I was growing up in the 50’s and 60’s values were still an important part of our culture. What was acceptable in our society was quite clear and we knew when we were doing something wrong. Today there seems to be an attitude in our society of “it’s okay as long as no one gets hurt” or “ you should try everything once to see if you like it”. Recently we have been hearing the phrase “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”, as if what you do in Las Vegas is ok as long as no one knows about it! This attitude does not help children to establish their values and how they are to live their lives in the way God intended. Children are looking for direction even though they may not show it and if they don’t find it at home they will look elsewhere. If we do not teach values to our children we are pretty much telling them that everything is okay. Is it any wonder then that we have so many children making bad decisions that will affect them for the rest of their lives?
Paul says in Ephesians 6:4 “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Fathers are told to teach their children God’s values. These are the values that God gave to Israel in His laws. “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all they might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” (Deut. 6:4-7). We must teach our children to reverence God and to want to obey Him. Throughout history we can see that Israel disobeyed God in teaching these laws to their children and they suffered the consequences, just as we are doing today.
In our current cultural environment children are mostly educated through the internet, TV, movies, music videos, video games, what they hear from their peers and what is taught to them in school. All of these sources mould their thinking. If they have not been taught a good foundation of God’s values in their homes they will be strongly influenced by the world. Our homes are filled with children whose parents are divorced or separated, single parents, step families, blended families, etc. There is a breakdown in our families these days, which is a great tragedy and has caused many problems for our children. One of the best things that we can do for our children is to have a good marriage from which to raise them. This provides a stable, secure environment which helps produce a well-adjusted child.
Our children have a hard battle today. We live in a very permissive society and our children, especially teenagers, are being strongly influenced by the culture of today. They have such strong influences affecting them, such as the internet, where not only the pornographic websites, but also the chat rooms, can have a huge influence on them and lead them to all sorts of trouble. There is a huge marketing movement to target our children and it is very successful. Children are under extreme pressure by their peers and especially all forms of the media to do drugs, have sex, to drink and to smoke. Girls are given the impression that they should be physically perfect even if they must sacrifice their health to look that way, i.e., bulimia, anorexia and smoking. Boys are encouraged to take drugs and use steroids to be more muscular, especially in sports. They are under extreme pressure and we must do all we can to help them.
We must build a home where they can feel secure and know that they have a family that loves and cares for them. They must know that they have parents they can talk to. We should be teaching them that God loves and cares for them and that they are accountable to Him as well as to their parents. We must encourage them to build their relationship with Jesus. He can help give them the strength that they need to avoid the dark world that is out there. Our children are our future and we must help them to survive the battle that they have before them. With God on their side they will surely win the battle.
“Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman worketh but in vain.” (Psa. 127:1).
“Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord: that walketh in his ways. (Psa. 128:1)