This brought about a lot of thought provoking questions and an interesting discussion among the parents that attended the seminar. One feedback a parent gave was that she would limit contact and make sure that the child with the bad influence does not come to the house. Another parent then asked, ‘What if they never come to the house and they meet in school?’ This is the reality of the times we are in.
In a previous post I wrote on Your Child and Pornography, I made a set of recommendations on internet filters, and putting the computer where everyone could see it, etc, but beyond these are more important issues. A lot of our kids at some point in their lives will leave home and the direct influence of their parents. However, they will still be confronted with the same temptations, issues and challenges.
Some of these temptations and challenges will be at a larger scale, and some, different dimensions. It leads me to the conclusion that there are heart issues and core values to instill in our children which are beyond putting checks and balances on their activities. There will come a time where we will not be around to put them in place and to monitor them. Beyond checks and balances, we need to equip our children to make right choices based on the right principles and values when confronted with temptations. Having the right, perspective and values will help your child to determine what is right, even when you are not there.
The challenges and pressures young people are facing in the times we are in are complex and multifaceted: It seems as if the blessing of technology and advancement is slowly becoming a curse: Internet pornography, sexting, school shootings, suicide bombings, teenage suicide, anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders, addictions, and a whole lot more. This can be overwhelming to young people to handle, with even we, as parents not being fully equipped to help them to make decisions that will make them thrive in their time.
A lot of us parents substitute the gift of quality constructive instructions with more and more material things and privileges, without equipping our children with the core values to manage them. We are also living in a time of moral depravation and starvation, even among Christians, such that everything that was black and white is slowly becoming gray. Some of us give the excuse that we were ‘deprived’ when growing up, and we don’t want our children to be deprived of what others have. But I pose to you this question: If we were able, in spite of our supposed deprivation to make the best of our lives to be the responsible, God fearing leaders we are today, is overindulging our children then, not in essence the real deprivation? With our overindulgence, are we not depriving them the privilege of taking responsibility for their own lives, of earning things and not having a sense of entitlement, of trusting and believing God for things, and not expecting them to just fall on their laps, of learning how to ‘abase and abound’, and contentment? of knowing that their lives will not end of they don’t have the things they want on their terms and conditions?
We cannot pray temptations and challenges from the lives of our children; neither can we protect them all the time. At a point in their lives they will have to face it. The Bible says that ‘In this world (not another one) we will have tribulations, and distress and trials and frustrations, but we should be of good cheer, as Jesus has deprived the world of its power to harm us and He has conquered it for us. We can therefore not escape the reality of our children being tempted, being tried and frustrated, just like we have been and we still are. Without these temptations and trials, they will not grow into matured and balanced men and women. Their potential of making an impact to the world will be limited. The best we can do for them, apart from praying is to equip them to be able to make sound choices, not just to resist temptations, but to bounce back from setbacks, and to have a winning attitude.
We cannot raise a generation of bright, intelligent, and academically sound men and women who are not equipped to make right moral choices and stand by them. No matter how much we invest in their academic or social pursuits, not building their character and helping them to make sound biblical choices will be the Achilles heel to our effort.
In the next series of parenting posts, we will be talking about equipping our children to make right choices. These posts will help us to look deeper into the how to help our children make decisions with the right intent and motive.
May the Lord help you as we train up our children in the way they should go.