Raising children today isn’t easy – nor is taking care of yourself all that easy either, but nobody ever said it was going to be easy. I know you and other people have heard this before, but have you listened to this advice. Why? Well, I have a couple of questions for you. Do you talk with your kids about the stuff going on with the world we live in? Whether you have or not I want to implore you to not let them make a decision or choice about the issues as they grow older without talking to them about the issues of our culture at hand. To discuss them is like handing your kid a chainsaw and saying, “Here, make a decision and choice about this.” The result will not be pretty. In fact, it’s considered child abuse.
I have the privilege of teaching Catechesis to the 7th Grade Class at our parochial school 3 times a week. What amazes me is the conversations that we have had barely 2 months into this school year. We’ve talked about demons and angels, heaven and hell, among many other things, such as the “hot button” issues of our time in American History. Recently we’ve been tackling the 5th Commandment, you shall not murder. In discussing this commandment, I ultimately bring up abortion with them, and what God’s Word has to say about it. Unfortunately, this has caused quite the division between the class, not to mention the class and me, as too many of our kids have been raised by our culture and speak from very naïve points of view because of it. Don’t worry, I’ve said everything in love. The kids, however, have been affected by our current culture that only your viewpoint matters, and for anyone to think otherwise, consider them anathema. This has caused our kids to be likewise.
With the words coming out of the mouths of these preteens, I’ve decided that far too many of our kids, not just my 7th graders mind you, are having to learn about and deal with issues unlike any generation before those of us who are alive. I’m not saying the times we live in are worse or better than before, we’ve lived in a fallen, sinful world for thousands of years since, well, the Fall into Original Sin. But with the likes of the “smart” phone, “social” media, and other mass media outlets our children are being bombarded by things I never – or any of my friends for that matter – had to think about or deal with, or even knew about, at their age. After the discussions I’ve had with my catechism class, this is no longer the case.
Your children are learning of the world regardless of how much you are trying to protect them from the sinful world around us. If you’re not having the discussion with your children somebody else is. With all of that said, here’s the hard reality: you’ll never be able to protect your children from sin. You and they were conceived in it.
You can control, however, where they can find their worldview concerning those “hot button” issues, especially what God has to say about them. Yes, there’s no way to control sin. However, what we can control is where our children hear how to deal with this earthly life. Because, do we let the culture raise our children? We’ve done a pretty good job of this so far – hence the discussions and viewpoints we have in my 7th grade class – be they the 7th grade of the past, present, or future. Or do we raise our children? I’m sure all of you agree we need to raise our children. The thing is, this means we need make the hard decisions to talk to our kids about the issues before the “interwebs” or even their friends get to them, even when we don’t want to. We can’t let movies, TV, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or even the schools raise our children. This task has been given to you and you alone as you are parents who have been called to educate their kids in the ways of the Lord (read Proverbs 22:6, Deuteronomy 6:6-7, and Ephesians 6:4 below).
What does this mean? You are going to have to tell your children how awful the world truly is around them. You’re going to have to teach your children about original sin and what it has done to all of creation. You need to talk with them about the so called “political issues” of our day – though, they aren’t political issues, but theological/ethical issues. You need to talk to your kids about abortion, homosexuality, and the other theological and ethical issues of our day – because if you don’t, someone or something else will. It’s not going to be easy, but doing the best thing rarely is easy. It’s the harsh reality of living in a fallen, sinful world, which fights against what is ultimately good for them.
You are called to be a mom or dad, a parent, which means you need to step up. God has gifted you with the children who have come under your care so you can, well, take care of them and teach them to be a smart, God fearing human being who will contribute to a fallen world and society. You need to teach them to make informed decisions, especially when God has something to say about it. Teach them we are called to take His point of view. Afterall, He’s God. He created all things – even the laws of nature, He sustains all things, and He will end all things. God is never wrong. God is good, it’s absolute. So, what He says to us through the Word is the truth, whether we like it or not.
Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 – And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Ephesians 6:4 – Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.