It seems that America has lost its way in some very basic understandings of what needs to be done. As a parent myself, I often am forced by the world’s influence on my children to confront issues that I am amazed at. Sex education in the 4th grade, words in mainstream media that used to be “off limits”, or used to be ok to imply but not speak out loud, and daily news stories of the murders, rapes, and molestation that riddle large and small cities and communities alike. It’s all a part of the main stream today, and as a parent, I struggle with the responsibilities for teaching my children that I am supposed to be responsible for even though the world insists that they should do it for me.
Who’s Teaching Your Children?
The world’s religions are all abuzz nowadays about what they should be teaching young people. Youth groups abound with overnight sessions and alternative weekend plans. The schools are being pressured into teaching everything “under the sun” because a few noisy people are pushing their personal agendas and forcing their opinions and views to be made a part of the curriculum. Advertisers are pushing to try to get their message about the lifestyle and aura of their products in front of young adults and even young children. Cartoons are trying to teach our young children every message of every shape and size.
All of them are preaching “tolerance, tolerance, tolerance” for everything. “Live and let live”, “just do it”, “free love”, “if it feels good, do it” have all been advertising slogans and battle cries of generations that we have seen in the past 40 years.
But have we pushed “tolerance” too far? When we say tolerance, are there no limits to what we should teach our children to tolerate? Would you even dream about teaching your children how to murder? Would you teach your children virile hatred towards others? Or better yet, are we now living with a second and potential 3rd generation of people who were taught these things and now see them simply as a way of life? Generations that knows no boundaries, because everything “should be tolerated”?
Over the past 40 years, parents have placed more and more of the responsibility for raising children in the hands of other people while tying their own hands behind their backs and crying “what can I do?” Parents now appear powerless against the tolerant world. If their children misbehave, they react to an extreme and hear threats of lawsuits and child protection services being sent to their doorstep to remove their children and place them in a “safer” foster care system, so they do nothing.
Could it be that the generations raising children nowadays do not know where the boundaries are, and are unable to set boundaries because they feel thy need to “tolerate” everything in order to raise “productive” children? Could we be living with the “timeout” generation of parents that are unable to make rational decisions, and give direct, appropriate consequences to their children if they dont do the right things? It would appear so.
So we now live with a generation of people who have no sense of accountability for their actions. A generation of people who feel that “anything goes”, a second generation of “if it feels good do it” attitudes. Instead of teaching children that there are causes and effects, that there are direct consequences for their actions, they sit by and watch their children rule over them and say things like “what can I do?” and “I never knew they were watching that much violent media”.
Young parents are confused. They see the ills of society and want to make sure they do something different with their children. They want to make their children a generation of people who contribute to society in a positive way, who have an internal moral compass, but the messages they receive about raising children from every source they have are in violent contradiction with one another, and when they’re done, they give up and accept “as it is” and then wonder why it happened the way that it did. They balk at “religious teachings” because their experiences (as well as the news media) tell them that anything other than the mainstream belief system is “cult like”, and they don’t want their children singled out in society because they are one of those “religious types”.
We’ve heard the claim that the bible says “spare the rod spoil the child” before. Do you know that phrase does not appear ANYWHERE in YOUR Bible? (I’ll cover the REAL scripture later) But again, the message has been convoluted into extremes where people will beat their children or people who feel that “timeouts” are the reality of life. Have you ever known a police officer to give a “timeout” to a person who just broke the law? But the beatings surely have been reported!
So what is the middle ground? What does YOUR bible say about raising children? What is the value of a child to the parents? What is the child’s place in the family? What are the parental responsibilities? Is religious upbringing a thing to be avoided, or could it be a basis for raising the type of children we all desire to raise?
Are you aware that the dusty Bible that you may own DOES NOT say that “tolerance in everything” and “acceptance and teaching of everything” is the CORRECT way to teach your children?
Are you aware that it also does not say that extremism, bigotry, and “phobia” against people is correct?
You parents blow the dust off of your Bibles, and let’s look at what IT says about how to teach your children!
A Child’s place in the Old Testament
We’ve all heard the stories of the bible. David as a boy against Goliath, Abraham willing to sacrifice Isaac for God, the number of ancients of the bible that longed for a son, and through a miracle from God were given the children they so longed for. But ask yourself this question just because their longing was granted by God, did those parents focus their entire lives around the child, completely putting aside all their knowledge of how to do the right things? Did they decide that they should not teach them the stories of old, the stories of the exodus from Egypt and the wonders that God performed in order to save them because it would make them “too religious”? Did they decide compromising “just a little” the laws (yes, I mean the 10 commandments) of God was okay, because they needed to teach “tolerance”?
Or did they teach their children WELL? The good and centered things, the things that were important to a family life, and a truly productive physical and spiritual life. Did they sleep in during the work days until 3 in the afternoon, or were they working as a part of the family to do things for the good of the family?
Let’s look at Deuteronomy 4 as just one example of the things that Moses is instructing the people on:
4:2 You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it
4:6 - Therefore be careful to observe them (the statutes and commandments of God); for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.'
4:9 - Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren,
The next verses speak of some of the GREAT things that God had done for Israel. But do you understand the significance of the verses you read?
It says to not deviate from the truth, the laws (10 commandments) of God, and you will have wisdom, and other nations will see you as great and strong for keeping the commandments. And then it says to keep (also translated guard) yourself to not forget, and teach them to your children AND grandchildren!
Pass them on! Pass the TRUTH and KNOWLEDGE forward! DO NOT be afraid to pass the truth to your children, for they WILL grow up knowing God, and they WILL be better off for it!
Who is REALLY in charge of the Family?
Let’s look at Proverbs 13:24. I spoke of the world’s misconceptions of this scripture earlier.
(NKJV) He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.
(KJV) He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him quickly.
Think about this scripture. Break it down and dwell on the true meaning of it. I looked up the word chasteneth (disciplines) in Strong’s concordance. The definition of the word is:
properly chastisement; figuratively reproof, warning or instruction; also restraint: - bond, chastening ([-eth]), chastisement, check, correction, discipline, doctrine, instruction, rebuke.
Do you see the word beating, severe punishment, timeout, good talking to, or ridicule? These are all extreme words used to describe people who discipline their children without knowledge of center, of the middle ground, or of a good moral compass that will contribute to the long term success of their children.
It is THE PARENTS’ responsibility to bring a child up in the centered knowledge of things that are good and true, and part of that good and true center is CLEARLY appropriate discipline instruction in the right way to do something.
And as the scripture clearly says a parent who DOES NOT do this “hateth his son”.
Clearly the Bible says that this is the responsibility of the parent, because a son is the offspring of a parent. If it meant the schools, it would have said “clearly a school principal who does not discipline their children!
So that also implies that the ultimate responsibility for having the order of the family set is in the hands of the male head of the household. “HE that spareth the rod”.
And children are to be valued, but AS A PART OF THE FAMILY. Not the center, not the hind end, but as a part of the family. Without the children, there is a husband and a wife, or an individual, but as God has Christ His son, so children make a family.
Teach Them WELL Things
The Bible is replete with GREAT stories of heroic individuals who stood up to enemies that even Superman couldn’t face. The only difference is that it is up to US as parents to make the stories interesting, to tell them with a belief and conviction that the story beats out Hollywood’s special effects teams. To speak of the Biblical characters with honesty. No pomp, deep ”biblical” voice, no “this will teach you a lesson” intent.
Remember the old saying “you are what you eat”? Your children are truly a result of what they hear and see! If they watch a TV program about someone being murdered, they know murder is wrong, but do they need to see the details of how the murder was committed and understand the motives of the murderer? Teach them simply; get back to what is right and what is wrong.
Put your nose in the Bible, and teach the centered, well-rounded lessons through Biblical teachings that we so desperately need in today’s society.
Teach your children well.