In February, 1988, the Lord placed a burden within my spirit with regard to young people. What I saw, at that time, was a generation being raised with a lack of spiritual guidance and inappropriate behavior met with little to no consequence. Even more so today! Oh we are in church, religiously. Our children are there too; but somehow, somewhere the application of the gospel got lost. Something happened from the pew to the parlor of homes across this nation.
Over the years, great Men of God have risen and birthed great ministries. Many have wonderful Youth Outreach programs; but that's not the answer, and we’re still not where we should be! The church is not the training ground for our young people – training still begins at home.
I wrote this article nearly, 20 years ago, and it is yet relevant today! The very children I was concerned about then, have now grown up to have their own children, and the cycle has only increased to a greater degree. With the onslaught of cell phones, video games, designer clothes & shoes, hootchie videos, television, that has systematically lowered its’ standards over time—and aah yes, the Internet. Many of these conveniences were not around in 1988, at least not to the magnitude they are today; and we as parents, have let the enemy slowly manipulate his way inside our homes, and into the hearts and minds of our children. Purposefully? I think not, but his presence is there just the same. I could give you scriptures on “lack of knowledge” and “satan’s devices”, but we already know those, in our head.
As difficult a job as parenting is, we have a tendency to want to appease our children, to not offend or upset them, we want to be their friend. We want to show that we’re cool. But all the “cool” in the world won’t help if they hip hop their behinds straight to hell!
So after a bit of editing and updating, almost 20 years later I once again, pose the question:
When Did we Lose Control? ©
Often, the decision to have a child is not given much thought. Sure, we may wonder about the expense involved and the sleepless nights we’ll have; whether we’ll have a boy or a girl; or what to do about those pesky stretch marks. Yet, very little consideration is given to the type of parent we will be. However, once we become a parent, a lifelong job of awesome responsibility begins.
Parenting is so complicated, and in a society where working outside of the home is the norm for both, single and married parents, the task to improve parenting skills has become increasingly difficult. Parenthood, however, is the most important responsibility we’ll have in our lives, and must be entered with a willing heart and a prayerful spirit, for the behaviors we project to our children are the foundational building blocks in forming the generation to come.
While great emphasis is placed on our ministries, our homes, cars, wardrobe, and furthering our lay careers, many of us neglect to realize the time and values we invest in our children far outweigh the material gains we acquire, for our legacy lies in the future of our children. The problems, which exist among today’s children and in our families, have far exceeded epidemic proportions. Yes, they stem from a variety of circumstances, but the nucleus of the problem remains the same: lack of discipline, supervision, Christian guidance and foundation, and the need for a clear, concise solution is long overdue.
Our children are being raised in an environment of hate, poverty, low self-esteem, jealousy, envy and unappreciative greed. Aggression, hostility and depression, are on the rise. Recent studies indicate (1988), today’s youth are more violent, than in any period of American History. Unfortunately, the school systems, television media, or any media typically chosen blameworthy, are not the problem. Before a child reaches the school, or the remote control, the pattern of ambiguous behavior has already been set -- by the parent.
We are under siege by a plague of spiritual and emotional maladjustment. Our local and national newspapers are filled daily with family related tragedies: Father knifes Daughter, Son bludgeons Mother, Sister strangles Brother, Brother shoots Sister, Wife poisons Husband, Husband dismembers Wife. I think you get the picture.
Senseless school massacres, have become common place. Generally following a tragic occurrence on this scale, the parents, if they’re still alive, are questioned about their child’s behavioral patterns, academic achievements, daily routine, and how they possibly could have obtained guns and ammunition. The reply will usually be, “Well….,He’s always been a good boy .. . smart, quiet, kept to himself . . . or, we had no idea our child was involved in something like this.” They’ll shake their heads in disbelief, followed by a woeful sigh and tears of sorrow and give their apologies and condolences to the victims’ families. But if you ask the neighbors about the child’s activities, they seem to have a bit more insight, yet, somehow, have no clue what’s going on in their own home. Hmmmm.
These incidents are not the result of someone’s morbid imagination—these are true accounts, events occurring daily! Children are killing children, parents are killing children, parents are killing each other, children are killing…. – Oh it’s just insane! Don’t bother to look for the pattern to explain this type of madness—there is none. A demonic plague such as this has no barrier of race, culture, or geographical location, and many of us are deceived, believing problems like this can’t or won’t present themselves in our own families.
When did we lose control?
Control was lost when we stopped fearing God, and stopped teaching about love and respect for our fellow man. We lost control when the phrase “I need” turned to “I’ve got to have.” We’ve been out of control since the phrase “look out for number 1” and “you got it I want it “became the new golden rule; reinforced by a value system that’s simply vanished from the midst of our families, replaced with a hip hop culture that glorifies violence and the thug life, and is infamous
for the lack of respect toward authority figures and females.
Where does it end?
It doesn’t, until Jesus returns, or when we begin to right the wrongs established by ineffective parenting practices in our own homes—with our own children. Today, children are literally raising themselves without the guidance and appropriate training of their parents. Why? Perhaps the parent wasn’t properly corrected through discipline as a child, or could be an oath was taken “I promise,
once I have kids, I will not make the same “mistakes” my parents made with me.” Whatever the reason, the adversity in leadership surrounding our children must cease.
Society dictates Parents "spanking" their own children is somehow wrong, and equate it to "cruel and unusual punishment". But the POLICE can beat, slap, kick, our children and it's viewed as "in the line of duty." The devil is A LIE!
Proverbs 13:24 admonishes, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him, chasteneth him EARLY. Now how did we get that mixed up! The Bible is clear on this scripture but somehow we’ve allowed the government to manipulate the meaning. We’ve been made afraid to invoke the necessary discipline required to raise children to become healthy, well-rounded, and spiritually strong individuals. Simply put, the inadequacy of authority in our homes, is the breeding ground for the disrespectful attitudes children develop toward authority outside of the home.
The fifth Commandment clearly states, “Honor thy Father and thy Mother that thy days may be long upon this earth, which the Lord thy God giveth thee”. This is the first commandment with promise. However, there is a condition which must be met. If the child does not honor the father and the mother their days will not be long. By allowing our children to disrespect and disobey our God-given authority, we’re actually handing them a death sentence, by contributing to the
shortening of their lives. The Bible said it, I’m just rephrasing it.
We’re spoiling our children with materialism and permissiveness. Webster defines spoil: to damage seriously; to decay or waste away. And it’s Quite AParent™, from the headlines we read today, that our children and our families are seriously damaged, decaying, wasting away . . . dying.
Our children must be taught the distinct difference between quality of living (standards), and quality of life, but it’s a lesson we, as parents, first must learn.
Dr. James Dobson, author of several books on the family and host of the radio program “Focus on the Family” points out “All human behavior is learned, whether it is desirable or undesirable.” The behavior we’re teaching our children, by example, will follow them throughout life.
The presence or lack of self-control in an adult’s life can usually be traced, with exception, to the home in which they were raised. Small wonder some little boys grow up to be bigger boys; unable to fulfill the responsibility of providing for their families, and be not surprised when you hear of a woman who can’t handle the duties of her household. Probable cause: there was no positive pattern developed during childhood. But just as we “drill” our children in learning their ABC’s, counting to 10 and beyond, or any of the other foundational things we teach them, the same unwavering efforts must be applied in setting the spiritual standards for their lives.
No one on this forum I’m sure, but many parents think it’s entertaining when their 2 year old daughter is mimicking a music video, dancing, prancing, “jerking and sherking.” No harm, no foul? I don’t think so; and not so cute when she’s pregnant at the age of 12 (true occurrence).
It’s time we do away with the old double standard,“Do as I say, not as I do.” This only indicates the lack of discipline and self-control in our own lives, is transmitted to the child, thereby negating all possibility of establishing and maintaining firm control.
I’ve found that parents, instead of dealing with a problem head on, have an odd way of “explaining” away their child’s smart alecky and disrespectful behavior. If you tolerate little Johnny using words he shouldn’t, accept back talk from little Jane, or soothe little Mikey’s tantrums with a snack, it will be difficult for these children to understand why they shouldn’t behave in this manner in school, church, on your next shopping trip, or if Bishop Pastor comes to visit.
We blush and say things like: “He’s so grown; he must have been here before,” or “She’s just going through a phase,” And how many times have you heard someone say, “He’s o.k .he’ll grow out of it.” Let me share something with you, if you feel bright, 3 year old Johnny is grown enough to form, understand, and say bad words, then he’s grown enough to understand to NOT do it! The talking back phase exhibited by little Jane will not pass, but will become a defense mechanism and her way of dealing with others long term. And no, little Mikey won’t grow out of “taking bribes,” but will only grow into years of inherent confusion believing wrong is right and right is wrong.
“Chasten thy son while there is hope and let not thy soul spare for his crying”. (Proverbs 19:18)
There are various translations to help us understand this potent verse of scripture, but I believe the Criswell Study Bible interprets it best: “Leaving a child to himself is to show cruel indifference to the precious life committed to parental care. It is better for the child to cry under the rod of loving and consistent correction than that the parent should later cry over their permissive and neglectful discipline.”
It’s time we grasp the revelation that defiant and unacceptable behavior from our children should not be rewarded, and is not cute. It must be dealt with early, very early, and in a manner where it will not repeat itself—immediately—while there is hope.
Children seek strong and positive role models. Before they look elsewhere, they will look to us; and, we must show strength and stability in our own character. No longer can we continue to give mixed message to our children, by dogging out the pastor, flipping the finger while in traffic, having them lie for us when the bill collector calls, and turn around and tear the carpet up on Sunday Mornings getting our “buck on” in service.
Our children need to learn and understand basic Christian morals and how to apply them to their lives daily. God’s word says, “If you bring up a child in the way that he should go he will not depart from it when he is old”. (Proverbs 22:6.) Let’s read that scripture again, “If you bring up a child….not, if you
Sit your child in front of a TV … but, by example, raise the child by investing the necessary time in properly instructing them in the ways of the Lord, then they will not depart from it when they are old. I believe the key word is YOU, not grandparents, not school or church leaders, but PARENTS.
At Quite AParent™, we understand the significance in establishing commitment and discipline in our children, eradicating complacency and dissent. Children are a vital part of our lives, present and future, and we are currently developing a number of teaching series on The Spiritually Well
Family™ as well as, The Spiritually Well Baby™ to assist parents and parents-to-be, by equipping them with the necessary tools to guide their children towards a peaceful, meaningful and productive life.
God has provided a blueprint for our lives—the Bible. The Word teaches us the proper way to raise our children. But it’s up to us to first read, then apply His directions to our lives, that we may become living epistles before our children. Raising a child is not child’s play, and we’re genuinely concerned with the mental, emotional, and spiritual development of today’s children—tomorrow’s adults. For the schools, nor the streets, not even the church, will train our children in the things which are morally and spiritually correct. That job requires –Quite AParent™!
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Sherryl R. Hooks is the Editor of Quite AParent™, a cooperative vision of the SHOCompassioNetwork , We welcome your comments and opinions and solicit your prayers.