|My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don't neglect your mother's instruction.|
|Proverbs 1:8, NLT|
| Through the years I
have seen many changes in the youth culture. The late sixties and early
seventies, for example, were filled with questions and open rebellion
against societal norms and institutions. Our meetings would draw
hundreds of kids per school to discuss racism, war, and the meaning to
Then there was a dramatic shift toward the self. Instead of caring about society or others in need, young people focused on meeting their own needs. They got jobs and spent their money on concert tickets, record albums, stereos, and cars. The me generation" wanted to be entertained, and it was difficult to get them to discuss much of anything.
Out of this mushroomed the drug culture. Whether seeking new experiences or escapes, looking for pleasure or trying to cover their depression, young people consumed marijuana, cocaine, and alcohol while continuing to focus on themselves and their needs. Today, kids are self-centered but lonely, pleasure-seeking but filled with despair, materialistic but desperate for meaning in life.
We can identify many causes for these problems. Certainly the erosion of public values, the promotion of ethical relativism, and the breakdown of the family were contributing factors. But perhaps we should also consider the role that parenting has played in some of these issues.
A few weeks ago, I went to a wedding. It was a prime example of conspicuous consumption, from the two stretch limos to the lavish reception. The bride's family is not rich, nor is the young couple. Yet they felt it was necessary to spend thousands on this party for themselves. Later I learned that my friend had told his daughter that she could have $10,000 for the wedding. She spent thirteen and has to pay back the extra three thousand. What a way to begin a marriage!
As a parent, check your lifestyle--does it honor Christ? And consider what you are teaching children in your home, neighborhood, and church. What are they learning about values from seeing yours? Do they work for anything, or is everything given to them? Do they have opportunities to serve others? Do they understand what it means to be a responsible, productive, and selfless Christian and citizen? And think about this: how can you promote positive, godly character in your children in the midst of a society that is pulling them in other directions?