As our culture slides down the slippery slope towards complete and total secularism, it is more important than ever that Christian parents take note and become counter-cultural in their parenting approach. We must wake up to the tidal wave of attacks that are currently being leveled against the family and against Christianity itself.
It is absolutely critical to the proliferation of Christian values and the protection of the family that we become intentional about how we raise the next generation. Here are some facts for us to consider:
- The entertainment industry is not our friend. Gone are the days of Gilligan’s Island and Leave it to Beaver. The current salacious fare offered in movies, in music, in video games, and on TV, is meant to destroy our children’s sense of right and wrong…and to acclimate them to what the industry promotes as “the new normal”, drawing them in to more and more violent, sensual and debase material. Parents need to be tuned in to what their children are watching and listening to, set a standard for their family, and stick to it. Although we only have one teenager left at home, we still deal with these issues on an almost daily basis. The only small ray of hope here is the latest release of several really great Christian movies with a positive message that point to Jesus Christ. (War Room, Fireproof, God’s Not Dead, Woodlawn) By all means, support these films, and take your kids! And don’t be afraid to censure and limit your child’s entertainment selections. You are the parent, after all.
- The public education system as a whole is not working in our best interest. Our current public education system, which began as a way to teach children to read the Bible, has been mired in humanism for many years now. There is a hidden agenda (although it’s not hidden very well!), to indoctrinate kids into the liberal value system of our current culture, teaching subtly (and not so subtly): a new definition of marriage, evolution as science/creation as myth, and socialism as the best option for society. I taught in a public school for many years and I know that there are many dedicated Christian teachers and principals in the trenches, doing their best to teach from their own Christian value system but, nevertheless…public education as a whole, is not working in the best interest of Christian families but instead is indoctrinating our children into a secular worldview.
- We must become politically engaged. There is no better time than now to invest ourselves in the political process. This is not the time to throw up our hands and say, “Our country is too far gone, nothing I can do will help.” or “I don’t like any of the current candidates, so I’m not going to vote.” It does matter who holds the top position in the land, as well as, who sits in the seats of our lawmakers! Find out who will stand for Christian values and for defending our constitutional rights and vote for them! Find out where the candidates stand on social issues and how that stance supports or conflicts with the Word of God. Our childrens’ futures, and the future of Christianity, depend on it.
- We have abdicated our authority as parents. In many cases, we, as parents have abdicated our authority and leadership to teachers, daycare workers, coaches, even our childrens’ peer groups. God has placed your child in your particular family with you as his/her parent. That means you are to be the ultimate authority in his/her life…to train, advise, protect and teach. The buck stops with you(!), not with your child’s best friend’s parent, their coach, or their youth minister. This order of things is something that has to be established very early in life and re-emphasized even as your child grows and matures. (Try practicing this phrase:”Just because the Smiths do it that way doesn’t mean we do.”) By the way, the most important role you have as a parent is to teach your child the Word of God and to train him/her to walk in it’s ways. Don’t allow someone else to be your child’s primary spiritual advisor or their pseudo-parent. Parenting is not easy but, it is your God-given responsibility.
- Family time has all but disappeared. These days, when not in school, our children are so involved in outside activities, that they are rarely at home. This busy, often hectic schedule allows very little time for building family relationships, having meaningful conversations and exerting influence over our children. Our family is certainly not immune to this problem. Over the years we have had to make decisions regarding which, and how many, extra-curricular activities our children would participate in while still allowing sufficient time for our family to be together. Prioritizing that time is not an easy task but it is well worth it. Although it’s very tempting to try to keep up with the Joneses in this regard (who, by the way, have enrolled little Johnny in every YMCA sport, music lessons, and Kiddie Spanish class), there is nothing more valuable than for your child to spend time at home, interacting with you, working and playing together as a family, and even just chillin’. Another thing that can minimize face-to-face interaction is technology. Although it has it’s place and can be very valuable, it should not be allowed to completely replace family time. This can be a challenge for us as parents, as well! (guilty!) Our daughter never misses an opportunity to call us on it when my husband and I are both “plugged in” at home in the evenings. She’s even gone so far as to send candid pictures of us on the couch with our phones to her older brothers with the caption, “quality family time”. We do our best, however, not to be constantly plugged in and encourage her to unplug, as well. Playing family board games is one of our favorite ways to engage in face-to-face interaction.
Parenting is important business…and it is not easy…especially for Christian parents who are going against the tide of popular culture. My hope is that you will consider the thoughts above and re-evaluate your parenting tactics to reflect a dedicated and tenacious effort to parent counter-culturally. Can you think of other ways we can stand against the tide of our eroding culture? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.