Raising Children in the 21st Century

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It has been a busy week for me. It was actually nice to unplug for a week and spend time with my children. It was especially fitting because the last sermons I preached before being unplugged were to help the Madrid church of Christ in Madrid, IA kick off their spring gospel meeting. This meeting had focused upon the challenges families face in the 21st century. They asked me to begin this series of lessons. I preached two lessons aimed at the young people of their congregation. I decided to preach lesson on facing peer pressure. One of these two lesson focused solely upon the peer pressure of sexual immorality. The third lesson was aimed at the parents of these young people.

As I prepared these lessons I came more and more aware of the fact that raising children in this day and age is exceptionally hard. As a homeschooler I have the ability to limit who my children are influenced by on a daily basis, and without cable TV or satellite TV my children don’t clamor about begging me to watch 6 hours of TV on the cartoon network. However, I would be denying reality if I think that my kids are immune to the temptations the 21st century has to offer. After seeing poll after poll talk about the lack of interest in spiritual things among the young people of America I am scared. I am scared that my children can be lost. I am scared that my children will not remain faithful. Add to this the fact that I am hardly the perfect father I wonder if my children have any hope at all of being faithful.

I have determined that the only way they can remain faithful is if I change. I had to remove the plank from my eye. I had to stop saying, “I will get better.” I actually had to be better. About 7 months ago I made the biggest change in our home that I have made to date. While we have always talked scripture, prayed and sang together, it was often without focus. We would study a passage here and study a passage there. About 7 months ago I determined that in order to raise godly children I had to give them something to shoot for. I laid down the ground work by studying 5 different qualities with my children each week. We talk about faith, hope, love (I Cor. 13:13) and we talk about integrity and purity. If I want my children to have any hope of being God’s servants I must instruct them to be a people of faith, a people of hope, a people of love, a people with integrity and a pure people. Less than a year into this project and I am already seeing changes. Sure, some weeks are better than others. But, my children are starting to learn what God’s expectations of them are. And I am doing my best to provide them with specific illustrations in their daily lives.

Sundays we talk about faith. We usually go over the lesson that I preached that morning. I encourage them to take notes so that they can ask questions about what I preached on. This way they realize that Sundays are not to be used for coloring, playing games, etc. We are there with the saints to worship God and learn his will.

Mondays we talk about hope. It is our “feel good” day. So many people in the world dread Monday, so I thought I would give us a reason to enjoy the day. We spend our study talking about the different joys of heaven and why it is such a wonderful place to look forward to.

Tuesdays we talk about integrity. I began by teaching my children about bridges. A bridge with integrity can be trusted to do what it was designed to do. I showed them what happens to bridges without integrity. And now, every time we walk on or drive over, under, or around a bridge my children talk about different ways that they can show themselves to be trustworthy.

Thursdays are about purity. With all the things that contaminate our souls it is imperative to keep the impurities out. To start I put salt and sugar in the same container and asked my kids to separate them. Of course, they couldn’t. In the month which followed we have talked about what is impure and different techniques we can utilize to keep the impurities out. Of course, repentance, grace, mercy, and forgiveness play a major role in our lessons on purity.

Fridays are love. While growing up Friday night was family game night. It was the time got to bask in the love of our family. I wanted to put my own spin on the love themed night by spending our study talking about love. Right now we are still studying the definition provided by Paul in I Cor. 13. My hope is that they remember how to treat their mom, their siblings, their bible class teachers, and their God.

I was behind getting started. Perhaps you are too. But I warn you, don’t wait to much longer. Your children need your guidance. You can lead them or the world will.

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