Wednesday, July 13, 2016


My husband works very long hours, so when we are together in those few precious moments of the morning, we try and concentrate all our
conversations into what is important. We do very little chit-chat. We always start the day at 5 am. drinking coffee, reading the Bible and praying. Then, we have about ten minutes to talk. It's always something important! (So I think, anyway. Yeah, that picture is exactly how we look at 5 am.) 

This morning, as most mornings in the last couple years, we discuss what has gone wrong with our world, with Christianity, with the USA, with our smaller circle of family and friends. 

There is perhaps a backstory I should drop in here: I began about five years ago researching what happened to our country that we could so easily let it slip out of our hands without most people even realizing it and those who do realize it, feel there is really nothing that can be done. Oh, we have had some attempts, like the Tea Party, but I always feel deep down we are scratching the wrong itch. At its root, our nation doesn't really have a Constitutional or liberty or bigotry or cultural or economic or immigration or terrorist problem. If you trace all those symptoms back to their root, we find there is a heart and soul problem. But what is that problem? I know a lot of people will say sin or a lack of Christ, but how does that manifest itself? How would a historian track sin's path in America? That's what I want to discover. And so, most mornings, we discuss different theories about how and when and why America has fallen. 
Okay, now back to this morning's episode in the daily drama of our morning conversation.

I have noticed that parents, at least in my life experience which goes back to the 1960's, don't act upon what is best for their children. Most parents live life as they want to, pursuing their own goals and fit their children into their life. Empty slots of time and energy? Okay, let the kids fill them. But, their first priority is work and most of America has a two-parent working household.

Whether mothers have to work or whether they want to or should or shouldn't isn't really the discussion here. What has amazed me is that parents seem to be oblivious to their children's temptations and struggles, and if they do realize them, they often do not make a plan to get their kids out of the situation and then follow through or act upon the plan. Parents today seem to be unable to derail the inertia of the trajectory of their own lives in order to help their kids.

I am not speaking of parents sacrificing their time, energy or money to give their kids a swimming pool or going to hockey or football games or a trip to Disney World. I am talking about making sacrifices that have to deal with their spiritual well-being. That thought doesn't even occur to the parents I have been around.

Generation after generation of parents have fallen prey to this illusion that as long as their kid's name is on the church membership and church school roster, they have sacrificed enough. That's it; they feel they have done their job. Then they go on to--me time. They do little, if any real soul-searching and deliberation about getting their kids into heaven. Or at least figuring out a way their kids can surviving the minefields of temptation to sin that Satan has sowed in all the fields they will be skipping across during their childhoods here on earth.

I can hear many of my reader's thoughts, "Hey, that's not me! Where is she getting this?"

My response: My childhood was in Dallas, Texas. But I have lived all over the US. However, everywhere I have lived I see some of this. But mainly my experience comes from my twenty years in the SDA mecca and holy city of Keene, Texas.

Keene is a small Seventh-Day Adventist town south of Dallas. That is where my kids spent their childhood. I was actively involved in both their school and their youth groups. I paid attention. I mean I really paid attention. I couldn't understand why parents there turned a blind eye to their kids seeing inappropriate things on television and movies. I saw a majority of parents either be oblivious to or ignore when their kids were disrespectful, bullies, used bad language and then later these same kids started trying drugs and became sexually active.

When I heard their conversations in Sabbath School (Sunday School for other Christians) and saw their potentially long-term destructive activities in elementary and high school, I would talk to them and when necessary, talk to their parents. The parents often would get highly upset that I would dare to speak of their child in any way but as perfect. I assumed they just didn't want to have to do the hard thing and take care of their children. In fact, when several girls attempted suicide, one girl began cutting herself, and a boy succeeded in his suicide attempt, I ramped up my efforts to let the parents know what I was seeing when they were not around.... okay, do something!

I am horrified to report that almost none of the parents even saw themselves as part of the problem. They blamed everything else, even me for warning them. I look back on those kids I 

loved so well and most of these kids lives have been shattered with unnecessary pain, unwed pregnancies, divorce, drug and alcohol abuse and even jail time. These kids were abandon to make stupid, self-destructive choices while their parents were right there-- just buried deep within their own activities.

My husband made the comment that most parents aren't even aware that they can do something about the kids' situation. They can see the problem but they think they are hopeless to act in any different way than they have been programmed. It would never even occur to them that perhaps they should talk to the child, get the child away from the situation, get another teacher, classroom, set rules and follow through, move to another city to get the kids away from bad influences, or turn off the television/iPhone/computer. I was assuming that these parents were making willful, selfish decisions, being irresponsible, while Arthur was making the case that many of them simply had no categories in their way of thinking to even know how to parent. They can't parent because they never saw anyone parenting.

I think we can also add to this that when parents have made bad choices in their lives, often they assume there is nothing they can do to stop their children from making poor, destructive choices. They act as if they do not have the right to instruct their children because they were so stupid when they were young.

It is frustrating that for those parents who do want to be good parents often get the worst advice from "experts" and grandparents and teachers and pastors. 

My parents were some pretty good sources of wisdom because they had six children and my mom studied diligently reading and trying different things out. She also was a full-time stay-at-home mom which gave her the ability to focus on doing the right thing as a parent. But I have to tell you, as a child, most of the mothers of the people in my classroom didn't have to work but they were pretty awful parents. I watched terrible parenting from the beginning of my life in my friends' families.

We, as Christian parents, really need to wake up and smell the spiritual battle going on for the souls of our kids. Quit ignoring the world around you--especially your children's world. Quit assuming that you have to bear up under hopeless passivity. Make a plan and act.

And if the problem is more than in your particular home, if it is a systemic, cultural problem--get out of that environment. If necessary, move if you see a problem where your children are unable to cope with a temptation. MOVE. Move schools, move cities. No excuses. Your child is more important than...."fill in the blank."

Here's why this is important. Because:

1) While we must teach our children how to deal with certain temptations, remember that Jesus didn't say when temptation overwhelms you in a certain environment--try, try again to fight it off. Jesus said to flee temptation. Especially when your kids are too immature to know how to fight 

temptation. Teach them it's okay to flee--they are not being quitters and giving up. Flee because that is what Christ commanded us to do. (2 Tim. 2: 22) Show them by your own example, by fleeing overwhelming temptation yourself.

2) When your children see you take firm, decisive action against evil, they will know that it can be done. You are not passive and enslaved by circumstances--that a human can fight back even just by getting out of the situation. They will learn by your example of action.

3) They will see that they are worth you taking action--their souls are of inestimable value to you and God. Talk about giving your child self-worth! That is a message that will drive down indelibly to their souls way more than you showing up to their piano recital. Take action!

4) And finally, when your children see you suffer for them--their parents suffering--for them--the extraordinary action of losing a job, moving or acting to save them in a sacrificial way--they will understand the Cross better. One other thing, gird your loins for this, because your child will inevitably hear mockery, condemnation and scorn from other parents who may not be willing to sacrifice their jobs and homes for their children's spiritual or physical safety. They will loudly condemn you as irresponsible. If your children come to you with these criticisms, just calmly tell them it is because you are willing to do anything to follow Christ and see your child in heaven. You will have shown them a little of Christ's Cross and it will make an impact for the rest of their lives.

There is no formula for perfect parenting, nor to ensure a child will want to follow Christ. But what I can see in Christian parenting today is a total lack of planning a strategy of actions for your children's spiritual health. It's as if they really don't want to believe it is possible for their children to go to hell or that they can act to help assure their children will not be faced with a lifetime of digging themselves out of the mess they made with poor moral choices.

There is so much more I could write on this subject, but I have wandered around enough today and this topic was the point of this morning's discussion with my husband. God bless.