Parenting - -
   

It's a lot more difficult

       in today's world!   
      Our world has changed, and my father’s simple recipe for successful parenting is simply not enough.  To restore the family to its intended position as the foundation of a moral society we must reaffirm and teach the basic, Biblical principles God prescribed for effective child rearing. Other prescriptions address the symptoms of our nation's illness; this one addresses the cause.  If parents will let Him guide them, God will surely bless their efforts, even to the third and fourth generations.

   Along with the first of our four sons came an acute case of panic.  The word responsibility had suddenly taken on new meaning, and I wasn’t sure we could handle it.  With zero experience in child rearing, how was I supposed to know how to behave as a father?  The seriousness of my situation hadn't escaped me.  After all, success or failure wasn’t simply a matter of a grade on a report card, nor would it make or break my career.  It was a person that I held in my hands - - a miniature human being whose course through life would forever be influenced by my choices.  A sobering thought.
   So naturally, when my most respected source of wisdom arrived, I took advantage of the opportunity for counselling.  Without burdening him with my fears, I asked my father, “What should I do?  Should I be strict, or permissive?”  His answer surprised me, and the absence of further elaboration surprised me even more.  “Just give him lots of love and you’ll do fine,” he said.  That was it.  Next topic.
   As I look back on that moment with more than forty years of life’s educational experiences to help me understand his wise counsel, I believe he had given me, in those few powerful words, the advice that he might have wished someone had given to him.  He could easily and authoritatively have followed with a list of rules, commandments and principles, but that would have reduced the impact of the message:  Be motivated by love; the rest will take care of itself.  Indeed, we who are Christians see in God the example of that same motivation as he deals with us, his treasured possessions.

    So why should I set out to produce a list of rules, commandments and principles for new parents?  The answer is simple.  This is not the same world that surrounded me, my wife and our infant son in the mid-1950s.  In that day, families typically consisted of an adult male who drove the family car to work while the adult female to whom he was married remained behind to care for their home and children.  Alternative life-styles, single-parent homes, day-care centers, hour-long commutes, multi-vehicle garages and little league transportation hassles had not yet become the norm.  Television was just an infant;  shopping malls and Big Macs had not yet been born.  It was a kinder, gentler, and far less complicated world.  Life was not a juggling act.
   But today, as every young parent knows, life is a juggling act and time has become a very scarce commodity.  We’ve even coined the term “quality time," because we know the value of being together as a family.   And yet, too much of our time lacks quality in that it fails to contribute to the training and bonding that should be inherent in family life.
   In those simpler times, children didn't face the barrage of conflicting messages that confront and confuse them today.  In music and video they're taught that violent behavior, filthy language and unrestrained sex are typical of adult society.  But the words they hear from their parents and church leaders present a completely different version of how life is supposed to be.  You say, “So what’s new?”  And you’re right - - this has been going on for a long time.  What has changed is the quantity - - the relative amounts of the two messages.  In the world of my childhood, a boy might furtively sneak a peek at a dirty magazine when he got a chance, but today, television, movies, recorded music and now the internet engulf him with morally distractive images at every turn.
   Finally, and surely most important among the factors which have changed in our culture, is how we view authority.  We have become so charmed by the principle of equality that obey and submit have been eliminated from our vocabulary.  Individual rights are worshipped.  Even children are encouraged to make their own choices, with neither rules nor experience to guide them.  We are conscious of the impact this new perspective has had on employment, education and marriage, but we should also recognize it as the underlying cause of the antisocial behavior we see all around us and which we view as the destroyer of our culture.
   Indeed the world has changed, and my father’s simple recipe for successful parenting is simply not enough.  To restore the family to its intended position as the foundation of a moral society we must reaffirm and teach the basic, Biblical principles God prescribed for effective child rearing. Other prescriptions address the symptoms; this one addresses the cause.  If parents will let Him guide them, God will surely bless their efforts, even to third and fourth generations.
Article 1: The Challenge
Top
Contents Page
Home
Parenting 1.01 Bible-based Basics for New Parents by Gordon Rampy