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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
for New Parents by Gordon Rampy