In this blog I will compare what our culture says about children, to what God says about them? The cultural labels our children wear are Gen Y, or Gen Z. However, God call our children His sons and daughters, the future leaders of His church.
|The cultural view of children:||The Biblical view of children:|
|Children are good.||Children are made in the image of God (good) and they have a sin nature (Gen 1:27, Rom 3:23).|
|Children must be wanted before they are valued. Conception is simply a by-product of sexual intercourse.||Children are a gift from God (Psalms 127:3).|
|Family should be a democracy (majority rules).||Children should be given choices and learn discernment but parents are the final authority Exodus 20:12, Eph 6:1-3, Proverbs 2:1-12).|
|Behavior is highest good.||Character is highest good (Rom 5:3-5, 13:8-9).|
|A child’s Identity and value is often based upon his/her accomplishments such as academics, arts, or athletics.||A child’s Identity and value is determined by God as their father and creator (John 3:16, 15:11-17).|
|The home is one of many environments that are central in a child’s life including school, athletics or social networks are viewed as having equal importance.||Home is the center of family life 1Timothy 5:4, Proverbs 3:33b, Deut 6:6-8).|
(Excerpt from: Parenting Your Children into Adulthood by Ron Hitchcock)
Parents and churches are tasked with a great responsibility of teaching our children that he or she is a child of God. I was inspired to write this blog while reading 1 John 3 & 4. These chapters can be adopted to create parenting plans that are very useful in raising children as future leaders in God’s church.
- You are a child of God – Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!Therefore the world does not know us,because it did not know Him (1 John 3:1 NKJV).
In my opinion, cultural values have challenged traditional and biblical views of parental authority over the last twenty years. I believe that parental authority has been challenged primarily over the issue of ownership/responsibility of children. At one time, parents were the final authority in the lives of their children. But now, the educational system and state governments have positioned themselves as advocates of child welfare. While I am not against governmental assistance or educational benefits for children I am concerned that parental authority has been altered due to governmental advocacy on behalf of children. Perhaps the most damaging hit on parental authority comes from the television and movie industries. The media has presented parents as out-of-touch, self-centered adults who prioritize careers and personal happiness over their parenting responsibilities.
The question for all parents but especially to Christian parents is, “Who does my child belong to? In my opinion children and parents have become the unwary victims of cultural stigmas that pull children and parents into cultural values that cause children to question the authority of their parents as well parents wondering about the extent of their parental authority.
Corporations and its marketing strategies create a social consciousness or worldview that has removed parents from the picture of family life. I was surprised by the Disney Corporation which produces sitcoms around teens and their peers with a surprising absence of parents. Marketing strategies aimed at teenagers, supplant parental authority in order to place children in a position be manipulated by fashion, music, and media industries. These industries have contributed greatly to the loss of respect toward parental authority. The failures or quirkiness of parents are common themes of sitcoms, music, and movies. I have often said, “Bad relationships and family life makes for good television.”
The difference between the Millennials and Boomer generations is that parental authority was not challenged so overtly. The failures of parents were not dramatized to the Boomer or early Gen X generations to the degree that happens in today’s media. For example, my parents did marriage poorly, however they tried very hard to stay married. They attempted marriage twice to each other, two marriage and two divorces. The pattern of divorce continued for both of my parents three to four times each. However, I did not think my parents were failures at relationships or in life. I respected my parents even when family life was very chaotic. I did not think of my parents as failures when it was time to go to college and financial help was unavailable from them.
In today’s culture, children say things like, I hate you, or you’re stupid, or you don’t make enough money for our family, all too frequently. The level of respect for parents will continue to decline as parents are presented in the media as insignificant players or mere shadows in the ideal lives that depict teenage life through the media. As in all generations, Christian parents are responsible to follow biblical principles to establish their homes on the eternal truths of God word. Psalms 119:97-100, Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; For they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, Because I keep Your precepts (NKJV). These Scriptures allow family life to prosper no matter how family life is presented to our children through various forms of media.
I am not an advocating that parents hide his or her failures from their children in order to create a false perception of parental authority. Parents make poor choices, struggle to pay bills, or balance home and work responsibilities to name just a few. However, it is very important to teach children that a higher power than your parents directs your life, meaning God. Parents have difficult assignments to introduce their children to God as their father. Children desperately need to recognize God’s love and authority over their lives in order to keep fashion, music, and media industries or cultural values its proper places.
Parents want to teach their children that God can do what they are unable to do for them. Children need to be directed toward God as someone who is able to help them pursue their dreams and goals because His resources are unlimited. Many parents cannot pay for their child’s college education but God can make the difference in their lives. Parents who establish their family upon an uncommon faith has unlimited potential.