Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Taking Back The Culture – Part 1

I took my oldest daughter across town to buy a used iPod yesterday. The iPod had belonged to a 13-year-old girl, who had thought she lost it, bought another, and then found the original one. As we discussed the sale with the girl and her mother, the mother leaned over to us and said, “You’ll probably want to wipe the songs off of that before you use it, as I’m sure there is a lot of inappropriate music loaded onto it.” I started to smile, but then thought better of it.

What struck me about her statement is not so much that the mother did not have control over her daughter, but more importantly, she didn’t seem to think she should exercise that control. It seemed strange to us, since her daughter was right there listening to the conversation, that she could tell us that the inappropriate content should be erased, but she couldn’t turn and tell her own daughter that same thing.

That seems wrong to me. I was raised in such a way that I did not have free reign over what I did, what I viewed, or how I behaved. Similarly, I control what my own children are exposed to – movies, music, television shows (what little we watch), and books. My kids know, without having to wonder, that everything they do is subject to the approval of me and my wife. Curiously, it has rarely caused any arguments in our family. In many areas, my kids are even more conservative that I am (see “We Moo At Bad Words” for a funny application that our family shares). They have even been known to politely refuse to watch an inappropriate movie at a friend’s sleepover – based on principle, not because they fear that they will get into trouble.

Our family was privileged to attend two different high school graduations this past weekend. My wife and son traveled to Indianapolis for the homeschool graduation of our lovely niece, Abby Richardson. And the rest of us were here in Fort Collins attending the homeschool graduation of our friend, Ally Chase. Both of these girls are beautiful examples of godly teenagers and they have a bright future. And what they both have in common is that their parents taught them well – by first teaching them to love the Lord. This love is evident in their lives to everyone who knows them. Their parents were not afraid to pass on this devotion, and they are being rewarded for it. Both of these girls have the desire to change the world for Christ.

Here are some truths I’m learning as I watch the world around me, and work to raise my own children in the same way as the Richardsons and Chases:

1) Children do not have the right to listen to or watch whatever they want,

2) Our culture is constantly moving farther from God’s principles,

3) Parents are the ones who should direct their children’s cultural involvement until such an age where the child can make good decisions – left to their own judgment at too early an age, the impression of the world’s culture may leave a permanent mark.

This has truly shaped up to be a spiritual battle – for the very souls of our children. We should never forget that Satan is using the constantly-shifting culture to facilitate an increasing departure from God. As the culture erodes, we are tempted to erode with it. If we erode God’s principles, even at a slower pace than the culture, we are still moving away from God. He does not change (Hebrews 6:17), even though the world around us does. We have to pick a path – the unchanging one of God, or the ever-changing one of the world - down which to steer our children.

And that requires parents to stay anchored to the unchanging principles of God.
Jump to Part 2.

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