Under any circumstance, I believe there is, perhaps, no more challenging job than raising children. Are there jobs that are more physically demanding or dangerous? Probably. But when you combine the mental, physical, financial, and emotional demands of the task with the awesome responsibility of shaping the life and direction of another human being and the fact that you can not walk away from it when you get tired, it’s right at the top of the list.
Here’s an image I use to describe the challenge of raising children today. We are on an island in the midst of the ocean of culture whose waves relentlessly beat against our shores attempting to erode away everything we have worked to build. In addition to the eating away at our shores, it also deposits on our beaches much of the garbage the ocean contains.
Here are some of the challenges:
• Raising moral children in an immoral culture
• Raising responsible children in an irresponsible culture
• Raising respectful children in a disrespectful culture
• Raising modest children in a shameless culture
• Raising pure children in an impure culture
The list could go on and on and I’m sure there are items you could add to it.
What can be wearying to a parent is the never-ending battle against the forces external to your family – such as music, peers, media – that so powerfully and persistently seek to influence your children with messages that run counter to your own teaching and values.
We must be reminded that we have been equipped to withstand the tsunami. We have been delivered, redeemed, and empowered to overcome and not be swept away by the cultural tide that brings to our doorsteps death, drugs, alcoholism, promiscuity, depression, abuse, racism, etc.
Because Christ, the overcomer, lives in us, His life gives us the power to overcome as well. “This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” ( I John 5:3-5.
Here are some practices you can put in place in my home to slow down the impact culture has on your children and family:
• Read the Bible and pray together
• Regularly eat meals together
• Limit “screen time” – TV, computer, music players, mobile phones, video games
• Talk – as a family and one on one
• Give household responsibilities with accountability
• Communicate our values and expectations
• View cultural incursions as teachable moments rather than parental failures
• Focus on building character more than simply shaping behavior
What about you? What would you add to the list of challenges or practices?