I have been out-of-town on vacation this week, thus the reason for no new posts. However, I have asked Chad Bryant, our Associate Pastor of Youth and Outreach at Airline, to fill in for me. I told him he could choose any topic he wanted for the blog, however, I was still more than a little surprised when he, a 36-year-old bachelor, informed me he had written on parenting. So here it is…a single guy’s take on parenting.
Quite often I find myself reading news articles from different news outlets. I especially take interest in articles to which the subject matter includes—religious/spiritual matters, teenagers, churches, parenting, politics, etc. Well, last month I stumbled upon a doozy of an article that pretty much included all aforementioned subject matter! I first noticed the article on the ajc.com website, but if you wish to read a more detailed article of what happened you can click here, (www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/17/georgia-teen-who-shot-parents-wanted-to-read-bible-not-do-chores/).
Do you see why I could not resist clicking and reading? I am a pastor whose focus is working with young people, teens. Obviously, when I see the words—teen, shot, parents, Bible, chores—my first thoughts are “Uh oh! What am I about the read here?!?” because that headline just does not sound good at all. There are apparently more issues going on with this kid than I could know about, but my goodness maybe somebody needs to help him look up Ephesians 6: 1-4! There seems to be an epidemic of outrageous, disrespectful, and ungodly behavior towards parents from their teens these days. Did we, who are now adults, really behave like this when we were young? What possesses a person to get so enraged by their parents’ request for them to do a few chores that they would take a 9mm pistol and attempt to kill them all because that person wanted to find a Bible verses for a friend who wanted to get saved? Something seems off, no doubt, but I hate that this is now possibly being looked at as another case of those gun toting, wacko Christians trying to take over the world with their crazy beliefs.
What are we teaching our kids today? I do not have kids yet so I am seriously asking this question with hopes for an answer. I have some ideas. I often look at how other parents are parenting their children and say to myself, “I would never do that!” but how naive of me to say such things. The facts are, and I have talked to many parents (my parents included), who have flat out said their parenting style is on a wing and a prayer. It seems parents are ill equipped for parenting in today’s world. So, am I placing blame for this 15 year old boy’s heinous reaction on him, or are his parents to blame for what took place? I believe the answer is a little of both. I would never excuse the boy’s sinful behavior. He was willfully sinning against his parents, and his God. I do not place blame on video games or friend influences in such matters. The real blame is that our hearts are sinful. We are fallen, sick, depraved people in need of a Savior, Jesus Christ. But what about his parents? Here is where it gets tricky because I do not have first hand information for how they have raised this child of theirs. I do not know where they are spiritually. I read from the article that the boy lived with his dad and step-mom, and that he has had troubling anger issues in the past. I do not read how they have parented. My guess is they, like many others, are on a wing and a prayer doing the best they know how.
Can I just say that maybe part of the problem with the ungodly attitudes displayed by our children are a by product of what they see and learn at home? From parents. Parents are you too busy being friends with your child, rather than being a parent? Are you being a good husband and wife? Better yet are you being a Godly example to your child. If you read one chapter ahead in Ephesians 5, Paul is instructing wives and husbands, but first (and I really like this) he says, “Therefore be imitators of God…and walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.” He then proceeds to tell wives to “submit to their husbands as to the Lord.” This one sentence stirs up a lot of different emotions in different people, but to keep it simple, if you, man or woman, have truly submitted your life to the Lord, and are walking according to His Word, you know that this is a relationship that is like no other. I would never give up that relationship with my God, and that is the type of incredible, nurturing, loving, awesome relationship God is calling you to have with your husband! How is that a bad thing? Guys, husbands, Paul writes several more verses of instruction to us because he knows how we think, and he knows we need that extra instruction. He says, “Love your wife, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her.” I do not know about you, but I think that is powerfully romantic.
There is a lot more that could be said on these verses, but let me get back to my point. I saw, not too long ago, a picture of a man and woman, a husband and wife, kissing passionately in their kitchen with a line that said, “Be good parents! Gross out your kids!” It made me laugh, but it also reminded me that we need to show our kids that mommy and daddy still love and cherish each other like Ephesians 5 calls them to do. It comforts them. It brings security to them. It teaches them respect and how to act in the world. It gives them a foundation and clear understanding of how God so loves his people that he sent his only son Jesus to die for them. I believe that most parents have no Biblical concept of parenting, and even when they do they are probably unwilling, or too inconsistent with implementing it in their homes. I believe it is clear that the Bible teaches us that to be Godly parents we must first be Godly husbands and wives. Do not place your marriage relationship on the back burners for the next twenty some odd years when your children are born only to try and rekindle something after they are out of the house. Work continuously on building a Godly marriage in front of your children and then see what type of effect it will have on them. I believe Proverbs 22:6 is correct when it says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Feel free to leave feedback below. Chad will try to interact with comments as much as possible.