by Bill Hall
All along we hear questions raised as to what has gone wrong with today’s youth. Recently, a brother expressed his concern along this line and then asked, “What advice would you give young parents to help them avoid mistakes that we have made in our generation?”
The first thing we would say is: All is not bad with today’s youth. We see young people in the church voluntarily attending special classes conducted for their benefit and studying diligently in preparation for these classes. We see them singing in the worship periods, listening to sermons, following in their Bible, obeying the gospel as they reach accountability, and living conscientiously before God.
But all is not good. We are aware of drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, drinking, gambling, and crimes of all sorts among the youth of our day. We are appalled at the lack of self-control exhibited by athletes in both college and pro ranks. What has gone wrong?
A recent newspaper article helps to explain what has gone wrong. The opening paragraph says: “A high school football player who was arrested and charged with hitting a 15-year-old in the face with a crowbar has his coach concerned and his mother worried about his football future.”
Worried about what? When parents are more concerned for their children’s football future than they are for their character; when they are more concerned for their children’s financial well-being than for their eternal well-being; or when they are just not concerned, period, we can expect problems among our youth. Priorities are all wrong. Too many parents, in order to feed their own egos, push their children into positions that will bring honor and popularity, but give little thought to what will build character, integrity, and responsibility within them.
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4, ESV).
What advice would we give to young parents? Bring your children to every service of the church; encourage them to form close friendships with other children who attend regularly; do not try to shield them from hurts and disappointments, but allow them to work through their disappointments; hold them responsible for the consequences of wrong-doings; make sure that your greatest desire for them is that they go to heaven and that they are aware that this is your greatest desire; pray with them and teach them how to pray; and love them, love them, and love them some more.