by Julie Hiramine
On a recent field trip to Williamsburg, Virginia, I noticed the cobblestone streets. It must have been a painstaking process to lay those stones—one by one—on those streets. In much the same way, we parents are paving the way for our children to grow from preschool into adolescence. As with the cobblestone streets, there are many stones to be placed in our children’s lives, and parents are not the only influences looking to lay stones. Our culture is poised to set as many stones as possible.
Now is the time—when our children are young—to solidify our connections with them before the world and its philosophy start making a bigger impact than we do.
While teaching our children in the midst of our culture, a significant objective we parents have is to invest time with these precious little (or not so little) ones. We can help them learn to interpret the culture and discern the messages they are bombarded with every day—messages about sex, relationships, wealth, media choices, love, etc. How do they learn to focus on God’s design when so many competitive voices make everything sound unclear?
The answer is to regularly connect with our children about all these issues in our culture. We do this by talking with them, setting boundaries, and providing positive input.
God has designated each of us parents as experts for our own children. Although we might be more comfortable letting someone else talk with them about sexuality and other topics relating to relationships, God assigned us this job. We need to begin this instruction while our children are young and not fear that we will rob their innocence if we give them information. Ignorance does not equal innocence. If we tackle the subject in bite-sized, age-appropriate pieces, we will actually do more to protect our children’s innocence. As Jesus said in John 8:32 (NIV), “…you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
Recently The National Study on Youth and Religion conducted an in-depth study, which included interviews with parents and teenagers across the country. The study concluded that, “Adults inescapably exercise immense influence in the lives of teens positive and negative, passive and active. The question is not whether adults exert influence but what kinds of influence they exert.”
This finding confirms the key role of parents in teens’ lives and, I believe, also in the lives of young children.
Fathers play an especially important role. Dads, each day is like a watch ticking time away. Find activities you enjoy doing with your children on a predictable basis. My husband, for example, appreciates a clean car. He has come to view going to the car wash not as a chore in his already busy schedule, but as time to spend with one of his daughters. Don’t let all the demands you face cause you to let time with your treasured little ones slip away.
The second way we can have an influence amid all the resounding voices of our culture is to set boundaries. Our children need to hear the word no very clearly during their growing years. Children who never hear the word no find it virtually impossible to say it themselves. And there are certainly going to be situations in our culture that call for a firm no.
Finally, we must give positive input into our children’s lives. Take notice and commend their growth in the fruit of the Spirit and their ability to exercise discernment. Carefully evaluate areas where growth has taken place and tell them that you see progress! But there must be a balance between setting clear boundaries and giving positive input. We tend to lean one way or the other too heavily, depending on the child. Remember that an emphasis on rules without developing relationship can lead a child to rebellion while focusing on relationship without teaching respect for rules only confuses a child.
Our job as positive influences is critical because the goal of the media is to recruit children and mold them into mindless soldiers, numbly obedient to the culture. Our goal, however, is to train thinking, resolute soldiers in the army of Christ who will make an impact for the Kingdom of God. Let us begin in our homes today!
Copyright 2009. Used with permission of the author.
This article taken from Julie’s message “Setting a Paradigm for Purity.” Julie Hiramine is the Founder and Executive Director of Generations of Virtue. She is currently homeschooling her five daughters and lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Conesus, New York. Please visit the ministry’s website at www.generationsofvirtue.org for resources that equip you and your children in the battle against the negative elements of our culture.
Julie will be speaking at the following AHEAD conventions.
|April 13-14||MACHE - Minnesota||St. Paul, MN|
|April 20-21||CHEA - California||Santa Clara, CA|
|May 1-2||OCHEC - Oklahoma||Tulsa, OK|
|May 4-5||OCHEC - Oklahoma||Oklahoma City, OK|
|July 20-21||AFHE - Arizona||Phoenix, AZ|