Parenting Despite "My Generation"
- 2002 9 Sep
My three oldest daughters took me to a Phil Joel concert for my birthday. Funny thing, though, was that I had already met him the day before at Focus on the Family. In fact, Phil's publicist gave me free tickets for my family, so my kids didn't have to spend any money on me. My kids got to go backstage and meet Phil's family.
Whose birthday was it again?
I had the opportunity to talk with Phil about his song "My Generation." I found it very interesting, for I had just interviewed two other pop stars on intergenerational issues. Phil was adopted and raised in Australia, his understanding of youth, generation gaps and cultural prejudices are deep, and they highlight his lyrics.
As parents, we must keep in mind that our children are at risk. The modern culture is constantly slamming kids with sales pitches to walk the latest indulgence. Movie and music, peers and popularity, delinquency and drugs, premarital sex and homosexuality ― the list of immoral pressures is long, and kids today find it easier to buckle under the pressure than to stand strong and do the right thing.
Phil's lyrics reflect the frustration he feels when dealing with prodigal mentalities. "Watch you walking away / It's driving me crazy / It's my generation." Sometimes dealing with our children is tough. We try so hard to teach the truth and love of Christ in our child rearing, but sometimes countering the culture is enough to drive a parent crazy.
I remember an applied psychology course I took years ago at a state university. The issue of condom distribution came up, and the interest of one particular student was raised. "I think we should introduce children to condom use as early as possible," she reasoned. "Perhaps even as young as kindergarten."
Huh? My hand shot up. "Kindergartners should be thinking about playing in the sandbox at recess," I countered. "Concerning children with sexual fortification is a form of sexual abuse."
The debate jolted back and forth, with more people agreeing with the pro-condom point of view. The professor thought he brought the debate to a close by saying, "Clearly, there are differing opinions on this topic."
Opinions? I guess this was the end of the argument. What could I say? If the innocence of kindergartners was on the line by simple conflicting "opinion," what was the point of arguing? If handing condoms to 5-year-olds was as innocuous an issue as which MatchBox car to give a boy, no wonder my disagreement was met with hostility.
Hold fast to the truth, like the apostle Paul did all the way to his last recorded days in Rome. Closing the Book of Acts, Paul made his final statement by quoting Isaiah 6:9-10:
" 'Go to this people and say, "You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving." For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them."
Then, as if brushing the dust from his feet, Paul declared the mission for Christendom to come: "God's salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!"
Feeling frustrated when trying to "speak the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15)? Disappointed in your child who is finding every reason in the world not to walk a moral walk? Upset because a family member is backsliding into a lifestyle that is incredibly unreasonable but blatantly worldly?
Join the club: This generation is falling for the culture that brandishes the Cross and makes a mockery of the Faith. While the postmodern world is hostile toward absolute truth, we are still expected to remain composed and rational.
How do we keep cool? By remembering ― and having faith ― that the ultimate parent is our God, the Father, at the helm of our child rearing. Our responsibility is keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, clinging to the Word, making the best and fairest decisions with our children, and taking the authority God has bestowed on us as parents.
Bottom line: we need to focus on the family.