As a new school year descends upon us, with all the obligatory "back-to-school" sales and hype, we have to ask ourselves, "What are my kids going to learn this year besides the three 'r's'—reading, writing, and arithmetic?" What I mean is, many of us have seen our kids pick up things at school that we don't particularly like. Maybe it is a disrespectful attitude, the shocking new music lyrics of Katy Perry, a pastor's daughter, in her new hit "I kissed a girl," or even a pornographic ad that pops up while our children are doing their homework. Get ready, because these things will happen.
We, as parents have to be prepared for them. We have to build a Godly culture in our homes our kids are drawn to that is stronger than the culture bombarding them. How can we build a Godly culture in our homes that goes "back to school" with our kids, rather than them bringing an unwanted culture back home?
Understanding the Culture
Our kids are falling into the trap of culture. You can't fall into a trap without being deceived, and today's culture is a Zen master of deception. It offers all the shine but shows none of the grime. Deception doesn't happen quickly, and this culture has a lot of time to repeat its message over and over again. The result is that our kids start transferring the ownership of their hearts from us to something else.
One culture mogul is quoted as saying, "We don't advertise to this generation; we own this generation." In many ways, it's really true. What they say goes. What they put on their TV network sells. We can tell our kids, "As long as you live in my house, you're not going to watch this or wear that." Our authority has already been handed over to the culture that is stealing their time and affection though.
There Is Hope
Somewhere in the process, our kids become unresponsive to us. They tune out what we have to say and especially don't want to talk to us about things. It seems like they don't want our influence, which is part of the deception. If they do listen, they do it begrudgingly and with an insincere spirit instead of embracing the values we're trying to instill.
This situation does not form suddenly. While it seems like a surprise to us, many of our children have gradually transferred the ownership of their hearts from you, their parents, to their friends or the culture. Kids grow into a frame of mind where they care more about pleasing their friends than they care about pleasing you. The inclination to this thought pattern begins in very small ways, but each minute tendency you notice is a sign of their hearts being lured away from you.
It seems hopeless. Yet, there is something we can do! We, as their parents, need to intervene! We've got to get their hearts back. This will not happen by commanding them, but by wooing them. As parents, it's our job to continue to woo the hearts of our kids so they want to listen to us. If we allow the culture or their friends to overpower them, it becomes incredibly hard to regain the respect they once had for us.
The Recipe for Their Hearts Is TIME
This may not be easy to hear. The saying "quality time is better than quantity" is wrong. Parenting means sacrifice. We need to do things with our kids to build bonds and memories together through shared experiences. This is what will begin to draw their hearts toward us.
After you have spent "quantity" time with your son or daughter, they will begin to see that you care and that you desire to listen to them. Eventually they're going to share their heart with you. Depending on how hardened the hearts of your kids are or how much they have been manipulated by the culture and their friends, it might take a significant investment of time to win their hearts back. But it's not impossible. Start this pattern of "quantity" time while they're young!
Let's Become Parents Who Re-Create the Culture in Our Homes! This is our job as parents: to woo their hearts, to influence their hearts and then to keep their hearts. Be encouraged. You can do it!
This article was adapted from Ron's newest book, Re-Create: Building a Culture in Our Homes That Is Stronger Than the Culture Deceiving Our Kids. Released August 1 nationwide, you can look for it at your nearest bookstore, or visit www.battlecry.com for more information.