And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. - Joel 2:28
We hear Joel 2:28 in church and think about how revival needs to come to the younger generation. But, instead of concentrating on that part of Joel 2:28, I want to draw your attention to the “old men will dream dreams” phrase.
I used to overlook that part of the verse most of the time, because I was so excited about the young people part. I thought, “I’m not going to be old for a long time yet, so I’m not going to talk or think much about the old men dreaming dreams.” But it is the older people in our society who dream dreams for the younger generation; and so it must be the parents who dream dreams for their children.
They Didn’t Ask for This Garbage
Looking at the culture barrage hammering our teens, whether it’s the things being sold to them, what is being written to them – movies and music – or the point-and-click pornography that’s available to them, there is one thing we can all agree on: Our children are not the ones who invented these things.
Just about every one of these social influences, whether it’s media entertainment, technological inventions or opportunities on the Web that is destroying kids, have been dreamed up by the older generation. In many ways, these older dreamers prey on young people because they have plenty of money to spend. They appeal to young people’s most corrupt desires to get them to empty their pockets. But the fact is, the kids didn’t ask for this garbage; they were sold this garbage by people trying to take advantage of them to make a lot of money without any thought to moral consequences. Of course they will tell us, “If people didn’t buy it, we wouldn’t make it” as if it’s a moral obligation to sell people things that will destroy them just because they will buy them.
As a result, kids think, “I want my MTV.” Is it really “their MTV” or is it somebody else’s MTV that they are told to find their identity in? Young people say, “I want those pants. I want that music. I want that new CD.” Somebody else has made them feel important by making it seem like the company is doing something “just for them.” As a result, teens absorb and digest lyrics, values and a lifestyle that totally and completely destroys them.
I’d like to ask the question: Are we not dreamers? Cannot we, the people who love God, dream a dream for the young people in our churches? Can we not dream a dream for the young people in our communities? Is it only the secular culture that has a dream for our children?
You can protect your kids from the disaster of being shaped by a confused generation of adults selling media, but it will take deliberation. It will take sweat. It will require emotional and mental engagement with your kids, starting when they are at a very young age.
Dream for Your Kids
Dream a dream for your kids. Do you want them to be entertainment oriented or service-to-others oriented? Ask for an entertainment-oriented person, and you’ll get someone who is constantly appeasing the flesh and desiring the next thing to engage and tantalize them. Where are the servant-oriented people––those men and women who lay down their lives as a sacrifice for others? It is our choice as parents to determine what kind of young people we want and what it will take to produce them. As you dream for your kids teach them how to think critically and pursue growth in their relationship with the Lord. Dreaming for them does not mean dictating their lives and living vicariously through your son or daughter. Let them know you are behind them 100% when they make godly decisions. If you dream a dream and roll up your sleeves and go for it, I’m confident that you will raise the kind of child you will be proud of for many years. If you sacrifice now, you’ll reap a blessing for the rest of your life; and the world will never be the same.
Not only must we be the dreamers, but we must also teach our kids to be the dreamers for their own generation. Note this passage of Scripture: “Your young men will see visions” (Joel 2:28). Our young people need to have a vision of how God could use them to change their generation and make a difference in the world. Yet, every time we allow our kids to watch, see, feel, touch and embrace this culture, they become a part of a dream belonging to someone else. The fact is, we must either be the dreamers or we will be a part of somebody else’s dream.
Merely giving birth does not make you a parent. Sacrificing while your children are small, laying down your “deserved” freedoms and deeply thinking about how you’re shaping your children will ensure their lifelong freedom from the chains of slavery to our culture. It’s work, and it’s called loving your children. It’s called being a parent.
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. It will be released August 1 nationwide, but can be preordered throughout the month of July.