I just got home from running in the rain and listening to rap music. I am feeling both empowered and opinionated. As I ran, the music started talking about all the trappings that temptation throws at us. I began to think about parenting and protecting our children from the nets that ensnare their hearts.
As a Christian parent, our aim is NOT to make our kids the most popular, the best athlete, or the most talented piano player in the state. Should they do these things for the glory of God? Yes. Should these things require you to sacrifice your family and your God? No. Never.
When I worked with youth, I would get parents calling me in tears because their kids had found some guy on the internet and they were exchanging inappropriate emails. Or a parent who couldn't get their kids to make eye contact at the dinner table because their eyes were locked to their cell phone. I would look at these parents in the eye and say, "Then take the computer out of their room. They can write reports for school in the kitchen on the computer. Take the tv out of their room. If you want a relationship with your kids, you've got to take away other distractions. Kids don't need a tv in their room. Take their cell phone away after 5 p.m. If their friends want to talk about physics on the phone, then they can do it in the living room with their physics book in front of them and you in the kitchen doing dishes so you can hear the conversation."
And you know what? I would get parents arguing with me that their children need privacy, their own lives, to be able to make grown up decisions. There will be plenty of time for them to do that after they leave your house and start paying their own bills.
Here's another thing: chances are, your kid isn't going to be the next Nolan Ryan. Sports have become the American God. Parents get frustrated when, at 15, their kids want nothing to do with God or the church. Well here's the deal, the parents have taught the kid that church is second priority to baseball games, soccer tournaments and cheerleading competitions. You teach your kids how to prioritize by looking at where we as parents decide to spend our time as a family. You've only got 18 years to set these types of life habits for your kids.
Parents, we need to GROW SOME KAHUNAS and take the wheel from our children in their upbringing. They will be steering the ship after they leave the house. For now, they don't need their doors closed, they don't need video games in their room, they don't need to go to "the party of the year." They need to be loved, guided, taught, steered and disciplined.
Some of our parenting heros once wisely told us,"Parent now, be friends later." Don't fall for what the world tells you is a priority for you kids. Look to the Bible and figure out what God deems most valuable. Some of those things being, loving justice, showing mercy, serving orphans, and praying continually. Those things are radically different than what the world is shouting at us as parents. But I will submit to you that these are the things that will last both here on earth and in the scope of eternity.