There is something wrong with parenting today. Maybe it’s not just parenting, but the barrage of change that we’ve had to confront as we parent. The changes in living our lives in terms of technology has had a profound impact on how our children are developing. And I’m pretty sure it’s not for the better! Talk to teachers and other people who have worked for children for more than ten years and they will tell you school-age children today are not the same as they were even 10-20 years ago. Children are categorically “less able” than they were in the 1980s.
I didn’t discover this. I’ve read others’ observations and then looked around anecdotally. I’m afraid they are on to something! But just google John Rosemond or Julie Lythcott-Haims if you want to read more authoritative sources on the topic. But here’s their conclusion: the evidence that current parenting (among other cultural changes) is having a significant detrimental effect on young people has been established.
The reason no one is talking about it is because the ultimate consequences of this have not been seen and may not be seen for another 10 years. Perhaps it’s because the alternative narrative is an easier pill to swallow: do as much as you can for your children, give them every advantage, pave the road for them, and they will succeed.
I don’t know how this will play out, but I am convinced we are raising a generation of children who will become adults poorly equipped to face life’s challenges.
Because there are certain LIES that the world has told parents they must believe. Here’s 20 I could think of thanks to Wendy Calise of Countryside Montessori School.
- Parenting is a constant joy.
- Good parents provide constant fun.
- Good parents devote every moment of their free time to their children.
- Good parents send their children to lots of classes that develop skills that will look great on their resumes.
- Good parents prevent failure.
- Good parents frequently intervene on behalf of their children.
- Good parents do not allow suffering.
- Good parents do not abandon children to do things on their own.
- Good parents do not force their children to entertain themselves.
- Good parents never allow their children to get hurt.
- Good parents do not expect their children to make contributions to the household.
- Good parents are partners with their children, not figures of authority.
- Good parents are always liked by their children.
- Telling children how great they are will make them feel great and actually be great.
- The more you do for your children, the better prepared for their future they will be.
- If children put up a big fuss, you must be doing something wrong and should change your parenting choices.
- Parents don’t have to be the ADULTS in the room.
- Consequences are harsh and old-fashioned.
- Engagement in screen time has no negative consequences.
- If you do it right, your teenagers will be your friends and tell you everything.
These lies are a slow bloodletting of our children’s efficacy, of their chance to be intelligent, empathetic, creative, competent, resilient, determined adults, everything we want for them when we hold them as infants.
I have more to say but prefer to be this a conversation. Does this resonate with you? Why? What other lies would you add that parents are buying into?
What does that mean? If we are truly saved by grace through faith, if our lives have been transformed by God, if we are a “found person,” then we should be “finding people.” In other words, as true Christ followers, sharing our faith shouldn’t be burdensome, fearful, and irregular. Yet, so many Christians find sharing their faith a burden, are afraid of rejection, and do it irregularly at most. That makes me wonder how many Christians are really following Christ? How many people in our pews really HAVE NOT BEEN CHANGED BY GOD.
If you haven’t been changed, then you haven’t met Christ!
Jesus did not die to get us out of Hell and into Heaven. He left Heaven to die and to get into US so that we could lead changed lives that would bring more people into relationship with God.
Too many Christ followers see Jesus as pleasantly friendly rather than unapproachably holy, as less than fully divine. Others see him as a Superman from Krypton who lived above the struggles and heartaches and frustrations of real people, as less than fully human.
I like the way Dorothy Sayers put it:
The people who hanged Christ never, to do them justice, accused him of being a bore–on the contrary, they thought him too dynamic to be safe. It has been left for later generations to muffle up the shattering personality and surround him with an atmosphere of tedium. We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certified him “meek and mild” and recommended him as a fitting pet for pale curates and pious old ladies.
I would love to pastor a large, mega-church. I wouldn’t want to do it to to feed my ego (which it probably would) but because I love leadership and leadership is all about influence. Theoretically, the more people attending the church I pastor, the larger my influence…theoretically. You have to understand that my prayer every Sunday morning before the service is that God would transform everyone in attendance to become a little more like Jesus, that we would understand fully how much God loves us and how our salvation is dependent on His grace, not our works. Having said that, there are weeks where I leave the property wondering, “Did they get that? If so, then shouldn’t we be seeing more changed lives!”
At the same time, I’m sure I’m not always obedient to Christ in what the Spirit is telling me I should communicate on a Sunday morning. Maybe I’m limiting the work of the Spirit! Or maybe people come in with closed hearts and minds to God’s voice. Either way, one realization I’ve come to grips with is that I would rather see REPENTANCE than ATTENDANCE. God would not be pleased with me if I gave 1,000 people a good, winsome talk that left no one convicted or with a better understanding of who they are in Christ.
Jesus excoriated the Pharisees through this cynical proverb:
You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
Both of them were unclean for a good Jew to eat and neither of them would anyone want to eat anyway. But if you had to choose one, you ought to eliminate the camel…it’s easier to choke on. This is humorous enough in English but in Aramaic the play on words “camel” (gamla) and “gnat” (galma) makes it even more delightful.
Today’s Church ought to heed this proverb. The little things in the eyes of God are often the most visible to the world (dress, church attendance, etc.) while the weightier matters often practiced in private (justice, mercy, and faithfulness). If we’re not careful we’ll wind up playing for the wrong audience and neglecting God’s priorities.