We are in the process of raising the next generation. For those of us who came from traditional homes with curfews and regular family dinners, though, we cannot necessarily look to the past for help in order to “do it right”. After all, our kids, our teens, are a part of the digital generation. For us to raise our “post-Atari” children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, we need to arm ourselves with the Bible and some modern analysis of what we are up against.
For the sake of preserving our “blog status” we will limit our analysis to a category we will call household influences vs. peer influences. Contrasting the general framework of households now with those of a generation ago will help us to know what we are up against.
In most households then—on TV and in real life—kids would leave their homes in the morning to enter into the world of their peers at school and then return home after school. Once home, for the most part, their social lives took a back seat to homework, dinner and maybe an occasional hour or so in front of the TV. This general family framework allowed for many dynamics to occur that might have gone unnoticed except in light of their absence today.
The adults ran the show. It was the responsibility of the adults to teach the Bible, the value of history, how to evaluate books and ideas, etc. The children spent time, whether they liked it or not, listening to adult conversations at dinner submitting to their parents choices of topics. The choice to call a friend on the phone or to have a friend stop by was all done under the gaze of the adults in the home.
Has peer influence crept into your home, overshadowing adult influence? We are not speaking of quality, biblical friendships, because we know that “the wise walk with the wise” (Proverbs 13:20), and as parents we desperately need the support of the body of Christ in the lives of our children in order to mold them to be more fully like Christ. But in light of the strong current of a child-entered culture, it is healthy to constantly reassess where we are subconsciously (or consciously) yielding in the battle for their hearts.
As parents, we first must make sure that we are living lives devoted to Christ. Our habits, patterns of speech and behavior in our homes show whether this is true, and we must evaluate if we, as the responsible party, are letting our authority slip to our children’s social demands.
Are the cell phones or computers ever set aside for the dinner hour? Have their nightlights been replaced with their facebook pages, or have we taught them to consider Christ the “lock of their night?” Socialization can happen anywhere, anytime, especially for this “24/7 “ generation, but most of the good, memorable, character-forming, perspective-making stuff happens at home, without them even knowing it.