In the wake of yet another national tragedy, as we cry, pray and ache for the families of children shot in cold blood in the classrooms and halls of their school, we’re left (as usual) with more questions than answers. The potential list of questions is basically limitless although there are no concrete answers available, only conjecture. A few things are certain: Family life and marriage are not what they used to be. The enemy and his dark forces are prowling, trying hard to take as many souls to ruin as possible before the return of Christ.
It’s a mournful topic; yet, one that must not be overlooked. Any step in the right direction to begin to heal the nation and protect the nation’s youth is a good step. One topic for thought and discussion is parenting. If there’s one thing I’ve learned after raising 10 children, it’s that I would never dare to assume something about or judge another parent’s decisions. However, I believe several counterproductive trends have negatively impacted the nation, as a whole. Avoiding these parenting pitfalls may be a small step toward larger successes to replace some of the puzzle pieces that seem to have gone missing in our families and communities throughout the United States.
No two families are the same, and no set plan exists to guarantee that no more children will fall astray or that no more tragedies will occur, but the following ideas are food for thought that will hopefully encourage and inspire parents, and give them hope for brighter futures:
First be, then expect: Children are able to spot a hypocrite a mile away. If we, as parents, issue verbal instructions or regulations that we expect our children to follow, but they witness us acting contrary to our own standards, they are unlikely to have any incentive to do as they are told or taught. In short, it is unfair for a parent to expect a certain behavior without being willing to model it. Parents wanting to avoid pitfalls will pay close attention to the examples they set for their kids, and by no means should a parent ever think there is no example being set, for children are always watching and absorbing their parents’ words and actions.
Consistent enforcement: Many young people today are constantly barraged with empty threats of supposed consequences that will occur for certain unwanted behavior. Far too many parents are good at dishing it out, but never follow through. If you tell your child you will take away his video games, or that he won’t be permitted to attend a party if he doesn’t clean his room, but don’t enforce those threatened consequences when the room remains unclean, your child will likely assume that, not only do you do not mean what you say, you will probably never hold him accountable for his unacceptable actions.
Time together: Much of society is no longer family-friendly. Far too many households consist of parents who are either rarely home, or if they are, can be found in their own corners of the house in offices or ‘man caves’ or elsewhere, while each child is off by themselves plugged in or zoning out with electronic devices. This is a stark difference from times of old when a typical evening would find the average family gathered together, perhaps reading, playing board games, or taking evening walks or sitting on the porch. So many parents have convinced themselves that the most important thing they do in life is work, forgetting that Scripture tells us that we should work to live, but never live to work. Spending time with children every day is one of the best things parents can do for their kids, and for the world.
Vibrant faith life: The enemy has grabbed a stronghold by misleading people to believe that relativism should be preferred to Absolute Truth. Parents have become fearful, even of teaching children basic faith tenets. Where the average family used to live and share their faith unabashedly, now such terms as faith, Christianity or God are whispered secretly from time to time as though they are profane or illegal words. No matter what particular faith background you have, you do well to share it with your children. A favorite quote of mine is one that says a man who is afraid to stand for something will fall for anything. Also, bad things happen when good men do nothing. As a nation, we are beginning to reap the hazards of a society that has turned its back on God. It will only get worse if families don’t turn their hearts and lives back over to Christ.
These pitfalls — poor examples, lack of consistency, spending more time providing than time spent with children, and lack of faith sharing at home – are causal factors toward many of the serious problems that plague our country nowadays.
I believe, however, that there is hope – hope in young people who want things to be different and are willing to work to effect change, hope in mother and fathers who rise above their problems to protect and preserve their marriages, hope in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who has already borne the punishment for the sins that have or will be committed until the end of time. Families are the heart of the nation. If we strengthen families, we all.
Writer Bio: Judy Dudich
Judy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.