It’s a tired subject really. So tired, in fact, that we hear it without really listening. It’s an endless volley of disconnect and dissension. And while it seems harmless to many, it’s the very poison that’s taking out marriages with alarming veracity.
It starts young. Long before marriage is even a real consideration. Adolescent girls cram online feeds with seductive selfies and their male counterparts ante up with the expected and much coveted responses.
And so the story goes. Boy learns to like seeing what he shouldn’t see while girl keep showing him what she shouldn’t show because she wants to be noticed. Liked. Appreciated.
Only that isn’t what happens at all. The boy doesn’t come to like her. He simply enjoys the shell within which she is housed. Not the same thing by any stretch.
No big deal, right? I mean, come on. This is an age old saga and you’re never going to manage to rewrite the script. It’s just what young people do but it all turns out fine eventually. Or does it?
Picture me standing here screaming from the rooftop that IT DOES NOT! It truly doesn’t. Nakedness, even “vegetarian” nakedness, doesn’t beget love. Or respect. Or honor. It gives birth to lustful passions bereft of sanctity which results in the begetting of a whole bloodline of sin.
But with a world steeped and basted in moral corruption how is it even possible to raise youth who don’t end up standing in the doorway of destruction? There is but one true answer: The grace of God.
And in His infinite grace and mercy, He will equip us with the tools we need to raise kids who will turn from temptation in its most tempting form. Here are a few ways we are seeking to arm our children for battle…
- Get them in the Word. While the world around us is drowning in the devil’s pool of perdition, we need to be keeping our families bathed in God’s Word. It is there we find hope, strength and power to withstand the assault of evil when it comes dressed up and disguised. Our family is reading through the Bible six chapters a day. We’re just finishing up 1 Samuel which was 31 chapters of question-inducing Scripture that opened the door for a whole lot of conversation we likely never would have had otherwise. Six chapters is a pretty hearty portion in one sitting but we’re finding it’s just the right size for this season in our lives. You make that determination for your own family.
- Get them out of Sodom. Take ownership of what you’ve been allowing your kids to do. Maybe they’ve had the liberty to be on Facebook or Instagram where their feeds are being filled with unsavory people and their postings. Perhaps they’ve even been commenting on that trash. Pull the plug, cold turkey. If you let them dance with the devil they’ll learn to like the way he dances. It’s time you cut in. Warning: Don’t steamroll your errant youth in an effort to bring them into the light. Be willing to listen to them even before you talk. Why are they drawn to those people? How do they feel about it? How can you help to bring their minds back to safety? Kids who feel bullied into sanctification only bide their time until they are free to make their own choices. Draw their hearts gently but with unfettered determination.
- Exemplify gender roles. Men and women were never intended to be equal. They were created to be two unique parts that came together to create one whole. Marriage, in its degenerate form, has become about women competing with men and fighting for dominance over them and men who either take a strong (arrogant/unloving) hand or cower under, emasculated and defeated. It’s ugly. Require your boys to nurture the women in their lives, deferring preference to them. Instill the values that define a gentleman early and they will grow to know nothing else. Likewise, teach your girls to respect themselves enough to honor the men in their lives, without feeling threatened or inferior.
- Insist on honorable clothing choices. So long as your kids are in your care you have the final word on what they wear. Do not waver or compromise. A young girl can look nice, and even trendy, without her cleavage or thighs exposed. Don’t even let her step into that boat or you’ll find the current is much stronger than you realized.
- Train them to guard their eyes. Trash abounds and sometimes you can’t avoid it if you want to leave your house. Since we all need to leave home sometimes, our children need to know how to avert their eyes when confronted with that which shouldn’t be seen. This practice strengthens the muscle of self-control and will serve them well when they are older and making decisions for themselves.
- Encourage them to wait on the Lord. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle of the dating scene. Everyone’s doing it and posting pictures to prove it. But the reality is, adolescence is a time to get to know yourself and who God created you to be. If your children are distracted by the opposite sex they’ll end up missing out on much of this crucial step. It’s a nasty deception that you must date many to discover what flavor you like. Invest time in preparing them for the day God opens that door so they may step through. But don’t let ‘em barge through before it’s time.
What might you add? I’ve got teenagers who will be spreading their wings before long…I love to hear how you are training yours to be prepared.