I stood in the Guidance Office at our local high school this week for about a half hour waiting. It was nuts in there. There were no chairs even though the receptionist twice told us to 'take a seat'. After her second rather curt instruction, I kindly pointed out there were no seats to be taken. About 30 students and a few parents were crammed into a reception area that might have been the size of my small family room and as a result, it was very cozy.
And because it was cozy, I overheard most, if not all, of the conversation. Most of it wasn't all that interesting - inane banter about course selections, timetables and teachers who were liked or disliked. It wasn't the subject matter of the conversations that caught my attention but rather the sprinkling of expletives and vulgarisms throughout. I even overheard at least two direct references to 'porno'. And this was in a controlled environment. I can't imagine what their conversations are like outside of one.
I live in a world that is relatively free from all of that but I'm not totally out of touch. I watch TV and I go to movies. I try and be selective enough about what I watch that I don't get overly exposed to that kind of language but you know as well as I do that there is hardly anything you can watch these days that doesn't have at least some. Video games now have swearing in them for goodness' sakes. Then there is the internet with it's vast array of 'freedom of speech and expression' that propagates every world view and influence imaginable - from religion to hedonism and everything in between.
It's no surprise our kids are confused and often don't know how to act. They have no sense of direction in their lives. They are influenced by this vast array of media and personal experience but often have no compass to get their bearings from. No wonder Solomon wrote "Where there is no revelation (vision), the people cast off restraint" (Prov. 29:18).
Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I believe that the solution lies in keeping the compass of the Word of God in front of our children so that they can build a framework that will bring some boundaries into their lives - some restraint if you will. As Christian parents, this should be our default.
And if Christianity is something that you don't value - it still wouldn't hurt for you to pick up a Bible and teach your kids some of the principles you find in there. Things like respect for authority and for parents, tolerance of people that aren't like you, integrity and honesty, kindness and compassion. Those are just a few for starters. What possible harm could there by in teaching your kids things like that?
These 'crazy kids' are going to be our leaders and influencers in just a few short years. Let's give them as much direction as we can while we have the opportunity. And remember...they learn the most from us by what they observe us doing, not by what they hear us saying. I know I could be better at this...I think we all could.