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Equipping Parents For the Culture War

Guest: Rebecca Hagelin

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April 11, 2024

What Are You Teaching Your Son?

So many of the difficulties that confront our kids come down to a single characteristic of today's families: There is nobody home.

We consider the burgeoning crisis that confronts our boys in today's cultural context. Working against them is the breakup of families, the absence or disengagement of dads, the consequent wounding of spirits, and the postmodern culture that is twisting and warping so many of our children. If there is a common theme that connects each of these sources of difficulty it is the frantic pace of living that has left too little time or energy for the children who look to us for the fulfillment of every need, leading to the increasing isolation and detachment it produces.

America's love affair with materialism has taken its toll on the things that matter most. As a case in point, consider the epidemic of bullying and taunting that is occurring in our schools. All of us experienced similar difficult moments when we were young. So, what is different now? It is the absence of parents, who have nothing left to give. Some of us as kids came home to intact and caring families that were able to "talk us down" from the precipice, to assure us of their love, and to help us see that the harsh judgment of our peers was not the end of the world. In the absence of that kind of wise counsel in times of crisis, today's kids have nowhere to go with their rage. Some resort to drugs or alcohol, some withdraw into isolation, and some, sadly, vent their anger in murderous assault. If only Mom and Dad had been there when the passions peaked.

It is boys who typically suffer most from the absence of parental care. It is my conviction that those who choose to bring a child into the world must give that boy or girl the highest priority for a period of time. In a very short time, they will be grown up and on their own.

However, it is not enough simply to be at home and available to our children. We must use the opportunities of these few short years to teach them our values and beliefs. Millions of young people who have grown up in the relative opulence of North America have not had that training.

They are terribly confused about transcendent values. We have given them more material blessings than any generation in history. More money has been spent on their education, medical care, entertainment, and travel than any who have gone before. Yet we have failed them in the most important of all parental responsibilities:

We have not taught them who they are as children of God or what they have been placed here to do.

Human beings tend to struggle with troubling questions they can't answer. Just as nature abhors a vacuum, so the intellect acts to fill the void. Or to state it differently, it seeks to repair a hole in its system of beliefs. That is why so many young people today chase after twisted and alien "theologies," such as New Age nonsense, the pursuit of pleasure, substance abuse, and illicit sex. They are searching vainly for something that will satisfy their "soul hunger," but are unlikely to end it. Not even great achievement and superior education will put the pieces together. Meaning in life comes only by answering eternal questions such as "Who am I?" "How did I get here?" and "Is there life after death?" They are adequately addressed only in the Christian faith. No other religion can tell us who we are, how we got here, and where we are going after death. And no other belief system teaches that we are known and loved individually by the God of the universe and by His only Son, Jesus Christ.

"These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."
Deuteronomy 6:6-9

From Dr. Dobson's book Dads and Sons.

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