"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6).
These words from the Bible tell us of the awesome responsibility of a parent. It is a responsibility that, if taken seriously, will culminate in a vastly improved society filled with mature adults who wish to do what's right, avoid what's wrong, and lead productive lives.
But if that responsibility goes unheeded, the consequences are disastrous.
I see those very consequences at work today in America. Many if not most youth are disrespectful to their parents, grandparents, older persons, teachers, ministers, and others. No thought is given to whether something is right or wrong. Cheating in schools and in universities is raging out of control, and even the teachers and professors often secretly encourage it so that they will "look better."
Where is the breakdown? Where is the point at which there is a massive disconnect that leads to these loathsome circumstances?
Blame is easy to throw around. When a child gets old enough to know right from wrong, they have free choices to make, and they often choose wrongly. The freedom to choose is a personal responsibility, and many youths today simply decide to do the wrong thing. Further, public schools are a cesspool of anti-Christian sentiment, drugs, lack of discipline, and a failure to inculcate within each student the ability to think for themselves and an insatiable thirst to learn. This breakdown is the responsibility of teachers, administrators, school boards, and parents.
And then at church very little of the demands of Christianity are taught and preached. What we hear are nice little object lessons that never drive home the fact Jesus made some very specific and difficult demands of His followers in the realm of morality, ethics, philosophy, conduct, mindset, and the like. These are being ignored in order to avoid "turning modern people off to the Gospel." But in doing so the churches have made sure that no Gospel is presented in lessons and sermons.
But the ultimate blame goes to the parents. I see many parents failing at every juncture to teach their children in the ways of the Lord. How many homes in America today have a daily Bible study and prayer time for the whole family? At one time this was a routine staple of Christian life. Most of the time these days not only do parents fail to demand that their children sit down with them for a meal, together, but they also fail to demand that their children sit down and hear the Word read and taught. Prayer is also conspicuously absent in the home.
If we are not going to give our children and grandchildren this basic elementary opportunity for Christian learning, then it is no wonder we see the entire society going to the toilet.
We can do better.
This verse from Proverbs above says that if we train our children in the ways of the Lord, when they are older and mature they will not depart from it. Now, often they will stray and test out the waters of sinful living and experiment with the ways of the world. But if there is a solid foundation that has already been laid within their hearts in a Christian home where the Gospel has been taught each day, they will eventually be drawn back to the faith...in time.