Over the last few weeks, millions of America’s children have assembled in hate-filled protests against adult authority. They have demanded that their views and philosophies replace those of the majority of mature adults having rightful authority over them. Parents are the first level of responsibility and authority for children. As I view these radical protests by minor children, I have to ask, where are the parents?
I don’t oppose children forming their own opinions and expressing their own views. That is a vital part of growing up. However, those opinions and views should be developed primarily within the family framework with parents providing the principal influence. If we could analyze the influence that drives most of these protesting students, I believe we would find it is from their schools, politicians, news media, and their peers. I have to wonder how many parents of the protesting teens actually sat down with their children and discussed the issues thoroughly. How many parents talked seriously, but lovingly, with their children about mass shootings, school security, government policy, and appropriate response? Shame on those parent who did not.
During the last half-century, we have witnessed the abrogation of parental responsibility in America on a grand and exponential scale. Certainly, many parents take this God-given responsibility seriously and raise their children properly in a respectful, loving home environment. However, I would have to consider effective parenting in today’s homes as a rapidly declining family model. We in this nation have allowed a lot of detractors to creep into our lives that have weakened our abilities to guide and discipline our precious progeny. The effect has been their lack of respect for authority.
So, what went wrong along the way? Our greatest collective failure has been the movement away from God as the foundation of our family, our education, and our government. We have departed from the Bible as the supreme source for truth. The spiritual development of children is too often left to the church or school rather than the home. More and more, misplaced work priorities are keeping fathers and mothers alienated from their children. Too many children are left alone or with non-family members too often and too long. Technology and social media are replacing nurturing and bonding communication within families. These family dysfunctions and many more have erected barriers between children and their parents leaving little incentive by parents to guide and discipline their children or by children to respect and obey their parents.
Parents who feel they have lost touch with their minor children must begin to reverse that relationship. It is a struggle, but absolutely critical. Often, professional family counseling is necessary. Most of it, though, is simply a commitment to be the parent. If the dad is present, his is the responsibility to be the spiritual leader of the family. Children must see their dad as a godly man. Church should become a top priority. Most churches will teach the proper biblical roles of parents and children. Parents need to be involved in the school. Frequently, a school’s teaching and activities may be counter to a parent’s views. In such cases, parents should make the disconnect an opportunity for family discussion. It is okay for parents to teach something different from the official view of the school or other organization. It is not only okay, but imperative that the parent not hesitate to say “no” when needed.
On a final note, grandparents also have an important responsibility for their grandchildren. They are not to act as parents except in extreme circumstances of parental absence or neglect, but they should always be accessible and approachable. Grown children sometimes need advice and affirmation from their parents, and grandchildren sometimes need a listening ear from their grandparents. Grandparents may have more time than parents to invest in children searching for answers.
When America’s children become disconnected from their parents and are given too much freedom, they will almost always become ensnared in illegal or misguided activity that can ultimately degrade or destroy their lives. They are America’s future. Parents must step up. Be present, be proactive, be the parent!