Family Values

Something Wrong Today

by Eric Kreye

What ever happened to family values? Good old-fashioned honesty, respect, purity, caring, and commitment? Today nearly half of the families in America have been shattered by divorce, children are home alone while parents work, guns are readily available, crime is commonplace, sex outside of marriage is accepted, truth is relative, and the focus is on "What's in it for me?"

To add further confusion to our society, there are regular graphic descriptions of sex, crime, and killing on television and the printed page. A few years ago tough newscasters would have blushed to report such things. Add to this the strong popularity with our kids of video and computer games that glorify killing. Is it any wonder there is no respect for life anymore?

The restraints on sex before marriage have almost disappeared today. In an effort to control the rampant number of teenage pregnancies, many schools are offering free condoms to any teen who wants them. The result of one survey shows that parents and students are more than 2-to-1 in favor of such distribution. According to one article more than half of high school teens are sexually active.

In recent months and years there have been several nationally reported shootings in high school where teens have randomly killed other teens.

What's happening? Who's to blame?

Of course, ultimately Satan is to blame. It is his studied plan to bring everything possible to bear on the inhabitants of earth that will cause them to turn far away from God. Besides, this satanic power enjoys hurting, maiming, and killing humanity in the most degrading way, thereby bringing sorrow to the tender heart of the great God of love and compassion.

Could it be that our families themselves must share responsibility for the woeful state of our society today? Have we as fathers and mothers in our homes allowed the society around us to dictate our values and standards? Our kids are depending on us to guide them in the right direction.

It has been said that most homes are run on three shifts--father on the night shift, mother on the day shift, and the children shift for themselves!

Recently Randy Maxwell wrote an "open letter to parents everywhere" that appeared in his local paper, in which he shared some thought-provoking comments. Here are a few excerpts:

"As much as we want to blame Hollywood, the music industry, or whatever, we have to blame ourselves for allowing our culture--a culture that is drunk on violence and sex--to poison our children. We must protect our own children. Nobody else is going to do it....

"There's no mystery here, parents, we've systematically permitted our violence-addicted culture to program our children through the cartoons, movies, video games, and music we pay for and allow them to ingest....

"We've allowed strangers into our homes--strangers who have taught our children that killing is cool, that guns are power, that death is funny and to be watched with a Coke and a bag of popcorn....

"You and I are going to have to take action to protect our kids. You want to cut the violence in our culture? Stop buying it for your kids.

"I'm calling on parents everywhere to go on a nationwide boycott of violent records, violent movies, violent video games, and violent cartoons. If your kids have slasher and shoot-'em-up video games, get rid of them. If they have posters on their walls of rock, rap, or metal groups that glorify rape, sodomy, suicide, and drugs, take them down....Turn the channel from cartoons or programs that feature violence as something to laugh at.

"And by the way, parent, that means you will need to boycott the body-blasting features yourself too. Kids won't tolerate hypocrisy. If it's bad for them, it's bad for you. If you're going to boycott some of it, boycott all of it.

"This may all sound rather simplistic and naive, but listen: Filmmakers and record producers and Game Boy execs rush violent products to market for only one reason--because people buy them. People like us....

"...Though we can't stop people from producing garbage, we can stop our children from eating it.

"And if enough children stop eating it, there won't be any whatever."

According to the December 9, 1991, issue of U.S. News and World Report, "since the late 1970s, Americans have been gradually rediscovering the importance of family values....New polls show that this yearning for the stability of the past is at least partly driven by a growing belief among Americans that they have less control over their lives and those of their loved ones. About 8 in 10 Americans say they acquired their core values from the family, according to a new survey....But two thirds say, unhappily, that today's children are getting their values from television, movies, musicians or music videos."

This seems to confirm the old saying, Garbage in, garbage out. What our minds feed on is what will influence our actions sooner or later.

What can be done to change all this? Perhaps if we each determine to make a difference in our own lives, our own homes, a positive change will come in our society. A change for the better. Some of the good old-fashioned values of the past can be recaptured.

Here are some suggestions that will help bring about some much-needed change in our families:

Spend time together. Love and time is what a child wants most today from mom and dad. Even doing routine tasks together will never be forgotten. Such as doing dishes together, working in the garden, cutting firewood, going camping or doing some biking. You don't have to do a lot of talking, but just being together.

Set definite limits. It may mean some tough love and discipline at times. Did you know that kids dislike teachers who can't keep order? I'm sure they feel the same way about how things go in their homes.

Someone said, "Discipline is a risky form of love because the child often rejects the one administering it, however, when discipline is given fairly and in love, kids do fine." It has also been said that discipline is one of the most durable gifts we can give our children.

God spoke through the wise King Solomon. This is what he wrote:

"He who spares
his rod hates his son,
But he who loves him
disciplines him promptly."
--Proverbs 13:24

Be the right model. Live what you believe and say. Be genuine. Kids have a way of spotting hypocrisy immediately, and they don't like it. It has often been said that the best thing fathers can do for their kids is to truly love their mother--and don't be afraid to show it.

Show your kids how much you value them. Consistently demonstrate love and respect. This involves being a good listener, speaking in respectful tones, expressing appreciation for something well done, showing affection (appropriate touching on a regular basis). Resist the temptation to "preach" to your kids. Think of what it takes to make you feel valued and do the same to your kids.

When appropriate, let the kids choose--but make sure they understand that each choice has consequences, good or bad. They must learn to accept the responsibility for their choices. It is not always the loving thing to shield them from suffering brought on by their own choices. Often this is the best way to learn--child or adult.

Pray! Pray! Pray! Pray for your kids and for yourself. You need God's help to make sure you do and say the right thing at the right time. And your kids need God's protection from the temptations that Satan puts in their way constantly. Someone has said that the most lasting gift we can offer our children is the gift of our prayers. It is a gift of tremendous power and will have definite eternal consequences, but costs nothing but our time. May God grant that true family values will return to the families in our society.

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