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Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’

Don’t be where trouble can happen.

Grammar excluded, this is a profound statement, isn’t it? My Mama repeated these words to my brother and me often. So often it still plays like a recording in my brain. “See Mama, if you’re peeking through the pearly gates, I heard you all those years ago. And still do.”

But today we’ve thrown out those sayings of years gone by like the baby and the bath water. Why? Could it be pride? Wanting to DSCF4898do things our way—rejecting our parents’ way. After all, their ways are meaningless today, right? Times and people have changed. Or have they? Were those statements based on solid, biblical, historical truth?

It’s obvious we’ve raised several generations of young people on a different foundation than we were taught. A shaky foundation. A weak foundation that is cracking and crumbling. Is the substructure beyond repair? Only time, our response to truth, and God’s mercy will tell.

For the next few weeks I’d like us to dissect some of those ancient words from generations past. Let’s see if they were old wives’ tales or words of wisdom we’ve trashed in this super-sonic age of technology. And if you have sayings from your folks, please share them. Join the conversation and let’s learn from each other.

To know wisdom and instruction, to discern the DSCF4893sayings of understanding, to receive instruction in wise behavior, righteousness, justice and equity; to give prudence to the naive, to the youth knowledge and discretion, a wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel…The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:2-5, 6 NAS).

Last week, in Dallas, Texas, a seventeen-year-old girl climbed over her boyfriend and out the back window of a moving car. The car ran over her and she died. Alone. In the middle of the night. On a dark city street. Allegedly after partying at a club with friends. Friends who drove off and left her. With friends like that…
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This young woman made a fatal choice to spend her last hours in a place where trouble was bound to happen.

A young mother, shot in the early morning hours—3 a.m.—in the parking lot of her apartment. She too died alone, leaving behind babies and a grieving husband. An isolated parking area in those dark hours is certainly a place where trouble is apt to happen.

Boys love to climb. A young teen climbing on a school roof falls, breaks his femur, and spends the summer incapacitated. Then the teens who broke into a house and were shot by the owner. Dead. Gone forever because of wrong choices.

Two hormonal teens in the back seat of a car, or alone in a basement playroom watching TV long after the parents have retired for the night, a definite opportunity for trouble to happen.
And the list goes on and on. I’m sure while reading mine you recycled your own list, didn’t you?

We’ve all done stupid stuff, gone places we shouldn’t have, taken foolish chances, but the difference is the actions listed above are becoming the norm rather than the exception.

Where have we gone wrong? What could we have done to achieve a different outcome?

Mama had another saying that answers that question. When you do bad things, bad things happen. And in our house, boy did they! Mama called them consequences and she made them happen. This godly woman believed God made bushes for parents to cut switches, and she sent us to cut our own rod-of-consequence. A new switch for each infraction of the rules.

Oh no! Not the dreaded word—rules. Yes, there were rules in our house. Rules set by Mama, carried out by Mama, and enforced by Daddy. There were no time-outs or removal of privileges. Consequences were swift, sure, and tailor-made for the crime. And the only political correctness in our home fled at the sight of Mama’s switch and Daddy’s belt.

The wisest man who ever lived said:

“Where there is no guidance, the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory…Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid” (Proverbs 11:14; 12:1 NAS).

DSCF4894We’ve pitched the switch, banished the belt, and tossed the baby with the dirty bath water. But Solomon instructed:

“Do not move the ancient boundary which your fathers have set” (Proverbs 22:28 NAS).

Current psycho-babble encourages parents to be their children’s friend. God gives children many friends during their life-time, but He only gives a child one mama and one daddy. If you don’t parent, it won’t get done. We are the ones God appoints and holds accountable to equip our kids with His knowledge and understanding so they can learn to make wise decisions.

Parenting begins at the cradle and ends at the grave. And very often these days, the funeral is that of our children because many of them have failed or refused to make wise choices.

God didn’t give us babies, then leave us without an instruction manual. He gave us sixty-six books, but one in particular teaches the basic principles for living life right—the Book of Proverbs.

The teaching window is brief. The time to begin is now. Don’t wait ‘til tomorrow, because:

“Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15 NAS).

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The sign read Red Neck Heaven, but seated at a table surveying the scenery, I’d-a called it Red Neck Hell. From the parking lot it looked like a barbeque joint. But the place was Hooter’s on Steroids.

Tired and famished, my friend Lori and I turned into the Texas Roadhouse parking lot to grab a quick lunch. It was closed. However, the place next door was open and the parking lot filled.

Lots of cars equals good food. Right? We agreed a burger or barbeque sounded great, so we parked and went inside.

The waitress who greeted us couldn’t have been a day past high school graduation and wasn’t wearing much. Should-a been our first clue. But we resumed chatting about the weighty matters of the world while waiting for an open table.

When she ushered us to a table, we realized something we should-a noticed before. Besides the waitresses—all very, very scantily clad—Lori and I were the only women in the place. Second clue.

Our idea of weighty matters of the world took on a whole new dynamic.

I gasped for air and breathed, “Oh Lord, what now? Stay or flee? Which would attract more attention?”

Whether a good or a bad decision, we sat down and ordered a burger.

Multiple TV screens hung around the top of the room flashing pictures of these little feminine replicas of Daisy Mae. And let me tell you, that cartoon country gal was dressed for winter compared to these precious girl-children. The mother in me screamed, “Does your mama know where you are and what you’re doing? Get out-a-here.”

And none of them could have been a day over twenty. I was embarrassed for them, for myself, for my friend, and yes, even for the men making idiots of themselves. Men of all ages, cultures and dress—from business men to cowboys—from Marines to construction workers.

Lori groaned and stared into her water glass, “I don’t know where to fix my eyes.”

“On the food when it comes,” I instructed, “… and eat…fast.”

The burgers and onion rings were great, but following my own advice, I gulped them down and my digestive system rebelled.

We ate fast and left faster.

One man exited the restaurant behind us and made a point of commenting that tomorrow would be A.B.C. Day, Anything But Clothes Day. He said the line to get in would extend around the building by 9 A.M. In broad daylight.

But the real shock to my system was the memory of these young women sashaying about in little but their imaginations, gaudy belly-button jewelry, and cowgirl boots— trailed by the unveiled lust of men—numerous men—leering at them.

Why would these girls be willing to trade God’s promises of blessings to those who are pure in heart for a meager salary and smutty attention from men? Where had they found the brazen ability to make themselves the object of gawking stares and lewd advances? Somebody’s daughters, sisters, friends. Do you care? Does anyone care?

How did we get here?

Parents, do we bear any blame for this ghastly display? Could we be responsible? Have we encouraged our children—boys and girls—to embrace this behavior and call it good?

Mom, could we be desensitizing our little girls by placing them in that first bikini? At age 3? Maybe 5? Training them through the years that it’s okay to expose as much skin as they dare? Is this immoral immodesty one of the consequences of the absence of the Word of God? Or direct opposition to it?

And Dad, lest you say “It’s her mother’s fault. She buys the stuff.” Don’t you realize, whether you believe it or not, you will stand before God, to give an account of your actions protecting the safety and well-being of each member of your family? You are required as the God-appointed head of your family to see and say NO to present and future dangers.

I’m not suggesting a return to the behavior and dress of the 1800’s. But where do we draw the line? How much is too much and how little is too little? We’ve turned our back on modesty and plunged head first into the cesspool of provocation and shame. And, there’s not much difference in behavior and dress inside and outside the church.

The truth is we are here.

But the urgent question is: Do you have the courage to seek to know what God says about this issue and then stand for His revealed truth?

What do you think? Are you living in a houseful of teens who want “to be like their friends?” Let’s discuss this.

Next week, Part Two In The Way They Should Go, we’ll explore what we all have allowed our children to witness and participate in. Is it too late to shut the barn door?

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