Greetings, Gentle Reader,

American culture, circa 2008, is toxic. The question we LDS parents must answer is, simply, "How do we inoculate our children against its destructive influence, indeed, its eternally destructive influence?"

For one thing, do your children like you? Really like you? I’m not asking whether they love you, because they surely do. What I truly mean is, do they genuinely like you? Do you try to have fun with them? Do you try to avoid finding fault with them? I’m not asking whether you are in charge in your family, because you should be, if you love your children. I’m asking whether you avoid picking on them. I’m asking whether they can trust you to back them up, to truly support them, when they need it.

There was a funny experience in our family that illuminates this concept: When our daughter, Candace, was a teen, a friend called and asked her to join in some activity. Candace turned to me and asked whether she could go with her friends. I began working it out in my mind, fitting it in with other family activities, and as I started to tell her how it would work, she began making wild gestures, trying to tell me that she didn’t want to go with her friends.

As I realized what was going on, I stepped close to the phone and said, sternly and loudly, something to the effect of, "Absolutely not! I need you at home!"

The relief on her face was nothing short of comical. She had not wanted to go with her friends, but she needed to have me provide the necessary cover, so she wouldn’t have to be the bad guy.

It all ended well. Candace was able to beg off, while expressing regret, without taking a chance of offending her friend. Her friend had no reason to be mad at Candace. She just felt sorry that poor Candace had such a mean mother!

The moral of that funny story is, can your kids trust you to run interference for them when they need it? If their friends want to see a movie that doesn’t live up to LDS standards, are you willing to make your child, or your child’s friends, mad at you, if necessary, to keep them from exposure to something from which they may never recover?

We are rearing our families in a time of overwhelming corruption. It has increased so dramatically in my lifetime, that I watch my grandchildren growing up in a world totally different from the one in which their parents, my children, were reared. And my children grew up in a world totally different from the one in which I was reared.

We cannot protect them from everything, but we must do what we can. We must accept the reality that our culture has declared war on decency, on virtue, and on responsibility. If we don’t talk about this with our children, if we don’t express our fears for their welfare, for their purity, if we don’t set standards firmly, standards for which we are willing to fight, we will fail our children.

We must let them know the dangers of premarital sex, of drug use, of pornography, of the vicious diseases that await the foolish. Some of them will not listen. Some children, especially teens, have to find out for themselves. Sometimes it works to expose them to people who have destroyed their lives with drugs, alcohol and promiscuity.

The important thing to know–which I did not know when I reared my children–is that some of their friends or acquaintances will tell them that their parents don’t know what they are talking about. They will pooh pooh the dangers. They will belittle your fears and your warnings. Why? Because they have an agenda, and that agenda is to get your children to indulge in destructive behavior.

Yes, we must inoculate our children against the culture in which they live, and it will not be easy, but Heavenly Father’s job of standing back while His Beloved Son died on the cross was not easy, either. He will never require that of us, because that price has already been paid. Now, we must do what He does require of us, which is to spare no effort to protect our own against Satan’s evil designs.


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1 comments:

    Dan and Wendy said...

    Thank you for the excellent post. I find that open and frequent communicaiton is the key. I still have two boys living at home. By scheduling regular interviews, i.e. PPI's, with them, we discuss what is going on in their lives.

    Occasionally they have told me things that they I know won't make me happy. When that happens I have to remember how difficult it was when I was a teen. By showing them love in those situations I believe that I have gained their trust and they are very open with me now about the struggles they go through.

    By knowing their struggles I can share with them my experiences and how I made it through life's challenges and what I think they can do to improve their chances for success and happiness in this life.

    Temptations are becoming more pervasive and socially accepted by the world at large. The home needs to become that safe refuge from the storm.

  1. ... on May 18, 2008 at 9:01 AM