Back in the olden days when I was a teenager, Christians for the most part didn’t drink. Then some smart kid a few years older than me accurately pointed out the scriptures actually caution against getting drunk or being partial to strong drink. Of course, the whole Jesus turning the water into wine and not grape juice was added for emphasis and a generation of drinking Christians was born.
Those of us who knew all of the problems alcohol could cause in life, still believed it was a wise decision to avoid drinking alcohol almost entirely and encouraged our kids to make the same choice. Unfortunately, many parents didn’t feel they could use the Bible anymore and so their only caution was to obey the laws of the land and wait until they were 21 to drink. I guess they figured by then maturity would reign and things would be fine. What they forgot is that they regularly broke traffic and other laws themselves, so encouraging their kids to obey a “silly” law was basically useless.
The older I get the more I realize the reasons God cautioned Christians multiple times in different ways to be wary of alcohol. The reality is, choosing to drink can result in a lot of negative consequences. I believe God’s laws are not rules to keep us from having fun, but to guide us in having the best, most productive, fulfilling life possible on earth. Because of this, when we taught our daughter about debatable subjects like alcohol, we made sure she understood some of the reasons why God might not think it is a good idea to drink alcohol (or do whatever).
You can arm your children with the tools to make good life choices based on godly principles. It begins with giving them accurate information and possible reasons behind God’s commands. They need to understand the possible consequences that can happen now if they begin testing the waters on borderline issues like alcohol. Here are some thoughts you may want to consider sharing with your teens:
The unfortunate thing about the current “green” movement is they have radicalized it politically to the point many Christians reject anything to do with taking care of the world God gave us. Yet, God commands us to be good stewards. Although he doesn’t give us a list of the precise things he expects us to steward, I think it is safe to assume He expects us to care for any gifts He has given us. In my book, His creation is one of those gifts.
So how can a Christian parent teach good stewardship without wandering into the New Age idea of the earth being some sort of goddess (Mother Earth) or the almost earth worship promoted by many “green” groups and people? Should we walk away from the movement entirely in protest, throwing our trash by the side of the road to emphasize how wrong they are about God and creation? I honestly believe there are ways to teach conservation and good stewardship of God’s creation and still keep our children firmly connected to God.
Extra-curricular activities for young children are a relatively recent development. A few decades ago, a handful of kids might have played ball, taken music or dance lessons or been in scouts. At the most though, you had something to do one or two afternoons a week for an hour or less. Boy have things changed!
Today’s children- even very young ones- have scheduling calendars to rival the most successful business person’s. Every minute of every day is scheduled tightly – from the moment they wake up in the morning until their head hits the pillow way too late at night. Dozens of books and articles have been written warning of the dangers of over scheduling your children.
I blame Anna Wintour. Okay, the infamous editor of Vogue is not the only contributor to the problem, but she has definitely done her part. At some point in time, models went from the clean cut, natural looking Audrey Hepburn types to the hyper-sexualized photographs you can find today in almost any fashion magazine.
When I lived in New York City, I worked very briefly for Harper’s Bazaar magazine. They had Calvin Klein speak at a sales meeting I attended. This was when he introduced the first highly sexual ads and they were still controversial. I will never forget what he said. Basically, he admitted his intent was to shock.
It really wasn’t about beauty at all. He believed if he could shock you, he could get you to look at his ads and buy his clothes. He must have been right, because since that speech in the late ’80’s, other designers have picked up the trend and made it the norm. Unfortunately, the designers’ desire to sell clothes has morphed into sexy being the standard for beauty.
As a society, we have let people like Anna Wintour and Calvin Klein tell us what is beautiful. Even Christians buy in to the lies we are told. Beauty is defined by heavy make-up, “sexy” hair, form fitting clothes and exposed bodies. The natural look may flitter in the fashion world for a moment every few years, but rarely stays long as the “pure” look is not sexy enough to sell clothes. God’s standard of inner beauty is never really considered.
You want a godly book or dvd for your children, so you head to the local Christian book store and purchase something that sounds good. After all, how bad can it be since the Christian bookstore is selling it? When I was young, the Christian book and movie industry was in its infancy. Ironically, many Christians were very cautious about purchasing anything labeled Christian.
Partially, they were concerned about financing possibly shady preachers who were in religion more for material gain than preaching God’s Word. They were also concerned the books and movies would eventually take the place of the Bible for many people. Although I was young, I also remember discussions about the idea of young Christians being possibly taught false doctrine with no one to help them filter the truth from the false teachings.
A few years later, popular culture was in the midst of a serious downward spiral. Things that never would have been said or done on television were now airing in time slots when lots of young children watched. Books and movies were filled with foul language and glorified acts that only a decade ago no one would have discussed, much less spent hard earned money to read or watch.