When I hear horrific stories of child abuse, I shudder not only for the child but I also wonder about the abuser. Sadly, he (or she) probably had the same horrific things done to him as a child. The pattern often continues for generations unless someone is able to make a conscious effort to break the pattern.
Yet we look around us in the world and see what looks like an absolute mess. If people are so smart, why are there so many problems in the world? Why do equally well educated people have polar opposite opinions on almost any topic? Why does it appear that seemingly well educated, intelligent people make really poor choices?
A few years ago, some experts decided children with behavior problems suffered from low self-esteem. A campaign began to educate parents and teachers on how to improve the self-esteem of children to minimize bullying and other negative behaviors. It started out innocently enough. Parents were told to encourage their children instead of constantly criticizing them. Surely, there were quite a few parents who needed a reminder that constant criticism without some praise and loving words thrown in was potentially damaging.
But by the time my child reached school age, things were getting out of control. Children were allowed multiple chances to behave before a rule was enforced and consequences given. They were learning stop light colors and fractions more than they were learning to obey. There couldn’t be a dean’s list because the children who didn’t make good grades might “feel badly about themselves”. There were hardly any competitions, because it hurt a child’s feelings to lose.
How much time though, do we spend with our child pointing out the characteristics of the “best” husband? How often do we help our child practice his relational skills so he can have a “great” marriage? How much do we emphasize the importance of finding the “right” spouse to our child?
Sometime in the last twenty years we have almost totally lost the ability to spend time with anyone who is not our age or in the same exact spot in life as we are. I am sure it started with the 1960’s version of “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” Over the years, it has morphed into “If someone isn’t just like you, they don’t have a clue what you are going through or how to make it better.” The problem is that this attitude has also invaded our churches.