Monday, July 11, 2011

Old School

My mother was converted just before I was born. Dad a decade later. Technically I grew up in a Christian home, but once I was in high school in public school, peer pressure and my own bent toward wanting to belong took over. I would go to church youth group Saturday night and once it was over head to the nearest party until curfew. Then get up and attend church Sunday morning without blinking. I could have recited Scripture verses to you and tell you what were the right things to do. But I was immersed in the worldly environment of public school and sports too. Daily spending 6 to 9 hours with my friends made them my compass and not my parents nor the faith I was taught.

When God awakened my soul and raised me from my dead condition, He changed me. Status quo was gone forever. He put steel into my heart that I would not turn back to those ways I had lived before. And one of the results of His life in me was in how I would teach and raise the children God gave me. Looking back over the past 20 years I can see that in many ways the pendulum swung to the opposite extreme. I was very strict about all influences I considered worldly. I adopted the attitude of "don't touch, don't taste, don't listen to, don't watch, and don't participate." We were very much isolated and insulated from most people and most of the culture. When my children were little this was easy to enforce.

Yet as God grows children, He grows His babes too. As I grew in Him, I saw that creating a monastic life for ourselves was not fulfilling His commission to disciple the nations. We needed to be strong in the Lord and teach the children to be strong in Him, to be strong minded through the Scriptures, and to learn how to confront the culture around them and to redeem what they could from the Egyptians. My goals for the children changed: I wanted them to be more than conquerors not a people that retreated from what was surrounding them.

One thing did not change, however, and that was how they would interact with members of the opposite sex. So now because we do not allow our boys to text, email, or online chat with girls (or the girls with boys)...we are old school. As my children have aged from children to teens and young adults, the dichotomy between our rules and the rules of those around us is stark. If I think through the roster of our family, friends, and acquaintances, I am pretty sure we are the only ones who still hold fast to these standards. And of course my children want to know why.

This is my explanation. God rescued me from the pit of easy believe-ism, of surface Christianity, of watered down standards, and hands-off parenting. I know the end results of those practices of flirting, man/woman hunting, easy attachments, private conversations, boy-crazy/girl-crazy silliness. Proverbs is full of wisdom about how young men should think, act, and behave. It is full of warnings that young men should avoid strange women. Young women should take heed of the descriptions and behavior of strange women elaborated on in Proverbs and seek to avoid any similarity in their own deportment. Just because our current culture says that it is okay for young people to carry on through social media does not mean that it is a holy activity for Christian young people to engage in with complete abandon.

God is clear that youth does not have wisdom and needs to learn it. But honestly sometimes I think the need for parents to learn wisdom is greater. Our goal is mature, godly, pure, holy, honoring Christian young people who are equipped to fulfill God's purpose for their life, prepared to seek a mature, godly, pure, holy, honoring Christian mate at the proper time, and ready to build the kingdom of God. Our time, emotions, relationships are all gifts from God. How should we and our young men and ladies be spending them? The way I see it, man/woman hunting or defrauding another person can happen through electronic devices even more readily than in person. Which means, we will be old school for years to come.

----posted by Queen Lucy