How do you know the right thing to do? Did someone teach you or is it learned by example? What is the example?
Here’s a question, what influences are directing your kids, nephews, and nieces?
Cultural and Environmental Influences
It’s subtle, going all with what they see in the environment they live in and the culture that surrounds them. Like sheep without a shepherd…they follow the first one who has influence with them.
Recently I listened to how one of my relatives is being influenced by a girl younger than her regarding sex. The girl is 9 years old, her mother an addict, being brought up in an environment that caters to the darkness of the heart. It’s a heartbreaking cycle.
It reminded me of my own bad influence with my younger siblings. My brothers made almost every mistake that I did, and now I wish they’d copy my better example. Trying to look cool, I enabled my sister in some of her bad behavior while we were kids.
Is What You Say Matching What You Do?
Integrity is paramount. Millenials have stated that they want something they can trust in this ever corruptive society. It’s what we do that is copied. When it matches what we say, we gain credibility.
Then we have the influence of music, movies, and television. They all carry a particular worldview, theme, and approval or disapproval of certain behaviors. Do you know what they are? That what they’re teaching is okay?
I love superhero comics, they’ve influenced me. The X-Men taught me not to be prejudiced against those born different. Spider-Man taught me that with great power comes great responsibility.
It’s not always bad; it’s also not always good either. These are big influencers. Dare I say, more than you are just because of the accessibility?
Solomon teaches to guard your heart and to stay away from bad influences (Proverbs 4:23). Paul goes a step further, saying to guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7). It’s not always possible. How do you guard your heart and mind, and the kids’?
By instilling a Biblical, moral foundation, that they can use to critically think through. Learn and teach them the natural consequences of their actions. It’s a start, but it’s not enough.
Our hearts are wicked. Doubt me? Post your every thought and feeling on Facebook. Every one of them, no filters, without any shame. That shame is the recognition of a dark and twisted heart.
We need new hearts, ones that can only come from God. A regenerated heart that is bent towards pleasing Christ who saved you (Ezekiel 36:25-27). The key is that to get it, you have to trust that Christ saved you when he died and rose again, and follow him.
Literally. I’ve yet to be led astray by him, but my own decisions have sent me the wrong way. Can you say your choices are flawless? Or does life leave you feeling harassed and helpless, with no idea where to go?
Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Let him lead you, and lead others to him. Lead your kids to him.