What Are We Handing Down??

Posted: May 5, 2016 in World On The Edge

When a child is born to us, we may look at him or her and say, “Oh, she’s just like her mother,” or “He’s the spitting image of his father.” But as our child grows we see likenesses in more than just appearance, because a child will imitate the parents in actions, too–the reason parents play such an important role in their child’s life.

What are we handing down to our children?

Are we handing down honesty? Do we show them that we value ourselves and others? Do we give them an example of working for something we want, or only that we deserve to be given something we want? Have we taught them that God created them, that He exists and loves them?

Our children are watching and listening.

But they are not only listening to us. The world is smaller, now, with social media. They can listen to anybody, anywhere, with no moral sense. Are we paying attention to that? Or do we even care whether our children have morals?

Twenty years ago, David Elkind, a professor emeritus of Child Development at Tufts University, and formerly professor of Psychology, Psychiatry and Education at the University of Rochester, warned about this:

Up until mid-century, most young people died from polio, tuberculosis—from disease. Fortunately, medical science conquered these illnesses, but today we lose as many young people through stress-related causes as we once lost through disease. We lose 10,000 youngsters a year in substance abuse-related automobile accidents. We lose 5,000 kids a year in suicide. We have two million alcoholic teenagers. All of these are stress-related problems arising from the fact that in our society the needs of children and youth are simply weighted less heavily than the needs of adults. A few decades ago, women consumed millions of pounds of tranquilizers because their needs were not being met. Today children and adolescents are reacting to stress in equally self-destructive ways.

If we really want to attack this problem, we can’t just talk about drug and sex education. They are important, but we have to talk about how we can better meet the needs of children and youth. Their needs for love and care and adult supervision and guidance. Their need for more space for activities. More age-appropriate curricula. More sense that they are important in their parents lives and in the life of society.

I was watching a documentary program last night. The reporters were asking a group of kids about stealing and lying. These kids had no strong moral sense about doing these things. They didn’t worry about whether the person would be hurt or damaged by taking something from them. It’s not true for all of our children, but I think that to the extent we don’t really care about kids, kids are not going to care about other people.

Now, twenty years later, many young people don’t care about other people, but only about themselves as evidenced by bullying, stealing from, and even violently harming others. Have we handed down this selfish attitude? It is surely a fact that in our society today, the needs of children and youth are weighted less heavily than the needs of adults. Think abortion, and the horrific selling of baby parts by Planned Parenthood.

I’m all for certain rights for women, but I shudder to think of what the next twenty years will bring if we don’t come to the conclusion that our children–created by God–are immeasurably valuable, and worth more than just a little of our precious time.

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