What is the real danger to children? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Recently, I wrote about the hysteria that comes whenever any new piece of technology comes out. It’s always argued that this will lead to the children being corrupted. The reality comes and goes and there’s no major change. Most of us look at what happened with comic books in the past as silly today. Odds are years from now today’s fear will seem silly.
But yet, no one can deny that children are being hurt. Yes. We do have problems with children committing violence and we do have problems with sexual promiscuity in children. Children often do drugs and children struggle with suicide, depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicide.
It’s really easy to blame this on the surrounding culture. It’s comic books! It’s TV! It’s movies! It’s music! It’s smartphones! It’s video games! It’s the internet! I am not denying that some of these can play a part, but there is something far more influential that comes beforehand that if this gets wrong, the others are far more likely to be hazardous to children. If this gets right, they are far less likely to be hazardous.
What children most need right is a stable family.
By this also, I mean that children living with a mother and a father both, and preferably their own biological parents. I realize that sometimes this can’t happen. I have a wonderful friend who’s a widower raising children on her own which is wonderful. A cause like being widowed suddenly due to a tragedy often cannot be helped.
Technically on my end, my sister is my step-sister as we have the same mother, but my mother left an abusive marriage and remarried my father and I come from that one, but my Dad has never treated my sister like any less of his own flesh and blood. I never got preferential treatment growing up that way. You could ask my sister and she would say the same thing.
Today, divorce is often prevalent because if the parents aren’t happy, well surely the children aren’t. Often, with a bad divorce, it doesn’t change the happiness of the children. Sometimes what they want most is their parents to work matters out and it can set the path for them to do the same.
If anyone thinks that’s what happened on my end, no. You can ask most anyone and I fought tooth and nail for my marriage and this was even when wise people told me I should seek divorce. I always said no. If it ended, it would be on her end, but I also told her when she was telling me she was going to divorce that I didn’t want her to do that, but if she sent me papers I would sign them. I wasn’t going to hold her hostage or anything.
Children can wrestle with abandonment over divorce and issues of trust. One reason I am sure of this personally besides my own reading on the topic is I am 42 and divorced and I still wrestle with this as a result of my divorce. It’s far harder when you’re a child who doesn’t have a fully developed cognitive faculty to know how to handle this or a whole worldview behind it. I remember the story of a man in his senior years who at the age of five had his Dad kill himself and he still wondered why his Dad didn’t want him.
Don’t think that just having the right parents is all that matters either. No. Invest in your children. If your children are engaging in media you think is harmful, talk to them about it. Find out why they like it. What are they really gaining out of it?
Don’t think also that if you’re in ministry, you can bypass this. You can’t. Some people can be so committed to ministry that they fail to be committed to their own families. I hate saying it, but Billy Graham was even like this. There’s an account of how he left his wife behind sick once because he had to preach somewhere. If children think your ministry matters more to you than they do, they are more prone to resent your ministry and the God that ministry is about.
Children need to be invested in. We can often think that if we take them to church every Sunday, which we should, then we’re okay, but it needs to be more. Christianity needs to be lived in the home. It needs to be shown. Christians need to do actions that will speak love to their children.
If this is actively going on, you have far less to be concerned about with the media around them. I have been in the world of video games since I was in kindergarten, and yet I have never had a violent streak or anything like that. I was a virgin until I married and will be one, God willing, until I marry again. I never use profanity and I have never had a drug problem. I have struggled with anxiety and depression, but overall, my upbringing has been very helpful for me.
Also, if you are someone alone raising a child, get them involved with someone who can be a role model of their own sex. If you are a man raising daughters, find a woman who is a role model for them and vice-versa for a woman raising sons. Let them know how they are to be.
Your children are yours and they are to be a great investment. You will be the greatest influence on their life. Use it well.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)