Raising Counter-Cultural Kids

I am deeply heavy-hearted tonight for our country and our world. I felt impressed to share with you these concerns. I am grieved for the society our children will inherit. The chaos is escalating and without a miracle, we are likely to witness more unrest and devastation on American soil. Perhaps this seems reactionary, or overly cautious, but I think we have to start looking at this practically.

We must ask ourselves exactly what does domestic terrorism, shootings, and acts of senseless violence mean for our families? We are literally staring evil in the face. This is not to say that I think we should cower, isolate ourselves, or hide in bunkers. I am burdened, but I refuse to live in fear. Fear is a temptation that must be rejected, resisted and pushed back upon (2 Timothy 1:7). God promised us that if we would resist the Devil he would flea from us (James 4:7). I know God is able to keep His hand on His people, but we have to face the new reality of life in America. We are not completely insulated or immune from attack. God can deliver us from evil, or He can keep us if His will requires us to walk through a dark moment, or if we must face hardship or endure tragedy.

This country has been blessed with abundance, wealth and good fortune and instead of acknowledging God’s provisions, the nation seems to have squandered the inheritance and finds itself like the prodigal son covered with filth and desperate. You can feel the shift, you can see the panic and the alarm in people’s eyes and I think some are searching to get back to stability, back to the foundation. But, others keep digging themselves further into the mud and who knows how low the bottom has to be before they will admit the error of their ways and search again for God and His paths. It seems as a nation we only acknowledge our need for God when we are knocked to our knees by tragedy. Healing, peace, restoration will not come unless the people of this nation are humbled, unless they pray, unless they reject wickedness and evil. I’m not saying attacks of terror are God’s will, but I do know that from our knees we are humbled.

My main point here is to encourage us as parents to start thinking about these things very seriously. How do we live and raise our families in these uncertain times? First, we have got to work every day to educate our children’s minds against the deluge of anti-Christian indoctrination that they are facing. The enemy has come in like a flood and it is our job as parents to start bailing the water from out of the minds and hearts of our kids. Nearly everything about living a Christian life goes against the politically correct status quo in America today. We are asking our kids to live completely counter-culturally. This is no easy task. It means they have to reject most of the ideology that comes with public education. It means they have to reject the immorality and depravity of media and entertainment. It means they will not fit in. It means they will stand out. They will be different. They will be targeted for ridicule. They will face opposition. We can’t expect that an hour of Sunday School or Youth Service once a week is enough preparation for the enemy’s attack. It’s a complete war for their mind. They need answers to hard questions. They need support and guidance. Dads, moms, grandpas and grandmas we have a great work to do.

Second, I would suggest that we not wait until we are brought to our knees to get on our knees and pray. We’ve got to pray for our families, our children, and our nation. Pray a hedge of protection around them physically and mentally. Pray they can walk in peace, not in trepidation. Pray that they receive spiritual discernment that they can see for themselves what is good and what is evil. Pray that they have the courage to reject the enemy’s attempt to define decency, modesty, morality downward until there is no decency, modesty, or morality at all. We must pray that they have a boldness of heart and passionate spirits that help them to indeed live counter-culturally, without embarrassment or shame.

Finally, there are practical elements to all of this, and sometimes this is the most difficult because it takes intentionality and time to deal with. However, the chaos and confusion, the attacks against our country via terrorism and other violence seem unlikely to come to an end anytime soon. As families, we’ve got to stop assuming it will never affect us. We can’t just naively say it’s too awful to think about, and just ignore it altogether. I urge you to talk to your children about these issues. I don’t mean scare them, but there are ways to address this at different age- appropriate levels. Kids are smart. They read emotional cues. They pick up on emotional upset and our worry. They probably know more than we think they know anyway, so it’s our job to add context to the information they are trying to process. Develop emergency plans for different situations. Give them instructions about what to do if they are in a crowded public area and there is a crisis, shooting or other attack. Teach them to immediately follow commands in public settings without asking, “Why?” Trust your own gut instincts if you feel hesitant or unsure about you or your child’s safety. Talk about ways criminals try to deceive children into inappropriate relationships both online and in person. Talk about human trafficking and how young kids, both boys and girls, are entrapped through the Internet. Explain that video and mobile games that provide location data are used by malicious people to find a way to lure them into capture.

It feels so overwhelming, the weight of dealing with life in today’s world. It’s new technology, new language, new problems we’ve never faced. But we are not without help. My husband and I often go back to the scriptures in Mathew 24. At the same time God is listing all of the seemingly horrible and incomprehensible things His people will face in the last days He says, “See that ye be not troubled.” This counter-intuitive message is what we must cling to. God has His hand on our children. He has His hand on His church and if we can just endure until the end, He has a way, a plan and we shall be saved.

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved 
(Matthew 24:4-13).

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