Dr. Allen Domelle
It seems as if it is becoming a regular occurrence to see youth marching the streets in some American city protesting anything from raising the minimum wage to trying to oust a university president. On the surface, every cause seems to have a valid point in the view of the modern day politically correct society. Sadly, the news media enables these youth by interviewing them and constantly covering their rebellion.
In each demonstration, what you truly see is the growing up of the entitled youth who believe everyone owes them everything. It makes one wonder what has become of our society that so many of our youth feel that they have the right to take to the streets and snarl traffic, close down storefront shops and businesses, and challenge police authority. If you think this is bad, wait till the children of this entitled generation grow up, and the riots and protests we have now will only be an hors d’oeuvre compared to what the riots and protests will be in years to come.
I believe there are several reasons that this is happening. One reason is that many children are left to themselves throughout the day, and the only thing they have to train them is reality television. God warns in Proverbs 29:15, “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” It is no wonder that so many children act the way they do when they don’t have a parent at home telling them “Yes” or “No.” Many youth today have never been disciplined by their parents. Yes, they have been yelled at when they’ve inconvenienced their parents, but disciplining when they do wrong has left the average home.
Another reason youth act this way is because everything has been given to them. The Scriptures are very clear that everything should be earned. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 says, “…if any would not work, neither should he eat.” Many parents have found it easier just to give their child what they want instead of making them work for it. God says in Lamentations 3:27, “It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.” If you give your child everything, they will grow up thinking that society owes them everything. I’m amazed as to how many parents feel it is their obligation to pay for their child’s college tuition. This only adds to the entitlement mentality that everything should be given to them. If a young adult works for their education, they will appreciate it much better.
One of the greatest contributions to this anarchy is that many parents have unknowingly trained their children to be an anarchist. I know these are strong words, but it is true. You ask how we have trained our children to be an anarchist? My answer is that we have trained our children to question and rebel against authority by developing certain attitudes that are detrimental to one’s future.
God says in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Parents are not only to train their children how to do things in life, but they are to train them the right attitudes as they do the right things. I’m afraid too many children have been shown what to do, but the attitude that parents have had towards how authority treats their children have contributed to the anarchist attitude we are experiencing today.
Before you think this doesn’t affect you, let me assure you that it is happening in our Baptist churches. No, most of our children or young adults are not taking to the streets to protest, but they are taking to social media and protesting what has been passed down to us from previous generations. They are in their 20’s and early 30’s, and they take to their blogs to detest the previous generation’s methods, even though they weren’t involved in the ministries or even alive during their ministries. There are several attitudes that parents have towards the treatment of their children by an authority that trains the anarchist attitude that many children have today.
1. Overprotective attitude
This overprotective attitude starts when the child is a baby. My wife has been a nursery director for many years. She tells me the alarming stories of how parents treat nursery workers. What you don’t realize is that the baby starts picking up on the parents attitude that authority is never doing it right. When parents think that nobody is good enough to take care of their child, they are already starting to train their child to challenge authority. Let me assure you that a child is not as breakable as many parents think they are. Babies are very resilient and can take the bumps and bruises that come with being in a church nursery or around other children. But, when momma goes ballistic against the nursery worker because another child has hurt her little baby, you are telling that child that they don’t have to listen to authority. It is sad when parents will take their child to the doctor or school and allow secularly trained people to care for their child, but they will not trust saved nursery workers in their church who are picked by their pastor. I am all for the parent’s authority and for a parent being protective of their child, but you must not get that overprotective attitude that believes nobody is good enough, or nobody else can properly care for your child. Yes, you should be sure qualified people are caring for your child, but some children need to be brought to the nursery in bubble wrap to keep the parents from getting upset with the nursery worker who, in their estimation, didn’t properly take care of their baby.
Central Baptist Church & SchoolLet me remind you of a verse that even applies to the baby. “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” (Romans 13:1-2) A little bruise on your baby is not going to hurt them. Have you ever thought that maybe your baby lost their balance on their own? Don’t make the mistake of training your child to have the wrong attitude from infancy by constantly challenging the nursery workers. Whether or not you realize it, it is an attitude that you are training your children.
2. My child can do no wrong.
I have seen this attitude numerous times. I’m always amazed how parents always think it is the authority who was in the wrong and not their child. Let me remind you of a couple of verses. Romans 3:10 says, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” Psalm 53:3 says, “…there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” These verses include your child. Instead of immediately taking your child’s side when they say an authority treated them wrong, you ought to hear what the authority has to say as to what your child did. You might find that your child isn’t perfect.
My parents always had the rule in our house that authority was always right. I know the modern day anarchist rolls their eyes when they hear this, but my parents never trotted me into the authority’s office demanding the authority to apologize to me. This was the best thing they ever did because it trained me that my parents were going to back any authority. One reason some youth today feel free to attack police officers is because their parents never trained them with the proper attitude towards authority; instead, they always accused authority of mistreating their child or condemned authority when their child was accused of doing wrong. It doesn’t matter how old your child may be; you need to back authority.
3. Someone else caused my child to do this.
I was talking to a parent who refused to acknowledge their child’s wrong. The mentality of this parent amazed me. Instead of making the child take responsibility for their actions, they accused another child of mistreating their child. Friend, it doesn’t matter if your child was mistreated or if another person contributed to your child’s wrong, they are still responsible for their actions. Romans 14:12 teaches, “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” Every person is ultimately responsible for their actions; this includes your child.
When you give your child an excuse for doing wrong by blaming it on someone else, you are enabling them to do the same thing again. If they are not held responsible for their part in a wrong, they will continue to escalate it until they break laws that will cause them to be incarcerated. Let me kindly remind you that a judge doesn’t care who mistreated your child or if someone else contributed to their actions. The judge is going to make your child pay for their wrong. The anarchist always blames others for their own condition, and if you never hold your child responsible for their own actions, they will take on the anarchist attitude.
4. Covering your child’s sin
Sadly, I have seen this more than I wish to talk about. Instead of being honest about what a child has done, many parents have covered it up instead of teaching them that there are consequences to every action. I know it is not easy, but you have to let your children pay for their sin. If you continue to cover your child’s sin instead of punishing them, they will continue to escalate what they are doing to the point where they will break your heart.
Jeremiah 31:19 says, “Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth.” Notice that this verse is teaching that repentance happened because he bore “the reproach” in his youth. My daughter has heard me ask God scores of times to allow her to be caught if she does wrong. You might think this is cruel, but I would rather her get caught and punished for the wrong when she is young than to get away with sin and think that she is above it. If your child does wrong, as embarrassing as it may be, make them pay for it. When you go through the punishment with them, they will see that you love them no matter how they live. Allowing them to be punished when they do wrong instead of covering their sin will help to keep them from developing an anarchist attitude.
It is not easy to train children, but you must be careful that while you are training them in what to do that you are also training them how to do it with the right attitude. Train them to respect and honor authority, because one day you are going to be the authority they will challenge if you teach them the anarchist attitude.
Ultimately, the attitude one has towards authority will come out in their Christian life. The reason we see young adults criticizing the methods and teaching of men of God from the past is because they were trained to have an anarchist attitude in their Christian home. Certainly, every child makes their own choice in life, but you can help them immensely to avoid the anarchist attitude if these attitudes above are not a part of their training.
“Give me 100 preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God; such alone will shake the gates of hell.” -John Wesley