Facing The Challenge To Our Families
Leaving a Spiritual Legacy
Consider the impact of lives well lived.
In this issue, we honor the family, affirming parents in their crucial role in leaving a godly legacy for future generations. The experts tell us what we already know: troubled children grow up in broken families and well-adjusted children grow up in a secure and affirming home environment. Thankfully, there are many exceptions, but we can almost predict the lifestyle of a child by his or her home environment. Without question, the spiritual and moral climate of our nation is determined by the moral and spiritual climate of our homes.
My parents didn’t do everything right. They did not always affirm us as the experts say parents should; as children, we sometimes thought that they were too strict. But, praise be, they got the essentials right: from our earliest days we were taught to love God, hate sin and work hard. Yes, we were taught that honesty was more important than wealth, reading the Bible more important than reading novels, and prayer was a part of all we did. We knew we were loved because we were cared for and prayed for.
Theirs was not an easy life. They were Germans born in the Ukraine. When World War I began, Russia feared that the Germans within its borders might side with Germany, so my parents became refugees. My mother’s family was sent to Siberia, my father’s family went to Afghanistan. Space forbids me to tell the stories of hunger, physical suffering and the death of family members.
As God would have it, my parents independently emigrated to Canada where they met for the first time in a small church in Lang Saskatchewan. Within three weeks of their first formal ‘date’ (my father walked my mother home), they were married.
My father celebrated his one hundredth birthday this summer; my mother is 94. They’ve been married 71 years! To this day they read their Bible in German every day (though they can read English too) and spend a great deal of time in prayer. And they still exercise occasional hospitality when called for.
Recently I asked my mother, “Do you know the names of your 30 great grandchildren?” She replied, “O, yes. I have a list and I bring every one of them to my Heavenly Father each day in prayer!” Is it any wonder that their children and grandchildren have married believers and are raising godly families? The legacy just keeps going on.
My parents had the good fortune of raising us at a time when the temptations and pressures of the world were not as pressing as they are today. Let’s honor those who have modeled godly parenting in an age when everything that had been nailed down has been torn up.
Let’s pray for our families, for they are the hope for the future and the world.
Keeping the Family Strong
Recently, we asked Pastor Lutzer what challenges he sees to the family today, and how parents can keep their children following a godly path. We pray that his answers will be useful to your own family!
Q: What do you think is the greatest enemy of the family today?
A: Without question it is the entertainment industry. The children’s hearts are being stolen. Their bodies are left in the house, but their allegiance is to the gods of popular culture. I’m talking about movies, television, the vulgarities of some music, and the like. And of course, the internet, with its potential for good, but alas, also its potential for pornography, endless degrading images and unending curiosity.
Q: So, what should parents do about this?
A: As much as possible! Parents need to agree on a family standard and give reasons why they are drawing a line. I don’t think they should do this in a harsh, judgmental way, but they have to talk to their children about what they are watching.
I advise parents to listen to what their children listen to; to see the movies their children watch. Children rebel when they believe that parents don’t know what they are talking about. No child should have a TV in his/her bedroom; block out MTV; no home should be without a filter on the computer.
Q: What other enemies are out there?
A: Well, I think immediately of the school system of this nation. Some public schools are decent and fair; others tilt toward politically correct values and encourage promiscuity through ‘safe sex’ programs and the distribution of condoms and the like.
Q: Should parents home school?
A: I think that is a wonderful option, and if it is possible, yes. But many parents simply are not capable of this challenge for a variety of reasons, such as single mothers who have to work.
Our three children attended a private school, and many of these schools have scholarships for those who have financial needs. Even those that are not evangelical in theology do have higher values and stricter standards.
Also, keep in mind that many of our public schools still hold to decency and are careful about not deliberately alienating Christian values.
I’m reminded that Moses was educated in the wisdom of the Egyptians, and God used him mightily in spite of it. Because of his education, he was able to write the first five books of our Bible.
Q: What about a situation where neither home schooling nor a private school is an option and the public school is promoting immorality of every kind, including homosexuality and the like?
A: Difficult question, but let me try an answer.
First, parents have to try to work with the system. Find other parents who share your concerns. Sometimes principals and teachers are more willing to work with parents than expected, if they are approached properly. There are many success stories of how a few parents have made a difference.
Second, encourage children to participate in organized activities: music, drama, sports, etc. Parents have to monitor their children, keeping communication going in a non-judgmental way. Remember, rules without relationship is rebellion!
Third, the children must be in a good program of ministry at their church. My experience has been that if there is enough wholesome ‘peer pressure’ from Christian young people, the child will find the strength to resist the negative and destructive peer pressure at school.
Finally, Pray! Pray! Pray!
Q: What other challenges do families face today?
A: Divorce, addictions such as alcoholism, etc. This is why I believe so passionately in the Church; we have to become a family for those brought up in dysfunctional and broken families. May God help us rise to the challenge!