I can’t help thinking that the first thing Jesus will be saying to all of us parents when we arrive for the Particular Judgement is “What did you do with the children I gave you?”
Sadly, I think a great many of us will feel the burn on this one. (Or am I projecting there?) I can’t be the only one who has made some pretty awful decisions on child care, education and just general upbringing of children. Of course our children have free will and up to a point that means that no matter what we do to them or around them, the choice is their’s. But the fact remains that God gives us children as a means for us and them to get to heaven.
I really believe that trying to be a good parent today in the English speaking parts of the world is the most difficult it has ever been. In order to bring our children up to be good adults we have to navigate them and us through a truly toxic culture in which children are not at all respected and where some teachers are insisting schools are better parents than parents. Sadly there is some justification for this view. I still remember that music session I sat through with nearly 90 children aged 4 to 5. The musicians played some tunes the little ones could easily guess and then played some they didn’t think the children would recognise, including the Eastenders theme tune. The children were shouting it out almost immediately. Obviously taken aback the musicians asked how many children actually watched Eastenders and nearly every child there raised their hand.
Thank God I’m not that slack a parent, you might be thinking. But that only makes being a good parent harder. We can so easily sit back comfortably congratulating ourselves that we aren’t that bad, that we miss the goal of being good parents by a mile. When we really look at what is being asked of us, what those promises we made before God as our children received Baptism, really mean – it is truly scary! (At least I think so). Fighting the culture is a spiritual battle and trying to keep our kids from drinking the very poisonous Kool Aid is a day on day battle.
Pray and pray for discernment, so that we can judge properly what media is safe, whether what TV they watch, what gadgets and games they have or don’t have and what books they read.
What makes it so much harder is the astonishing fact that even though even the MSM has picked up on the dangers of computers in bedrooms and mobile phones and itouch in the hands of little ones – parents STILL do this. WHY? And then when a parent trying to be good and do what is best for her children removes the tech or refuses the TV programme she is almost inevitably faced with the come back, “But everyone else is doing it!” And of course the kids are RIGHT.
I am in the gentle lull between having adult children and children who haven’t reached the “difficult” phase yet. I hope that the fact they are home educated will put off the “difficult” phase. But they see plenty of children who live what Dr. Ray Guarendi calls “worldly” lives that it wont be long before I, like a couple of my friends, am facing the “But everyone else is doing it!” conversations. But I have had those conversations with the older ones in the past (especially over TV) and don’t doubt it will happen again.
I truly hope and pray that my children make good life decisions and that all of them are saved in the end. But I can’t help thinking that when mums and dads of my generation are facing our particular and even general judgement, that we can ask for massive mitigating circumstances. I do wish it was easier.
Don’t slacken for a moment, there’s a lion outside the door. (1 Pet 5:8)