Where Are Today's Parents?

Michael E. Grushon
Louisville, Kentucky

It is very easy to become disconcerted about the problems that plague our society. If you read the newspaper or watch the television newscasts with any regularity, you most certainly are informed of many things that seem to be tearing the vitality and strength right out of our society. Not the least of our country's problems is the plight of its young people. If you are not convinced that our young people face any real problems in their lives, consider these three items involving our youth:

Item Number One. On a recent Chicago Report on NBC, it was reported that a pusher was arrested at a suburban Chicago school for selling marijuana. He was selling the marijuana to junior high and senior high school students at a cost of one dollar per cigarette.

Item Number Two. A special entitled Can You Pass the VD Test? was recently aired on the local CBS affiliate. One of the most startling statistics given during the entire program was the fact that the occurrence of venereal disease is increasing most rapidly in the 12 to 14 age group.

Item Number Three. During the past basketball season (I coach a little league basketball team) one grade school youngster reported that someone stole twenty-five dollars out of his wallet. When the proper officials checked with his parents, they affirmed that he could have had that much money on him at the time.

Without a doubt, many of our young people are vexed with serious problems. The examples that I have cited tend to indict the parents of the young people to the degree that the parents have failed to restrain their children. I would hope that this problem is not as severe among young Christians and their parents, but I am sure we can all profit by examining the question, "Where are today's parents?"

God has charged parents with the responsibility to educate and discipline their children. The apostle Paul said, "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4). Many young people who could be a positive force in society end up in trouble because their parents neglect their responsibility to build and mold the character of their sons and daughters. Many of the young Christians who become derelict of their duty before God are those raised in homes of parents who were Christians, but never obeyed the gospel themselves are in the condition that they are simply because their parents did not take time to bring them up in God's discipline or in His instruction.

The three items that I mentioned at the first of this article speak loudly of the prevalence of parental neglect. Marijuana sells for a dollar a cigarette, and hard drugs cost much more, yet a pusher can do a thriving business at the local school. No doubt the parents cried out in anguish when they heard of the arrest, and undoubtedly they wanted to know why the school had not caught the man before they did! I am plagued by other questions. What I want to know is why the parents of junior high and high school students will allow them to have so much extra money. The pusher would not be at the school if business were bad, so he was making money. Where were the teenagers getting all this money? You know how they got their money? Mom and Dad gave it to them. We are living in an age when it is not much of a joke to hear that Dad has to ask his teenage son for the use of the car. Too many young people are indulged excessively by their parents, and they use their abundant wealth to buy pot, alcohol and other luxuries. Not every young person uses drugs, but the parent who supplies his child with a large bankroll and then does not care where it is spent is inviting trouble. Can you imagine an eleven year old having twenty-five dollars in his wallet? I doubt if I even knew what a wallet was at that age, much less have one with twenty-five dollars in it! Parents, do not make the mistake of indulging your teenager with excess money.

The second mistake often made by parents is indifference and unconcern. Because they indulge the material wants of their children, many parents evidently feel that they have fulfilled their parental obligations, and leave their children to live their lives without direction and guidance. When children are left without guidance the result can be disastrous. The dramatic increase in the rate of venereal disease between grade and junior high school student is damning evidence that far too many parents are allowing their children to enter unguided into relationships for which they are not sufficiently mature. Is it any wonder that such voting people are contacting a disease such as syphilis when parents are pushing voting girls into tinder garments designed for the figure which "is about to be," when voting boys and girls are encouraged to date when they ought to be riding bicycles and playing with dolls, or when grade scholars are "going steady"? We have to face facts; VD is not contacted in the normal course of supervised activity. This problem and many others faced by today's young people are the result of children or young adults being left alone to cope with emotions and situations that they are not mature enough to handle.

As Christians, let its be admonished to obey God's instructions to parents. It should not be necessary to warn Christians of the dangers that their children face from the influence of the world, but too often we find our voting Christians straying into worldliness. Let its learn from the plight of the world and front the word of God that as parents we need to be actively concerned about our children's welfare, and we need to show this concern by involving ourselves in their lives and teaching them the righteousness of God.

April 12, 1973