By Sally S. Creed, LPC-S, RPT-S
When my grandparents were raising kids in the 1940’s, they didn’t have “Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care Book” as a guide. Their children were brought up the same way they were raised. That’s how it was done back then. No one told them how to parent their kids, yet their kids turned out alright. Children were taught to “mind their manners,” be respectful of adults, say “Yes, Ma’am” and “No Ma’am,” to know right from wrong, and to go to church on Sundays. They had no televisions, no internet, no social media. They talked to each other and their neighbors often.
The way it was
When I was growing up in the 1960’s, my mom referred to Dr. Spock’s book mainly for illnesses. I believe that was the only book on how to care for children back then. Parents still raised their kids much like they had been raised: to respect adults, to work hard in school, to go to church on Sundays (that was the only place that was opened on Sundays), to know right from wrong, and to tell the truth. We had television, but it was black and white until I was about 7 or 8 when dad brought home a color TV. There was no such thing as “parental controls” because all television was rated G. I wrote letters if I wanted to stay connected to friends in other cities.
When my kids were growing up in the 1990’s/2000’s, we did our best to instill morals and values in them. We didn’t enforce the “Yes Ma’am/No Ma’am” verbiage at home, but we did enforce respect from them. We taught them to behave, to work hard in school, to go to church on Sundays, to do what was right, and to be truthful. They had Gameboys to play with when they were young, then game systems as they grew older. They watched TV, but only “safe” stations like Disney and Nickelodeon. Movies we watched together were appropriate for their ages. They weren’t interested in computers until they were in high school. Social media was only “MySpace” back then.
The way it is
It seems that children today are raised so differently that it bears asking: “Has the pendulum swung too far?” Many children have no respect for authority figures, know nothing of politeness, watch whatever they want on their iPads or iPhones with little to no parental control, are completely egocentric and have no idea how to share. Their families don’t go to church, don’t know how to discipline them, and don’t watch what they say in front of them. These children seem to be running their parents, instead of the other way around. I shudder to think how today’s kids will parent their own children in years to come.
The way of God
So where have we gone wrong? It’s simple. Go back to God’s original instructions and follow them to the letter. Find a church and make it a priority for your family. God wants to help you parent your children, since He was the One who created them and gave them to you. Here are only five of His instructions. Start with these.
“You shall not make or worship or serve idols.”
“You shall have no other Gods before me.”
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.”
“Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy.”
“Honor your father and mother.”
Unlike anything else in our world today, these instructions come with an unconditional guarantee: Know God, know peace. No God, no peace.