Family Fight

It was after dinner on a Saturday night, the parents were entertaining some guests and had just joined their three teenagers in the living room. The TV was tuned to Malcolm In The Middle. In this episode, Malcolm (the teenage protagonist) was struggling with the issue of sex and dating.

Daddy: “Why are you watching this? I thought we’ve been through this before?”
Teenager: “That’s Sweet Valley Twins. It’s not the same.”
Daddy: “It’s the same to me, they keep dwelling on particular issues. See, the mother isn’t even giving the guy good biblical advice!”
Teenager reluctantly switches channels and mutters,
“I can’t watch anything, I don’t even know what my friends are talking about most of the time.”

The Teenagers’ Plight

When it comes to selecting  television  programmes, Christian teens, like the TV character Malcolm, are often “caught in the middle”! On one hand, they are tempted to join their friends in lapping up whatever the broadcasters offer, but on the other hand they are bound by their Christian morals and their Christian parents. As a matter of fact, our teenagers’ plight is not confined to entertainment issues. Think of our education system: there is now no one single path for all students. Think in terms of the knowledge explosion: all kinds of information is readily accessible through the Internet. All these and more compound the issue of making the right choices!  Is there even a right way? How can parents help our youths process the huge amount of information they get? How do parents guide their teens through a system that sounds very much like a “new frontier”?

The Parents’ Guide

Long before our time, the Psalmist shared the same concern very much like ours today…

The Psalmist knew that purity was and will always be an issue for many young people. The answer that the Psalmist had for himself was found in the commandments and precepts of the Sovereign Lord. Three principles can be derived from this passage for parents to guide their young.

Principle 1 “By living according to Your Word”

Parents need to regularly and constantly teach God’s way as the right way (Deuteronomy 6:5-9).
Regardless of what people may say or think concerning the value of God’s Word, every young person who desires to walk rightly will always be able to find clear directions from God’s Word. These days, it is so tempting to write off the value of the Holy Scriptures just because it seems to be “out of date”! Can we earnestly urge our children, like Paul urged Timothy, to continue in the things he learnt from the “Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you [Timothy] wise for salvation”? (2 Timothy 3:15)

Principle 2 “I have hidden Your Word in my heart”

Internalizing! Unless and until Bible truths are internalized, it will just be “head knowledge”!  Only truths that are assimilated and internalized could be of use in guiding our young people today. Parents need to teach their teens the “spirit of the law” and not merely the “letter of the law”. Instructing our kids on the “whys” of God’s precepts will equip them to face life’s tough and ever-changing challenges.

Principle 3 “I seek You with all my heart”

One implication of teaching the “spirit” of Biblical principles is that parents ourselves must know and walk ahead to make sense of confusing issues first. The Psalmist reveals his personal relationship with the Author of the Scriptures. He was seeking God and his entire focus for digging into God’s Word had to do with seeking the One he loves. It was this passion for God that motivated his study of the Scriptures. Yes, no matter how perilous and treacherous the path may become for our teens, there is always adequate guidance when we look to the Lord and His sacred Word. In times like this, the greatest heritage parents can pass on to their teens is simply the Word of God.

posted on Feb 2016