The obvious is evident. We don’t want to admit or acknowledge that there is a generation of children raising themselves but the truth is they are. Somewhere in the past 25 years parents have abandoned their responsibilities and mission in the area of nurturing their families. Maybe the advances in technology have been so addictive and enticing that parents are focusing more on their individual selves than the children that they have brought into the world. Maybe it has been the inundation of reality shows that carry the promise of quick riches and instant fame for adults that has taken time away from teaching a child right from wrong. It seems that parents WANT, they want teachers to raise their children, they want pastors, priests and preachers to raise their children, they want their own parents to raise their children. It seems that the only people they don’t want to have an impact in the lives of their children are themselves.
Living in Liberia and Honduras was a beautiful experience in that while I was living in two of the world’s most impoverished countires I saw fathers active in their children’s lives and mothers being the maternal strength that they need to be to their families. It made me think that maybe, just maybe, in countries that aren’t being invaded by computers, I-phones, high-speed internet, cable tv and all the other ammenities that possess our interest that the very foundation of the family is still worth building on. Not that you can’t find creature comforts of life and technology in Liberia and Honduras, you can and will, it is just that while these things have become a new and influential “religion” in the United States and other developed countries they remain just “things” in developing countries for the most part. There are exceptions in every culture and country no matter the economic health that exists in each of them.
One of the most powerful encounters I will ever have in my life is the thousands of children I have worked with. I have had a wide range of experiences to draw from as a basketball and football coach, an art teacher and a missionary around the world. I have spent the better part of my life teaching, coaching, encouraging and loving children and young adults and I was always dissapointed when I came across parents that showed more interest in thei to put your children firstr carrers, cars, bank accounts or investments then their children. And believe me I have meet hundreds of parents like this. Not all parents in Liberia and Honduras are good and not all parents in the United States and other developed countires are bad. My concern is that there is a general attitude that has put children at risk. Parents are living vicariously through their children using the age old excuse that they want their sons or daughters to have a better life than they have lived yet their actions scream that it is self-serving, hoping for fame that is at the heart of their motivation. Possibly the truth lies somewhere between.
What I do know is if parents don’t realize their responsibilties and roles in their children’s lives then we will, as a global community, continue to lose the moral fiber that is quickly disappearing in our world. It is past time that parents invest love, direction and counsel in their familie”s lives. Money and fame will only be a cancer that eventually will kill any hope for the future if it becomes more important than love and direction.
To all the parents around the world that love your children, teach them from right and wrong and spend time with your children I applaud you and say God Bless you. You are working to make our world a more loving, just and equal planet. To those who see you children as nothing more than an opportunity or commodity please find it in your heart to put your children first, second and last in your life. Take joy and inspiration from what they bring to you, not what you think you can use them for.