By Ryan Webber
Back in my day . . .
Don’t you find yourself spiraling into a depression just having that thought? How in the world can I be thinking that thought, that old person thought?
But it’s a sentiment that inevitably bubbles to the surface of every generation’s collective thought whenever they see the chaos that is the current culture. We see what is and long for what used to be.
But, back in my day . . .
Cultural changes didn’t happen this fast. We live in a world where a man can decide he’s a woman and make all the necessary changes. We live in a world where homosexual marriage is not only tolerated and accepted, it is celebrated.
This is a culture where, a month ago, the thought of removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina state capitol building was absolutely unthinkable. And it’s removed due to a movement that lasted only a little over two weeks.
Culture and its shared ideals change quicker than we can imagine or keep up with because of the onslaught of the technological boom, a boom in which our teens are smack in the center and completely and irrevocably attached to.
Don’t believe me? Take your teen’s phone away for a night and watch the nervous twitching and teenage temper tantrums begin. They are a native technological culture immersed in rapidity. Their lives change on a dime.
But they need consistency. They need a foundation. They need a Solid Rock of moral, biblical reliability.
And it needs to come from you. Not just the church, not just Pastor Matt or Don or me, not Twitter or Instagram. Yes, it needs to come from Mom and Dad.
But how do you tread these dark and murky waters, talking about situations and scenarios that you want to stay as far away from as humanly possible?
It starts with confidence in what you are talking about, confidence in a biblical worldview of cultural trends and events swirling around us. This means you can’t live isolated in a Christian bubble: it means you have to engage in culture, and that’s downright scary.
I have spent almost ten years now in Children’s and Youth Ministry and I have spoken to thousands of youth about any and every struggle and cultural event going on around them. Whether speaking about sexuality and purity, homosexuality, evil, tolerance, Islam, religious pluralism, absolute truth – you name it, I’ve probably engaged children in it.
I engage it because that’s what they want to talk about. They want to talk about what’s real and relevant in their minds. They will put on an act that they’re not interested, that they don’t want to talk to you. But that’s only because they think you’re afraid to engage it.
So do not fear. For He is with you. Don’t be dismayed. For He is your God. He will strengthen you and help you. He will uphold you with His righteous right hand.
That’s Isaiah 41:10 and it’s a promise straight from His Word.
The answer to talking to your kids about the cultural changes that are overrunning this country is to talk about them. Overtly! Don’t shy away from the words that you don’t want to say, don’t be afraid to come right out and speak.
Because it’s only when we are completely open to engaging in a wild culture with the constant truth of Scripture that anything changes. These conversations need to happen. The deepest conversations I’ve ever had with teenagers got deep because I plunged them to the deepest depths I could, right from the very beginning.
I say, “This is what happened, this is what people think, what do you think, this is what God thinks.”
It’s really that simple. Don’t be afraid to open your Bible and search for eternal answers to today’s problems. Don’t be afraid to talk to your kids about what you find.
Because reading the Bible and engaging your kids with it, yeah, that’s biblical too:
“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
Let’s write some Scripture on the doorframes of our houses, and hey, let’s put them on the doorframes of our teenager’s bedrooms, as well.