Where Have All the Parents Gone?
Parents enjoy a relationship with unique responsibilities regarding their children. Every child needs a relationship with a loving adult. This relationship allows the parents to influence their children in adopting ideas and behaviors with little resistance or questioning. In the event a parent uses their influence to foster justice, honor, respect and compassion things go well.
Problems arise when parents abuse or neglect exercising their influence prudently. During the early years, children’s impressionable minds are open to parental influences and habits, whether intentional or not. The problems of neglecting parental instruction are acute wide spread.
Presently, the use of respect has declined. The use of “Yes ma’am” and “No ma’am” is increasingly uncommon. The use of proper titles (Mr., Miss, Mrs., and Ms.) when addressing adults has also faded. Although some view these forms of respect as archaic, they are required in any courtroom as part of everyday life.
There is an increasing reliance on government to set limits on children’s behavior. Government now controls areas previously in parents domain. Warnings placed on music, television, movies and video games replace guidance once provided by parents. The reliance on government has also crept into after school programs to entertain, occupy and provide structured activities for our children. In an earlier generation, fathers and mothers engaged in sports and directed activities with their children.
Among many of today’s youth, there exists a sense of rootless ness and transience. Home is no longer a safe place, free from bullying and peer pressure. All a child must do is turn on the television and there is immediate access to lust, violence and death on demand.
Parents need to return home. Robert L. Dabney once said, “Parental love is the main bond of human society . . .” Once in the shelter of the home, parents need to reestablish it as a place of safety. Safe from physical, emotional and spiritual threats. Our children do not expect us to be perfect, but they do expect us to be available. Once parents return home, they can restore a sense of justice, honor, respect and compassion. Children need a sense of right and wrong beyond what the latest video game portrays.
Justice includes parents instructing children to respect others and their property, exhibiting good fair play and a respect of law and law enforcement. Honor includes training in manners and respect for authorities. It is not accidental that recent legislation in Louisiana mandates students show respect to teachers and authorities in school.
Compassion encompasses volunteer work and ministry. Such tasks as mowing or cooking for nearby elderly are practical application of compassion. Compassion is teaching our children to consider how their actions will effect others.
Parents pave the pathway for their children. Parents must soberly consider the direction given to our children in developing justice, honor, respect and compassion.