Several weeks ago, some members from our family were handing out tracts and talking to a group of at least 20 young people, (ages 14-25??) downtown in Moncton, New Brunswick. It was a truly sad experience. Can you imagine-no smiles, wild hair, tattoos, and numerous body piercings. But really the most striking phenomenon these unhappy people had in common was that each of them had a cell phone in their hand. These youth in groups of 2-6 seemed totally oblivious to the spectacular beauty of the river that was just beside them. Nor did they seem aware that the full moon was about to rise above the horizon of beautiful white clouds. They appeared to be absolutely incapable of any conversation longer than 30 seconds that was uninterrupted by yet another glance at their cell phone. That desperately melancholy scene was the seed for this post. As we (Marlin & Becky) discussed what we saw on the boardwalk beside God’s nature at it’s best, we decided to write the following as a warning for parents with young children. This is not an article announcing that we have done/are doing this perfectly and that each of our children will always be living for God. We have simply observed that parents who do any or all of the following tend to have rebellious children. We are giving this as a warning.
A Few Ideas on How to Produce a Rebel
- Hypocrisy: Look and act like a Christian, go to church, read your Bible, etc. etc. but don’t have your “walk” match your “talk”. Teach your children verses about honesty but cheat on your taxes. Sing songs about God’s love but don’t express love to your children. When you do fail (we are all imperfect and will do that many times!!), do NOT ask for forgiveness. Make it appear that you are always right!
- Bad marriage: Don’t pray with each other. Don’t enjoy each other. Put time with each other at a low priority. Speak unkindly/disrespectfully to and about each other. Keep divorce as an option in case things don’t work out as planned.
- Bad relationships with children: This one is easy. It will happen if you do nothing. It will be even easier if the mother works outside the home. As soon as possible put them in daycare. Give them unlimited time with their peers. Don’t include them in your daily life. Forget encouraging words or kindness.
- Lots of media: Use the tv or videos as a babysitter for your toddlers. Let them play video games even if it is only one “good” one per day. Teach them by example that it is more relaxing to watch a video than to have conversation or read a book. Another important aspect of media is to be sure you spend at least an hour a day on Facebook, texting on your phone, or surfing websites. More is caught than taught!! If possible, give them their personal cell phone, IPad, tablet, etc. before the age of 16. Having a personal tv in their room is helpful, too.
- No responsibility: Don’t assign them chores, and if you do, don’t check up on them. Let them know that you will always provide their favorite foods, toys, media, and clothes without any responsibility on their part. No dying to self here!!! If they do any work around the house, be sure to pay them or at least give them an allowance. “Protect” them from any work that could be dangerous in any way or could cause them pain or discomfort. If they complain, just do the work for them.
- If all else fails, put them in public school. There they will learn that there is no God, that the world evolved, and that there are no absolutes. They will be taught “politically correct” history, religion which will include EVERY religion you can imagine except Christianity, and a distorted and unBiblical sex education. A few side benefits will be lessons in disrespect of authority and property and using God’s name in vain.
***Added 8/15: Because of some misunderstanding, we wanted to reiterate that “we have simply observed that parents who do any or all of the following tend to have rebellious children.” We did NOT say that doing any or all of these WILL DEFINITELY produce a rebel. We have only stated that in many cases, it can produce a rebel.
We also want to clarify what we mean when we say “a rebel”. We are talking about young people who have no desire for the things of God; young people who care very little about their eternal security.
In our travels across Canada, the US, and Mexico, we have met many, many heartbroken mothers and fathers who are grieving for grown children who are not living for God. Many times these parents wonder what went wrong.
Please know that we are NOT making a judgement on your parenting, on the state of anyone’s heart, or on a rebellious teenager.
This post was written to encourage parents with young children (“we decided to write the following as a warning for parents with young children”) so that they will make changes as they prayerfully seek God.