Monday, May 24, 2010

Walking with the Wise

Something was different about Johnny.

All through the years he just loved playing baseball, and spending time with his family. He always got A's on his school work and he kept to himself pretty much...until he started to hang out with that new crowd of boys.

These boys were different. They dressed in black, wore spiked collars and black nail polish. But mom and dad didn't say a word, they shrugged it off as a phase and promised they wouldn't interfere. Johnny had a good head on his shoulders and could make his own decisions. After all, they sowed some wild oats when they were teens and didn't they come out alright?

Well Johnny didn't come out alright. This was the wrong crowd. A crowd he should have not gotten anywhere near. What seemed to be harmless turned into a lifetime of addiction, shame, guilt and regret that changed the course of his life. He could not believe the damage he had done. Where were his parents, he wondered bitterly...why didn't they warn me?

"Do not be mislead. Bad company corrupts good character. Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God--I say this to your shame." 1 Corinthians 15:33-34

Johnny's parents were tragically mislead. They thought that Johnny's new friends were harmless, even though there were many red flags. They thought they should not interfere and it resulted in years of rebellious recovery for Johnny. It nearly cost him his life. They neglected their responsibility as parents and paid the high price for it.

I wonder how many times parents have turned a blind eye to their children's friends for other reasons. Perhaps to gain their child's approval, or to help them to become popular. They might have trouble with saying no. Or maybe they assumed the 'I am your friend, not your parent' position. Some just honestly did not notice until it was too late. When the above happens heavy consequences can lie in the future, many grieving parents who have lost their child can attest to this.

He who walks with the wise become wise, but a companion of fools suffer harm. -Proverbs 13:20

Who are your children's friends? Are those relationships bringing them closer to God? If not, is that lining up with the biblical goals for your family? We need to ask ourselves these hard question as we carefully assess their friends.

Our children need to walk with the wise. They need to spend time with the Lord and in His word to develop a strong, faithful walk with him. They also need to spend time with mom and dad. Parents need to actively put time into their children by shepherding their hearts and discipling. Do not leave this for another. Do not assume that when they get older they will make wise choices. Other wise friends can also include grandparents, elders, family members, godly men and women, boys and girls whom have a strong personal relationship with God (all screened by you and your husband, of course, and never to replace you). Many parents find they can do this more effectively by getting together with other families and watching over their children in a supervised setting rather than have them go out/spend time by themselves alone.

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child. Proverbs 22:15

Children do not know how to discern danger and many are actually drawn to it. If foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, then we need to be even more attentive, alert and purposeful in our parenting. The luring away of our children can happen subtly and quickly, I have even heard of stories of children being negatively influenced in what would be considered as 'safe places' such a youth groups, etc. by the other youth there whose parents who did not care or watch over what the children did. Many parents chose to homeschool to protect their children but stopped short there, the other activities the children were involved in surrounded them with the same influences they would have found as if they were going to school. These didn't understand what happened since they felt they were protecting them by homeschooling. And so we go on to this verse:

The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it. Proverbs 27:12

We were appointed by God to be in authority over our children. Not the culture, not the village, not Dr. Phil, not parenting magazines or psychologists. There are many voices that will pull us away from doing what we know is right with our children--do not listen to them, they are lies! (Colossians 2:8) Such as to let them wear that revealing outfit you don't approve of, or go to that party where you know there will only be trouble. Follow your instincts and say no! Have courage and be bold--these are our children that are at stake. God put you in charge. No one will love and protect them the way you and your husband do. The people who will want to influence your children and lure them away will not be around for them when they fall.

Stand your ground, Christian parents!

Protect your children

and help them to walk with the wise!

Note: Teaching our children to protect themselves is a must-- of course they will be in contact with non-Christians so it is important to teach them to respond in Christian love, sharing the good news of the gospel.

(She Looketh Well Series--Part 3)


gail said...

Well said June. We can not warn parents enough. This is so true. God's Word is Gold.

Out Back said...

Great post, I have absorbed every word and hopefully can start putting into practice what I should have been doing all along.

Thank you for putting this in such a way that is easily understood.

Now all I have to do is get my 14 year old teenage boy back on track...wish me luck.


Eagle's Wings said...

We made the mistake of putting our older children in Public School. While there they learned to live a "double life" fairly quickly. We have been going through years of heartache because one played this part so well we had no clue until it was too late. Our younger children will never set foot in a Public School if God wills it.

Anonymous said...

OOOh so true. Excellent post.

Rachel said...

Beautiful post! Its the honest truth, may God bless our children.


Heart of Wisdom said...

Great post. Friends can change lifves- for good or bad.

I wrote a lesson on "Wise Friendships" in the Wisdom Unit Study #homeschool

Sophia said...

Thanks so much for another incredibly accurate article! I get a lot of funny looks for treating our children like "hothouse plants", as some would say. But I'm responsible for them, and I don't want them to go astray. I remember how easy it was for me to go down the wrong path, and I almost didn't make it back.

Annette said...

Very well said!

omahadivision said...

As a former homeschooler, I'm concerned by the logic of this post. I've seen too many textbooks and homeschool seminars that teach parents to be paranoid of everything outside, and I've known too many homeschooled friends who became quite miserable because their parents suspected danger everywhere. It's the nature of any cloistered group to eventually think that all its preferences are absolutes, and I would caution you all against taking such a strong stance against what should be life learning experiences. If your kids can't stand the pressure, were they really raised right in the first place?

Jasmine said...

June, what a wonderful reminder. I read an article today from Nancy Campbell on a smiliar topic.

Thank you.

Dar said...

I sure wish that I could go back and be a better parent/teacher for our two boys who no longer live at home. I can't go back, but it is never too late to teach.

I would love to be able to share with my prayer ministry and quilt ministry (we make quilts for sick, neglected, abused, and/or abandoned children)your posts. May I forward them?

God bless you for your wonderful blog!

Charity Quilter Dar

Monica said...

Such a timely post for me!!! The only problem with me is that I DID invest in raising my daughter with much caution over friends she had, when I did work at the Christian school she attended I made sure to always be there for her and I would pray over her all the time. Yet, now at 20 (in 16 days) and choosing to live with us at home while going to a Jr. College, she is starting to make friends with boys who are non-believers! I have counseled her and warned her of dangers she cannot even imagine but she wants to be grown up and make up her own mind. I agree with her in being an adult and making her own choices (with their own consequences), but with a 9yo girl and 6yo boy still at home and under our love and care, I don't know if it is the best thing for her to continue to live here and have her siblings see the poor choices she is making...ugh! I just don't know what to do! She truly has a heart to seek her Maker but this world is just enticing her so much!!!

The Homesteading Apartment said...

Such an awesome post! My mother said she would have done so many things differently and one of those would be to homeschool us. Jr and Sr High was horrible and friends played a crucial role.

I think more and more parents are seeing the importance of reconnecting with their kids and many are bringing them home for schooling. There is so much that they are exposed to these days and having a strong Christ centered home can combat anything (:


Mrs. June Fuentes said...

Dear Omahadivision,

Thank you for sharing.

I truly believe that parents are not careful ENOUGH today and the media is filled with such tragic stories.

If there are clear warnings in the Bible we need to adhere to them and not worry if we are making our children 'miserable'. This can very misleading, as our lives should be Christ-centered and not child-centered. That is what I would consider as a worldly philosophy that is warned against in Colossians 2:8. The world teaches the parent to make their children happy while the Bible talks about obeying God and bringing glory to Him. Of course, no loving parent would set out to purposefully make their children 'miserable' but would go about watching over their circle of friendships in a loving way, guiding them to the right influences. Unfortunately, it sounds as if you have known parents that have taken this to the extreme.

In regards to simple life learning experiences, the post is referring to danger through wrong friendships and walking with the wise. Over sheltering is not the topic nor advocated.

"If kids can't take the pressure, were they raised right in the first place?"

My response to this is that many adults likewise cannot take the pressure. If adults fail and fall into sin (even the godly ones), then the temptation for children is ten times more likely. We are called as parents to PROTECT them and not just throw them to the wolves to see if they can take 'the pressure'.

the chaneys said...

This is such a great topic to post!
We sat around the table and talked to our children about this same topic today. We talked about protecting our kids from birth and we wont throw them to the wolves just because they are older. Thank you for the great scripture!!

kimberly in idaho said...

Loved this post! Everything you said is true! If only parents would see the bigger picture and not just say "oh, you know, kids will be kids!". I hear this all the time from Christian and non-Christians alike. Thank you for the wonderful post.

Barbara said...

Such a wonderful Blog, and such a great post, thank you for sharing this, I love the ones who have lots of Scripture, bless you, and stop by and visit me when you can, over at Hugs Barbara

Valerie said...

Hi June.

Wonderful post. And so very true.

I learned from a Brain-Based education class that the adolescent brain is not fully mature and capable of making logical decisions until about age 21...maybe even later. So, it is very important that we ACT as the guardians of our children that we are meant to be ALWAYS!

And this just doesn't mean avoiding public you mentioned toward the end of this blog, there are other influences at "youth group", the public pool, the shopping mall, etc.

I watched with despair as the mother across the street lost complete control of her homeschooled daughters. Daughter pregnant at 17. Daughter #2...12...went Goth. What in the world???!!! Clearly some outside influence was intervening in these two young ladies lives and it wasn't public school.

My parents were very strict about friendships...I didn't really like it at the time, but now, as a 40-year old woman and mother to a 5 and 3 year old, I totally get it! It was their job and now it is my job too!

Valerie said...

Wonderful post.

When I was about 15-16 years old, I began hanging out with a girl who had few morals. About a year ago, I asked my mom why she allowed me to hang with such a girl, and my mom claimed that God had given her peace and had told her that she needed to give me space, that he would protect me.

I think what she really heard was the devil's lie. Because, while God protected me from death, through this friend I tested drugs and alcohol, snuck out of her house to run off with our boyfriends, and was encouraged to wear skimpy clothing (which I borrowed from her- my parents would NEVER have allowed such clothing) and was also encouraged to be promiscuous. I NEEDED someone to tell me no... and that didn't happen. My parents KNEW this girl had a poor example. She had shown up at our house, dropped off by her boyfriend, extremely drunk and I had to care for her.

Too often, parents think they need to give their young teens "space to make mistakes"- and yes, we do have to allow our children to make mistakes, but we also should step in- especially in situations like this, and protect them from others.. and themselves. Especially if they are not yet strong enough to resist such temptation.

I am grateful that I came out on the other side of it all "unharmed", but the regret and the pain of my past still makes me ache at times- but at least I've learned a great lesson in protecting my own children.

Mom to 9 Blessings! said...

This is such a beautiful post and I couldn't agree more!

We are a family of 11 - raising 9 mighty arrows for His Kingdom!

I praise God for the encouragement you shared here today and the wisdom that will challenge many who call themselves Christians.

Blessings and love,

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