(This is part 2 of a seven-part series)
Lack of information
Since the days of Moses, God has given the primary responsibility of teaching and training children to the parents:
These commandments that I give you today are to be upon 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. Deut. 6:6-7
Unfortunately, far too many parents abdicate their God-given responsibility of teaching morals and values to their kids by allowing the schools, TV or even their church to be their children’s primary teacher. In fact, only 10 to 15 percent of adolescents tell us that they receive any kind of good, positive, healthy, value-centered sex education or drug education from home.4 As a result, kids are making moral decisions based on too little information.
Today, there is a plethora of information on how to teach sex education. As far back as 2010, on the very same week the United States Government began to take away funding for abstinence-based programs, the Washington Post quoted a new pediatric study that indicates abstinence-based education is working in America. The public information coming out on sex education is a mixed message at best; however, there is one area on which all authorities tend to agree: the best positive, value-centered education comes from the home. I often tell parents that the more healthy information and dialog they have with their kids, the less promiscuous their kids will become.5
There’s no doubt about it: Being a kid today is much more difficult than it was when we were young. This means that producing a happy, healthy family takes more proactive work on our part than ever before. A proactive parent will look ahead at potential needs or problems and will take action to meet those needs or prevent those problems.
At the same time, we have fewer extended-family support systems in place and less time available to be proactive about providing healthy moral guidance and values for our family. And most of us parents didn’t receive positive, healthy, value-centered education from home. Our parents may have tried, but their parents didn’t do the job either, so most of us don’t have many positive role models for providing the kind of training our children need.
Dave and Pam Hicks have been excellent examples to Cathy and me of what it means to proactively parent. They’ve reared four absolutely incredible daughters. One of their daughters, Carrie, worked as my assistant for seven years, so I have firsthand knowledge that they did a magnificent job! Years ago, Dave and Pam told Cathy and me one of their secrets to a healthy family life: Every six months while their children were growing up, Dave and Pam would leave home for the day or overnight when possible. They would talk about each child one at a time and discuss what they hoped to work on in that child’s life for the next six months. They would write down their decisions and then review them during the next six-month period.
Cathy and I chose to follow their example and take time away to focus on our kids. We made important decisions during those times: we took our girls away at age 11 for the mom-and-daughter sex talk. I took the girls away at age 16 before they started dating to talk about the Purity Code*. Cathy and I both feel that our focused time away was a must for healthy parenting. When we become too busy to take time away, we’re allowing circumstances and chance to take the place of proactive parenting.
Parents, it’s time to bring morals and values education back home; it belongs there first and foremost. We must become students of the culture and take responsibility for equipping our children to develop sound biblical values and morals that will keep them from the dangerous influences of our culture. We don’t have an easy job—we’re bound to face some bumps, bruises and missed opportunities along the way—but let’s take time to learn from the experts on the subject of morals and values. You can begin to teach family values to your children when they’re young and continue as they move toward independence in the later teen and young-adult years.
*For more information or to order a copy of The Purity Code, click here.
- Candyce Stapen, “Speaking Frankly Isn’t Being Permissive,” USA Today, November 3, 1986, p. D6.
- Rob Stein, “Abstinence-only Programs Might Work, Study Says,” The Washington Post, February 2, 2010. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/01/AR2010020102628.html.