There is an old saying that goes like this: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
Case in point is a quote from a recent issue of The Gospel Advocate. “Another reason why the problems of youth are greater now than in former times is because we have no universally accepted standard of behavior. In years gone by the whole nation was pretty well agreed upon what is moral and what is immoral, upon what is proper and what is improper conduct. Christian parents could then allow their children to visit in the homes of friends even in a distant state and rest assured that they would watch over them, protect them, and, if necessary, correct and reprove them. This condition does not exist today. You might reprove a young visitor in your home today, only to find that the thing that you disapproved is not only sanctioned, but actually practiced, by the child’s parents. Or you might send your child into the home of friends today and later learn that those friends encouraged and led your child to do things that you have taught that child not to do.” The author of that quote is one of the most well-known preachers to ever fill a pulpit in the Lord’s church and no, the quote isn’t ripped from headlines in today’s newspapers. Those are the words of Brother G. C. Brewer and they were penned June 18, 1931. Yes….84 years ago!
I hear so many people today complain about America’s youth: “Why they are the most immoral, disrespectful, lazy, good for nothing generation ever!” You’ve likely heard the same thing, and if you’re honest, you might have even had the same thought as well! Yet, Brother Brewer’s quote reminds us that your parents probably thought the exact same thing about you and your friends when you were the “younger generation.” The truth is those kids that we’re all worried about today will probably be saying the same thing about their kids and grand-kids in just a few short years. Yes indeed, the more things change, the more they stay the same!
Kids today are unique because the world around them is changing so fast. Technology is moving us into the great unknown and the challenges are both great and frightening. Our kids today have all kinds of immorality right at their fingertips and it is nearly impossible for parents to know everything that their kids are doing, who they’re talking to and what they looking at. Yet, before you think the sky is falling, consider the parents whose children first had access to telephones, movie theaters, cars and television. I suspect that quite a few of them thought that the world was going to come to end too!
In fact, you can keep going back throughout history and find parents of every generation who were worried about the direction their children were heading. That was even true in ancient Israel. Yet, God, speaking through His servant Moses told parents how to prepare their children for a changing world. He instructed them, “[T]hese words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deuteronomy 6:6,7, ESV).
It is interesting that things haven’t really changed much, have they? Abraham’s sons were worried about their sons just like we are today. Oh sure, the temptations that our children face today may come in different packaging, but inside it is still the same old schemes of Satan. Yet, while the enticements are the same, so is the solution: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6). God’s Word provides our children with the answers to life’s issues and temptations. When we do our job as parents by instilling in our children a foundation built on Biblical teachings, when we model for them the understanding that God comes before anything else in the world, then we can confidently face the future.
Sure our children may make mistakes, just like we did (the more things change…), but God’s implanted Word will continue to speak to them and direct their lives just as it did with us (…the more they stay the same).