Saw much more than I wanted to again this morning of a young lady as I was heading into my favorite family restaurant. I wondered if they were switching to Hooters or the Playboy club, but no, it was just a girl going out for breakfast during the Summer. Her tiny shorts were more like a bathing suit bottom than short pants!
And I thought again, “Does her dad have any idea she’s flashing his daughter around like that?” He may, or he may not care. The “standards” today are almost non-existent.
And before you start calling me a prude, think how our new standards are affecting life in the US. Rape, physical assault, and attitudes about what’s normal have been changed immensely in just the last 20 years. Just one generation ago, prostitutes weren’t allowed to wear in public what our precious children now wear to the mall, restaurants, or even church!
When parents stop caring how provocatively their children dress or what their children consider “decent,” their children will go as far as they can … then allow their children to go even further. That’s your grandkids I’m talking about now!
“B-b-but,” you stammer, “what can I do about it? She’s practically a grown woman! I don’t have any right to criticize her, do I?”
In Deuteronomy 4:9, we’re instructed, “Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren.”
In other words, you are to tell your kids what you’ve learned about the results of being too loose and unconcerned about your body, morals, or reputation. You, yourself will suffer from how your children display themselves in public, because anyone who sees your daughter running around nearly naked is going to place most of the blame on you for the way you brought her up and what you didn’t teach her. You will be judged by how you have raised your kids … you know that. You feel it every time your kids throw a fit in public and everyone’s eyes swing from the kids to you.
Then, there’s the repercussions on the kids, themselves (and your grandchildren, too). Jeremiah 5:7-10 says:
“How can I pardon you? For even your children have turned from me. They have sworn by gods that are not gods at all! I fed my people until they were full. But they thanked me by committing adultery and lining up at the brothels.
8 They are well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for his neighbor’s wife.
9 Should I not punish them for this?” says the LORD. “Should I not avenge myself against such a nation?
10 “Go down the rows of the vineyards and destroy the grapevines, leaving a scattered few alive. Strip the branches from the vines, for these people do not belong to the LORD“
And then God almost cries out His frustration over how our kids act (and don’t you feel it, too?) “Shouldn’t I punish them for acting out so badly?”
Don’t you owe it to your kids to warn them what they’re doing to you and themselves and to their children? Whose responsibility is it to teach them right from wrong, if not yours? And who will have to deal with the results of their falling away from the standards that helped raise them?
One last point: The time to teach your adult children right from wrong is Now. Proverbs 22:6 says
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Start with your preschool kids, teaching them modesty. Continue into elementary and middle school, guiding them to wear decent clothes, not the latest fads that try to turn little girls into adults too soon. And keep after them as teens to act in a way they will be proud to look back on as they grow up.
Whether they’re your biological or your stepkids, you are the ones responsible to demonstrate a good example. As a stepdad, I wasn’t directly held responsible for how my stepdaughter looked and acted, but I had the opportunity to guide her toward how she should act and what she should expect from boys she dated.
If it’s tough – it’s just part of parenting and stepparenting. But you’ll be proud of them later on when they continue to live the way you’ve taught them.
God bless y’all!
STEPcoach, Bob Collins