As parents, the goal is not just to get children to obey, but to help them develop a healthy conscience—an internal sense of right and wrong. Children of all ages, but especially teenagers, need to know precisely what is expected of them and what the consequences of disobedience will be. Do not use harmful words in talking. Use only helpful words, the kinds that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you.
God knows that His likeness resonates in the human heart, drawing honest-hearted people to Him and setting them on the path to everlasting life. Good character is what we look for in others. It is what employers look for in us and, most importantly, this is what God looks for in us. How we accomplish something should always have priority over what we accomplish. It is a problem for youth when the goal of wellness turns into an obsession with them. We no longer honor the wisdom and beauty that can grow with age. We live in a death-denying culture.
One of the reasons America prospered was a strong emphasis on traditional family values that included instruction on the differences between right and wrong, teaching that began in the home and continued at school. The perspective regarding social morality has changed dramatically over the last generation or two. What was considered abnormal is now considered normal, such as promiscuous sex. We need to examine how these changes are impacting the whole of society.
There are many paths one may follow in life, including the way of materialism and secularism; however, only one way leads to eternal life. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” We can tolerate almost any situation when we have hope that things will get better, even when conventional wisdom might suggest we give up.
Self-reflection is always a good exercise. What I believe is a work in progress, not limited to these statements and subject to change. What do YOU believe?
Longtime Parma Hts. resident and educator in the Parma School district.