EMM Main Blog
While the internet brings a wealth of information instantly to our finger tips, it also throws our children into an ocean of risk. Too often, our kids navigate those waters without a life preserver and become bait for the enemy’s piranha-like feeding frenzy to attack the weak. Parents today have more than their neighborhoods, schools and kids’ friends to worry about. The enemy is cleverly casting nets online fishing for their souls and God’s men must be aware of where their kids are swimming. For example, social media has brought the world together, while giving predators tools to connect while disguised in sheep’s clothing. Online video gaming, once a harmless recreation (remember Atari?), now provides realms of obscene and violent behaviors. And with every online search, marketers of all kinds of dangerous material get closer to home.
How will we secure the next generation of young men? By Kenny Luck We have all heard it. One man passing the "baton" to another. A father passes a baton to a son, an outgoing CEO passes one to the incoming one, or a retiring athlete passes the baton to his younger successor. Nice idea but wrong metaphor when it comes to faith, mentoring, leading, and discipleship. Why wrong? Because from the first relays in ancient Greece to the world track and field championships of today runners who pass a baton stop running after handing it off.
Fatherhood in America is in crisis, yet in a few days dads get a token holiday, with the annual hall pass to kick back on their throne of choice and receive gifts, cards, and a few bad ties. But if we step back, and look at the bigger, if not the biggest, picture, to gain God’s vision for fatherhood, we might turn Father’s Day on its ear and seek to bless our children, instead of receive blessings. Today, virtually every societal problem, social injustice and behavioral abnormality can be traced back to absent, delinquent, misbehaving, drunk, or sexually immoral dads who didn’t respect or understand their enormous calling. Consider these statistics from the Girl Scouts Research Institute: 90% of all women want to change at least one aspect of their appearance, and only 2 percent of women think they are beautiful. 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat. A girl is being bullied every 7 minutes. Every 15 seconds a woman is battered. 50% of music videos portray women as sex objects, victims, or in a condescending way. 1 of 4 college women has an eating disorder. 1 out of 3 girls between the ages of 16-18, say sex is expected for them at their age if they are in a relationship.
As children move though the teen years they desire to pole vault into independence. This, mixed with a bubbling set of hormones and an ever-expanding understanding of society, can make fathering teens one of the hardest, emotionally charged tasks for God’s man. Yet, it’s critical to “lean into” these years versus withdraw and not allow the pace of life or teenage attitudes to create detachment. Here’s why: this is when your children are in the “red zone” of identity and it is your responsibility to bring them into the end zone of adulthood. Unfortunately, reading between the lines of the following news reports, many teens suffer from a lack of fathers leaning in and taking their roles seriously resulting in unintended but very real suffering. Check out these national headlines from the last couple months, along with “My between the lines” take:
Miley’s manic behavior on the Video Music Awards got attention -- mostly bad. While the media analyzes her singing, dancing and unrestrained antics, gasping parents wonder “where did Hannah go?” while kids are undoubtedly celebrating her freedom of expression. Music bypasses your cognitive thinking and goes directly into your soul. It speaks. You feel it, and don’t typically think about it. Music can represent freedom, a place to go to when life weighs you down. It’s tempting to turn to music to escape instead of God. Music can be uplifting, and it can fan the flame of guilt, shame and rebellion. According to child therapists, music is the number one way troubled youth cope with their pain.