You’ve seen it all over social media. Another tragic school shooting. More lives lost. More outcries about gun control.
Among all the typical political yelling matches, one voice in the fray caught my attention.
Middle school teacher Kelly Guthrie Raley made some profoundly sensible remarks in a now-viral Facebook post following the mass shooting in Florida.
Raley bravely tackled issues such as:
- Lack of discipline in the home
- Lack of parental support of teachers
- Defensiveness and blame-shifting on the part of parents (making students’ poor behavior the teachers’ fault)
- Lack of moral values
- Violent video games (which take away any compassion for the lives of others)
- Reality TV shows (where people scream at each other and value no one but themselves)
“Parents, it’s time to step up!” Raley urges. “Be the parent that actually gives a crap! Be the annoying mom that pries and knows what your kid is doing. STOP being their friend. They have enough ‘friends’ at school. Be their parent. Being the ‘cool mom’ means not a damn thing when either your kid is dead or your kid kills other people because they were allowed to have their space and privacy in YOUR HOME.”
What can Christian parents gain from Raley’s admonition?
In days past, parents felt free to exercise their God-given authority in the lives of their children.
Due to the influence of postmodern psychology, today’s parents face overwhelming pressure to coddle, enable and over-protect their children.
Parents are pressured to be “cool.”
They’re concerned with whether or not their kids like them. They may hover over their children, anxiously shielding them from failure.
They may withdraw to give their kids space and privacy.
Kids don’t need a mom or dad who is their buddy. They need parents who are willing to be parents.
Christian parents understand it’s not up to school teachers, youth pastors or social workers to shape our son or daughter’s character. That’s our job.
God’s Word tells parents to instruct their children concerning his commands and to model a lifestyle of obedience. We are to function with loving confidence in the authority God has given us.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on 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. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” – Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Note the level of engagement here.
Christian parents have a responsibility before God to be intricately involved in the lives of their children the entire time they’re under their roof –and the children’s role is to honor that authority.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” –Ephesians 6:1-3
Your child’s bedroom belongs to you, not your child. You decide whether they get to play video games.
You decide whether they get a smart phone, and what the boundaries are. You decide where, and with whom, they may spend their time.
And so on.
God has called you to be a parent, not a best buddy, to your child.
If you’re willing to be the parent now, you’ll get to be best friends with your adult son or daughter later.
That’s how it works.
My husband and I are glad we weren’t “cool” parents – and so are our grown sons.
In what area do you find yourself hesitating to “be the parent?”