by Mike McHugh
How easy it is to undervalue the blessings of being able to live in a civilized society where people hold to the Golden Rule, and where the words “please” and “thank you” are commonly heard. Unless you were born in a foreign country that was devoid of Christian culture, or at least visited such a place for an extended period, you most likely take civil tranquility for granted and seldom think of its origin. The changing face of modern culture, however, with its growing lack of civility demands that we all remember that the true foundation of any polite society is gracious people.
As the old saying goes, “manners don’t grow on trees”; rather, they are transmitted primarily from parents to children on a daily basis. One fairly obvious reason why a growing number of parents are failing to teach their children manners is that such instruction needs role models and clear rules to be effective; and these require time and courage. The sad reality of modern life, where high blood pressure is driven by even higher taxes, is that many parents lack the time to give consistent oversight to their children. Even when parents are able to carve out a chunk of time to be with their youngsters, however, too often they are inclined to want to entertain their children rather than correct their manners or attitudes. As a result, children often grow up with few social graces and even less knowledge of how to apply biblical ethics to real-life situations.
In by-gone days, when parents and children would actually eat meals and socialize together on a regular basis, it was relatively easy for parents to provide their youngsters with the type of correction and guidance they needed in the area of manners. Today, however, this is rarely the case as more and more young people are being mentored in their manners primarily by television and film personalities. Although it is true that various church and community groups are endeavoring to help stem the tide of troubled teens through special youth outreaches, such programs are much less productive than direct parental involvement in the lives of their own children.
The good news for families that want to raise well-mannered children, is that it is still quite possible to achieve this noble goal in spite of the difficulties previously mentioned. Any parent who is convinced of the value of raising a gracious child, should start by re-arranging the family schedule to permit each member of the family to eat together regularly. The next step, is to take out the family Bible and spend time studying the book of Proverbs with your children. This wonderful portion of Holy Scripture is filled with solid moral wisdom and dynamic principles for daily living. The last move on the road to better parenting, is to spend more time doing things with your children so they can be weaned away from the destructive role models they are accustomed to following on television and in music videos, etc.
These steps, coupled with some genuine effort to make sure that your children are yoked with friends that have high moral standards, will go a long way toward insuring that your children will not grow up to become part of the new wave of barbarians who are threatening to destroy our Christian civilization.
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Copyright 2006 Michael McHugh
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