My preteen daughter would not talk to me. I was traveling around the country speaking to thousands of parents, teaching them how to communicate biblical values to their children. But my own daughter was barely speaking to me. I felt like a hypocrite. I was an “expert” in communication, yet I couldn’t communicate with my own daughter.
Either I needed to find a different line of work, or I needed to find a way to encourage my daughter to open up and communicate with me. More importantly, I didn’t want to lose my daughter.
I remember thinking, What’s wrong with her? She’s just eleven. How bad could it be? I was certain I could give her a few words of wisdom and get her back on track.
So, I asked Annie what was wrong. Her response was a cold, “Do you really want to know?” Uh-oh! I thought this was going to be a little misunderstanding I could fix in a few minutes. Not so. I closed the door to her room and sat on her bed. She looked me in the eye and said, “You’re just a chore-giver, Dad.”
Just a chore-giver! She could not have hurt me more if she’d hit me between the eyes with a two-by-four.
How about all the soccer, volleyball, and softball games I attended? How about playing catch and going to her school programs? Didn’t that count for anything? I desperately wanted to argue and defend myself. Thank God I didn’t.
I quietly listened as she explained how she saw me as someone only concerned with getting the chores done so people would think I was a good parent and my children were under control.
She said I never took time to listen; I only gave instructions. As I listened to her this time, I realized she was right. I was full of advice, directions, and criticisms. After all, people paid good money for my advice. I wrote books filled with my good advice and I was giving it to her for free.
Maybe, just maybe, she didn’t need my advice all the time.
I thought of reminding her that her mother assigned as many chores as I did. As she talked I realized she didn’t see the chores from her mom as a negative. You see, her mother took the time to develop a solid relationship with her first. Her mother seldom offered advice unless she was asked. My daughter saw her mother as her friend. Chores from a friend are not a negative experience. Chores from a chore-giver are punishment.
The problem wasn’t the chores; the problem was I didn’t take time to cultivate a trusting relationship with my daughter by listening to her carefully and appreciating her many good qualities.
When I began working to develop a deeper relationship with her, the chores didn’t seem to be such a problem. Now, as an adult, she doesn’t even remember our conversation. But it changed my life.
That conversation was more than twenty years ago. Raising children in today’s world isn’t getting any easier. In fact, as I watch Annie raising her children, I realize she has to deal with issues that weren’t even invented when she was a child. Like all parents, she works to keep the areas of communication open while popular culture is pulling on the fabric of her family’s values.
In 2002, a study commissioned by the Southern Baptist Convention, and later validated by Christian pollster George Barna, showed anywhere from 65% to 75% of young people raised in Christian homes do not live for Jesus Christ as adults.
How can this be? Either Christianity doesn’t have the right answer, or we are conveying the right answer improperly. I believe it’s the latter. Let me explain.
We are in a spiritual war and one of the most effective weapons aimed at us is today’s entertainment. It’s tempting to dismiss entertainment as simply amusement. But, while Christians are entertaining themselves, they are often learning to conform to the immoral values of this world. In other words, much of the Christian community is entertaining itself to spiritual death.
God’s Word clearly warns us to avoid such dangers. “Don’t let others spoil your faith and joy with their philosophies, their wrong and shallow answers built on men’s thoughts and ideas instead of what Christ has said” (Colossians 2:8 my paraphrase).
The vast majority of today’s entertainment is based on some man’s or woman’s philosophy. Before it was a song, movie, TV program, or video game, it was someone’s philosophy. Paul is warning us. If we continue to entertain ourselves with philosophies of this world that are against biblical values, these philosophies will eventually undermine our faith in Jesus and the joy of our salvation.
How is your faith in Jesus? How is your joy? Faith and joy are fruits of the Spirit. Could it be your entertainment is undermining your walk with Christ? How about your children’s faith and joy? Could their entertainment be instrumental in undermining their relationship with you and with Christ?
Deuteronomy 6:7 commands us to teach our families about God: Whether we’re at home or on a journey, from the time we awaken to the time we go to bed. Instead of teaching His values in this manner, we too often let the enemy teach his values to our children through the world of entertainment.
We are losing our children in this spiritual war without even realizing we are in a battle for our families. Because immorality is presented in such an entertaining manner, we believe it doesn’t affect us—but that just isn’t true. There is a direct relationship between an individual’s entertainment choices and his spiritual choices; between an individual’s entertainment choices and his relationship with others.
Reconnect will help you become more aware of what is happening in the secular entertainment media (music, movies, television, video games, the Internet) and the influence they have in our lives.
- You will learn how to respond to this influence in a biblical manner without alienating your kids.
- You will learn how to set biblical guidelines for making wise entertainment choices.
- And, most importantly, you will learn how to Reconnect: When Your Kids are Connected to Everything…But You!
Al Menconi, Al Menconi Ministries, Parenting, Parenting help, Christian parenting, Christian parenting help, Parenting advice, Christian Parenting advice, Parenting tips, Christian parenting tips, Entertainment advice for parents, Entertainment advice, Christian conference speaker, Christian counselor, Change your life, Change your world, Put a new song in your heart, Keep Kids Safe In the digital age, Keep Kids Safe in the Internet age, The Christian Music Diet, It Doesn’t Affect Me, Stop the world I want to get off, purpose in life, worship God