Make no mistake. There’s a battle raging. If you’re not fighting it—it’s because you’re losing and don’t even know it. You can learn how to be a better father.
Question: What scares you about the world your child is growing up in?
I wrote about how being a father means fighting the culture with the gospel before. Did you read it? I want to help us dads start thinking about how we can and should shape our kids—instead of letting culture do it. So, you get you’re in a battle. Now, the first idea is often to go on defense. Maybe you’ve already gathered up bible verses about protecting your child. This isn’t bad. But, let me tell you a story…
In 1999 the St. Louis Rams averaged 33 points per game. They were known as the “Greatest Show on Turf.” Queue the The Greatest Showman music; but seriously, that’s astounding. You couldn’t stop them, and they took the show all the way to Super Bowl XXXIV beating the Tennessee Titans 23-16.
Newsflash: One day very soon, your child will no longer live under your roof. This either strikes a euphoric sense of happiness in you. Or, generates much fear and trembling. My hope is for a more even keel as it relates to your child leaving your nest!
When it comes to winning the culture war, we must be on the attack. We must learn how to be a better father. What are you doing as it relates to school, entertainment, and social media—to name a few?
Consider your example
As a parent, what are you modeling for your children when it comes to how you handle situations in life, how you enjoy and think through entertainment and how you use social media? Reminder: how you live matters. For example, we talked about boundaries and filters, what do you have set up for yourself? If you’re setting up boundaries as a defense for your children, then your own boundaries probably shouldn’t be different.
Consider the areas we’ve discussed from entertainment to social media. When it comes to culture, these are the things that seem to shout at us the loudest. Are you shouting back? Can your child look at your “Continue to watch” section of Netflix and press play on anything? Could your child pick up your phone and run through your social media accounts? While I get it, there are ratings and the like—I think it’s worth considering here—what’s good enough for your children—should be good enough for you.
Quick question: Could it be that how we win the culture war with our children has something to do with how we handle the culture war against ourselves?
We’ve allowed our 13-year-old’s to have phones. Quite the offense, if you ask me, and for many, it may seem as if I’ve gone crazy. I haven’t—I promise. Part of biblical parenting is building trust in your children and giving them room to grow and maybe even make mistakes. I’m not saying you should give your kids phones. That’s your call. Our offensive game-plan was to give them this opportunity then come alongside and help them navigate the maze of today’s culture.
Don’t worry—there is help.
Do a quick search online. You’ll easily find tools to filter internet content at your home. Not only that, but you can manage how much time your kids are allowed on the internet, pause the internet, and view internet usage. Today’s culture is digital, so make sure you’ve set yourself up to be proactive in protecting your kids.
It’s more than a digital age, so don’t only think defensively pertaining to media, think offensively when it comes to raising your children in today’s culture. I’d like to think we should live counter-culturally. What is culture screaming at you? Everywhere you look you’re told how you should believe, what to tolerate, how to raise your children, and how to live your best life now.
Raising godly children in this world will not get easier; in fact, it will get more difficult. I say that, not to scare you, but to challenge you.
What do your children see?
Your children need to see how you love God, how you love your spouse, and how you love others.
I’m fully aware this goes back to you accepting the influence you have over your family, and taking hold of that reality is a good offense.
How will you respond when your child comes home with questions about homosexuality, bullying, or other current cultural issues? Are you going to wait for them to come and talk to you or are you going to go on the offensive and speak to them and prepare them for the conversations they’ll have in the future? If you wait to speak to them on these issues until they bring it up, then you need to know you’re too late because someone else may have already started to speak into them.
When’s the last time?
When’s the last time you talked to your children about homosexuality? Now, I completely understand there’s a level of discernment when it comes to this conversation, but you can’t wait until they’re in high school.
When’s the last time you had a conversation with your children about sex? If they’re not hearing about it from you then they’re hearing about it from someone else. Whose voice do you trust more?
When’s the last time you looked at what your children are watching on Netflix? How about YouTube? What music are they listening to? When’s the last time you checked out who’s following them on social media or who they’re following? Don’t be a bystander in the life of your children. Likewise, don’t only fight the culture battle against your kids while losing the culture war with yourself.
Don’t avoid the subject
Avoiding a subject doesn’t make the subject go away, it simply silences your voice. Make sure you are a continual voice. That your voice is the voice they hear the most. That your voice is rooted in Scripture. You understand what you entertain yourself with comes from where your heart is. Trash in—trash out.
But, more importantly, why are you craving the trash in the first place? From the movies you watch to the music you enjoy—on down to how you spend your time with friends and on social platforms—do you make these choices knowing that one day you will give an account to God?
If you parent with this understanding, my hope is that you will win this battle. If your compass is pointed to God, you’re much more likely to point your child to God—more than you are to your rules or your desires.
Question: It’s up to you to take action and help your children take action to prepare them for today’s culture. What scares you about the world your child is growing up in? Make a list. Tweet us @manhoodjourney or you can always email us.
What’s your next step for how to be a better father in today’s culture?
Parenting in today’s world is being open and having conversations about what your child is facing. It’s time to play offense. Here are three ways we can help you get ready for the tough conversations:
1. Get help. Snag an eBook you can download immediately to overcome your most-pressing struggle as a dad.
2. Grow deeper. The Connected Father digital course will help you lead without regret.
3. Gain community. Join our Father on Purpose digital community right now for access to tons of tips, tools, resources, and other dads going through what you’re going through.
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