Reading Time: 5 minutes
According to Plato the two most important questions for society is who will teach the children and what is taught to them. That was true 2,500 years ago and it is still true today. Sadly, today there simply is no agreement on who teaches the children and nothing but confusion and wildly different positions on what should be taught.
Therein lies the greatest threat to children in our modern age.
Children are inundated from all sides with conflicting messages. Some say that America is the greatest country to ever exist, while others assert that America has never been great. The United States always rushes aid to areas anywhere in the world that suffers any kind of disaster. Yet we remain reviled by many for greed, corruption and overuse of natural resources. We fought a civil war to free the slaves, leaving hundreds of thousands dead and many more than that disabled. Yet there are a significant number of people who claim we remain a systemically racist nation. Some believe and teach that we should be sexually abstinent until marriage, while others encourage sexual experimentation whenever and with whomever you want, at any age.
In many of our schools it is the dark view of America that is being taught to students. Since 2003 the percentage of Americans who report they are extremely proud of our country fell from 70% to 38% today. For those 18 to 34 years old it’s fallen to 25%. Increasingly, our schools are indoctrinating children with negative messages about our history, about our form of government, about the state of our environment, about racial and sexual injustices. Children are simultaneously becoming hooked on a host of social media platforms which have been designed, intentionally, to be addictive. Much of what we learn about current events is learned through ideologically skewed and biased social media.
Entertainment—television, movies, music, video games—likewise has become a vehicle for promoting a progressive ideology. Even formerly family friendly Disney has become fully woke, promoting race and sex-based agendas. The left leaning tilt of corporate entertainment is now being mimicked by the rest of the corporate world under the guise of ESG (environmental, social, governance).
Government at all levels has adopted one of two polar opposite approaches, progressive vs. populist. The progressives aim for more centralized government control, more socialist policies. The populists favor smaller government, more personal control and more free market polices.
Children do not understand these differences. Not even high school students have brains that are developed sufficiently to effectively sort through the key factors necessary even to understand the differences. The brain continues to grow until about age 25, when the frontal lobe, the center of reason, becomes fully developed. Until then, children tend to be governed by their feelings and are highly vulnerable to suggestion and to manipulation by adults.
Parents today largely are disengaged from their children’s education, involvement with their children’s friends, even with their extra-curricular school activities—other than acting as cab drivers. This leaves the education and influence of their children mostly in the hands of other people. Many parents do not even know what their children are learning in school, other than in very general terms. They may pay no attention to what they are watching on television, what movies they go to, who their friends are or anything about their friends or their friends’ families. Nor do they often have any idea how their children are using the smart phone they gave them or the computers and laptops they use. On average, those between 8 and 28 spend 44.5 hours a week on their digital devices, according to the Center for Parenting Education.
Remember, all during these 44.8 hours per week, as well as in school, or hanging our with their friends, children are being bathed in conflicting information. Conflicting information they are mentally incapable of resolving other than by relying on those who are most influential in their lives. Too often the most influential are peers or teachers whose values and perspectives may not align with those of the parents. Frequently, children remain confused, depressed and anxious as a result of the conflict and chaos that reigns in most elements of our culture.
It is unhealthy for children to live in this state of confusion. Children need clarity, certainty, stability. Our society is increasingly becoming hostile to childhood. In 2020, 12% of children 3 to 17 years old “had reported as having ever experienced anxiety or depression, up from 9% in 2016.” It’s no wonder. Children increasingly are being taught that it’s not even certain they are boys or girls. Instead, the educational trend now is to teach children that doctors guess what sex they are based on how they look at birth. It is up to the child, they say, to determine as they grow older what sex they really are.
One of the lesser-known experiments by Ivan Pavlov involved dogs distinguishing between a circle and an oval. The dog would be rewarded if it pointed to a circle, but punished if it pointed at an oval. The experiment involved gradually changing the oval to look more and more like a circle to see how the dogs reacted. At some point the dogs became confused. Some dogs refused to choose, but others became agitated and anxious, spinning around in circles, barking and yelping. This is what we are doing to our children.
Parents need to retake control of what their children are being taught. We can no longer depend on proxies to do our job.
The most important job of a parent is to provide a stable, safe and secure home. A big part of that is for parents to be actively engaged in what their children are being taught at school, involved in their children’s activities, fully knowledgeable about their children’s friends and their families, and actively involved in supervising their children’s online life. If parents do these things, many of the dangers children face in our culture become somewhat insignificant.
It is especially important to help their children differentiate between right and wrong, between true and false, between good touch and bad touch, between safe people and unsafe people. They need to know the difference between good guys and bad guys. And don’t neglect describing what the wolves look like.
Children need to be raised with clearly understood values, preferably Christian values. If parents do not have a clear understanding of a biblical worldview (less than 10% of Christians do) then they need to educate themselves to pass it along to their children. The Bible identifies three kinds of people: the wise person, the foolish person and the evil person. There are no other kinds. Learn how to identify them, and teach your children to do so as well.
Predators, whether sexual predators or other kinds of predators, tend to target lonely children whose parents are not engaged or whose parents are easily fooled. They capitalize on the confusion of children in order to emotionally manipulate and exploit them. Children whose parents have not provided emotional stability or are uninvolved in the child’s life, are prime targets.
Don’t let your child become one.