As a parent, it was not something I expected to have to deal with this early. Our oldest, Jeff, came to us to ask about attending a get-together sponsored by the city of Bedford. Designed for kids not yet old enough to drive, it is held each weekend in the gymnasium of one of the local parks, and offers games and refreshments and the like. He explained that some of his friends were planning to go and play basketball, and that he would like to go along.
<p> It was only later that he also explained that some of his friends would make fun of him if he did not agree to slow dance with a certain girl. My first thought was, "I'm too young to have to deal with this." Then, "He's too young to be dealing with this." Finally, I came to myself and we sat down and discussed the spiritual problems involved with dancing. It was difficult (try explaining feelings of lust to someone not old enough to have experienced those feelings), but he eventually understood that dancing was not an activity in which Christians should participate. </p> <p> What the whole incident served to point out was that things are radically different for today's children. No one promoted dances when I was ten years old. The change in moral climate was further brought home when, in a class of young men in high school, I gave a survey. One question was, "What problem do Christian teens face that adults in the church just don't get?" The prevailing answer was, "How difficult it is to be a teen today." </p> <p> In many ways, that is the easy way out. "No one has ever had it as rough as we do," is a common cry from those who are too weak to make the effort to stand up to Satan's wiles. However, it cannot be denied that today's young people are facing more of Satan's more difficult problems at an increasingly earlier age. </p> <p> Which brings us to our title. "Children are a gift of the Lord," said the Psalmist, and it is up to us as parents to see to it that we are good stewards of the Lord's gift. We are admonished to train them in His word and in His ways (Eph. 6:4), and in today's environment, that means we must work even harder to make certain it is God who is given consideration in their decisions, and not Satan. </p> <p> This issue of Abundant Life is designed to help parents in this fight against the evil one. The stakes of the fight are high, the souls of our children. We have focused our efforts in helping parents to answer the temptations which have traditionally been the most difficult for our children: Drinking, dancing, drugs and sexual immorality. No parent will be perfect, and if your child succumbs to one of these temptations, that does not necessarily mean you are bad parent, but preparation in the scriptures will help tremendously as we prepare our children to meet Satan. </p> <p> Most likely, we will not be anywhere around when our children really face these temptations in their hardest form, but, if we are careful in God's word, we will be beside them all the same. In that way, when they are able to overcome, we will see to it that we have dealt righteously with God's gift. </p>