This past weekend America saw and heard another attack on a place of worship, by a person who had been taught to hate others. This hatred blossomed into murder when he shot and killed people worshiping in a synagogue. My heart breaks for all the families involved. Then I heard the shooter was a 19-year-old college student and my mind went right to his parents and their hearts toward their son’s actions. This morning I heard that the parents released a statement: “Our son’s actions were informed by people we do not know and ideas we do not hold.” The parents continued, “How our son was attracted to such darkness is a terrifying mystery to us, that we are confident that law enforcement will uncover many details of the path he took to this evil and despicable act.”
Wait a minute, did I hear that right? Your son was influenced by people you do not know? The parents say this is a terrifying mystery! How did these people influence your son? How did they teach your son so much hatred that it gave birth to murder? Were there signs that they missed? Could this happen to my children? All these questions were circling in my head.
So, I began to think about the places or things that influence teens. The first thing that came to mind was the impact of the internet in teen’s lives. Albert Mohler states, “We’re looking at the entire digital world just about every toxic idea and worldview and political theory, just about every sinful form of thought, every conspiracy theory and every lie, can make its way right onto the computer or the smartphone of just about anyone including that young person in your house.” Each day through technology all kinds of hate and truth are pouring into our homes. What are we to do?
The first step is to acknowledge the truth about the advance in communication and taking steps to guard you and your family. The second step is to teach your children to discern truth from a lie. In order to do this as parents, we must first know the truth in order to teach the truth. Here are some quick tips to help:
Parents-study the Scriptures daily and teach them to your children.
Parents-teach your children the attributes of God. Knowing God will help them know themselves.
Parents-know everything your children are doing on the internet.
Parents-your child’s heart is curious, and this curiosity will lead them astray. Ask questions and be listeners of your children.
Parents-talk with your children. Do not be afraid to speak with them if you see something that concerns you.
Remember, if we only teach children to stop hating or start loving without the truth of God’s Word, we are teaching them to be good for goodness sake.
Praying for you.