When I was growing up, I didn’t have a choice as to whether I went to church on Sunday mornings. I am a woman of Christian faith so if you don’t share my faith, please excuse this post. Anyway, I didn’t really get what the church thing was about but I knew that on Sunday mornings, I would be in someone’s church.
As I got older, the church leaders began doing more “stuff” with me and I began learning more about God. I am noticing the same trend with my son. One of the first things that they teach you is “Jesus loves you” and then a host of things build upon that principle. In the mildest way possible, they begin to recant stories from the bible about Christian sacrifice, the laws of the land and loving your neighbors.
I didn’t always understand the importance of these lessons until recently. I have an (unproven) theory about teenage violence. I don’t think enough children has a foundation of faith therefore they don’t know the value of human life. This theory is slightly more complicated than I can articulate in any reasonable length but the gist of it is, many parents are not grounding their children in faith (doesn’t have to be Christianity or religious faith) but children are growing up without a moral foundation to base their decisions therefore they are liable to do anything. Without a moral compass as a guide, how do you know what is right or wrong? In our “feel good” society, we encourage each other and often ourselves to just do whatever feels good at the moment.
Think about this… if you have something that is a precious gem but no one ever tells you what it is worth, how likely are you to treasure it? Not all teenage violence can be solved using this theory but most people grounded in a rational amount of faith, not fanatical, seek to do good in the world rather than cause harm. They seek to make the world a better and kinder place. They think about solutions to problems rather instead of ways to magnify a situation with more unrest.
Many times we take for granted that children will just know some things because it seems like common sense. Guess what? They only things they know are the things that we teach them. If we don’t talk to them about how important they are to us and how important other children are to their parents, then there is no guarantee that they will intuit that information. We have to make conscious effort to let them know that not only are they loved by us but that other people matter in the world regardless of whether they think, act, talk, look or even smell like us.
It pains my heart to see children being disrespectful to older people. I just love old people because I was raised by my grandparents but there are some children that will talk back to the elderly, disrespect them and even curse at them. This is not a problem because they should show more respect to the elderly but it shows the value they have for the lives of others.
You may not take your children to church every Sunday to instill a moral foundation in them but make sure that you are teaching the value of life. It is not about material items, self satisfaction and instant gratification but loving your neighbor, treating others as you would like to be treated and giving more that you receive.