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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Parenting Skills, Common Sense, and Outreach

I went to a meeting sponsored by our local county school board. They are seeking the help of churches, businesses, and community clubs to promote better parenting in hopes of preventing a Columbine style situation here.

I'm all for that and I was struck by the speaker's story about interviewing a young man who is in prison without benefit of parole until he's 109. Aged 27 now, he killed 2 people in a nearby school shooting in 1995.

The trigger?

He was afraid he'd lose his driver's license.

Life wasn't worth living so he decided to kill some people in revenge and assumed he'd die in a hail of gunfire.

He didn't.

His hopelessness was inspired by years of abuse by an alcoholic father.

Now the young man is sane and seeking to help others avoid this tragedy.


He became a Christian. Someone visited him in jail and told him about Jesus Christ and forgiveness.

The boy forgave his father and now the whole family are united in a way they never were before the tragedy... as a family and as followers of Jesus Christ.

Then the meeting took an odd turn.

Instead of asking us to evangelize better and reach out to these kids, we were introduced to a new plan to promote better parenting in the county.

And we were invited as churches to teach it to our congregations.

They've even offered a curriculum... one that is secular and supposedly "research based".

It might be great, but there were no copies available for any one to review.

Those who've reviewed the curriculum say "It's just common sense".

That's a loaded term for me. In some societies, if a female family member is seen in public without a veil, the dishonor to the family is worthy of death. That's called an "honor killing".

When you inquire about the propriety of it, you're greeted with a statement like "It's common sense! What are you, a barbarian?"

"Common sense" really is totally dependent on one's presuppositions and worldview. Only when two people share a common worldview can there be "common sense".

Even when something allegedly "doesn't promote a particular faith", it promotes a particular faith and worldview. That's why you can have Christian teachers in public schools facilitate the production of secular kids because topics are taught without reference to God. Humanity is the measure of everything. And because the measure is flawed, the results always turn out warped.

I've taught these secular parenting seminars to persons getting a divorce. When they have minor children, they're required to take the classes.

The people coming into the classes will be no better afterward than their presuppositions when entering the class.

The basic problem is that unless there is true humility and repentance to care for the child's needs above one's own pursuit of revenge, all the advice in the world won't help. Good idea - sinful hearts.

I'll do everything I can to help this initiative, but I'll keep pointing them back to the story they started with. That's what the church needs to be focusing on, the parenting instruction can fall into place on fertile soil.