Rise Up My Soul and Give Glory to God
Now that we have two teenagers in the house, (well one is 15 and one is 11, but she acts like 16!), I read the article with interest. It was about how to reach young people to encourage deeper prayer and faith. That’s always a topic that gets my attention.
The author of the article advised that we reach our young people by joining them in the culture…to reach them through their music, their technology, their texting language, their games, etc.
Whoa! Not again! This is a frequent message delivered to modern parents. As if we don’t already have enough to do. We are supposed to keep up with whatever is new and enticing. We are told the world, and the worldly, is where our children live. But that assumes two things:
• First, it implies that all our young people fully embrace the mainstream, consumerist culture and that is all they understand. (I’m sorry, but that degrades them.)
• And second, this implies that our young people won’t listen to us if we ask them to step outside the culture. (Again, that idea is degrading to young people.)
I beg to disagree.
First, not all young people are as enamored with the bombardment of truncated language and flashing screens as some would have us believe. At our house we have one of each. Our daughter, age 11, is certainly fascinated with all technology. But she is increasingly recognizing that it mustn’t become an “idol.” And our son, age 15, has no interest in technology except as a tool to update sports statistics!
Young people can and should be made aware that technology can only play a limited role in our lives. It may seem appealing to communicate in ever faster ways, from email to networking, to twitter and texting. But “faster, faster, faster” can be simply an addiction to adrenalin! And the reduction of language to “LOL” is not only unnecessary; it degrades the essence of communication. Least we forget, the purpose of communication is about sharing and bringing about “community,” which comes from “unity”, which is a godly principle. We are one Body, in the one Lord.
Second, we as parents are responsible for the moral and spiritual health of our children. Therefore, we must challenge them to join us in an otherworldly place. Let us call them to higher realms beyond the press of “buy, buy, faster, faster.” The place of the Word and the truth about Jesus is deeply meaningful. And meaning is what we all long for.
Of course, I admit that I went on a long detour into worldly ways as a young adult. But the foundation I received in childhood always called me back. It beckoned to me until I remembered and paid attention.
As a child, my mother insisted we say the rosary every night on our knees. Mom insisted we should do regular volunteer work to recognize our role in helping others. We were “deprived” of every new thing that came along, but we had instead, a powerful sense of family as a result of these things.
I remember vividly, the time we were in the car, driving to the hospital. My brother had an infected hand and the doctor said surgery was required. Mom led us in prayer the whole way there. And, miraculously, by the time we arrived, the redness was fading and no surgery was required.
That image, of prayer and family, is far more powerful than any image of the current cultural fads. I have no memory of the things we didn’t have that other kids had.
My husband Jurgen likes to remind us often that we are called to “Capture every straying thought and turn it toward God.”(based on 2 Cor. 10:5)
It’s easy for all of us, both teens and adults, to let our minds drift into images and thoughts based on the world of “stuff” that clutters our lives. But it is possible to take control of our minds and hearts.
And when we do that, as parents, we can challenge our children…Let’s ask them to Rise Up. Give Glory to God. And then go forth as disciples. (And communicate with our voices, using sentences and body language to bring about true community!)
That’s the parenting I grew up with. And that’s the advice I want to live by.