Thursday, April 15, 2010

Gleanings from the Pastor's Perspective: Fathers Stemming the Tide

The Pastor’s Perspective
"Fathers Stemming the Tide"
First Published: August 11, 2000

A week or so ago, this interesting information came through in the weekly. It is thought-provoking. Here’s the nub of it.

“Four highly reputable health care groups made an unusual joint statement [recently]. The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry agreed that ‘Children exposed to violent programming at a young age have a higher tendency for violent and aggressive behavior later in life than children who are not so exposed.’ The statement was released at a media violence summit organized by Kansas Senator Sam Brownback and three other senators. For years now, we have heard opinions thrown about concerning the media and its influence on our children.”

“Now, we appear to have a wake-up call with some authority behind it. Dads, it's time to be more active in the fight for the hearts and minds of our children. Where should we direct our efforts--fighting the media, or more vigilant parenting? Both, of course. We can all be more active about expressing our opinions and desires about the television programs, movies, video games, and music that is available to children. That's half the battle.”

“We must also act to protect our children from dangerous influences. Looking at TV alone, the average child witnesses 200,000 acts of TV violence (including 16,000 murders) by
age 18. Children spend more time watching television than they spend in the classroom. Kids are able to recount the details of their favorite movies and TV programs, but cannot recognize the names or accomplishments of our Founding Fathers. We can't stand by and let our children be swept up in the downward spiral.” (Ken Canfield)

Now, of course, violence isn’t the only problem with television. The overwhelming sexual content that pervades almost everything (especially the commercials, which every child instinctively knows are the most important content of TV!), the godless world-view, the anti-Christian bias, the left-wing slant and so on all present challenges for concerned Christian parents. If violence on TV impacts kids, how about these things?

In light of this conundrum, I offer the following (drawn and modified from Ken Canfield’s “ACTION POINTS for Committed Fathers” in weekly).

1. Watch or listen to your child(ren)’s favorite media. Find something positive to point out, if possible. Take action where necessary.

2. Model the lifestyle you expect from your children. What TV programs and movies are you watching? What music are you listening to?

3. A great first step toward protecting your child is to be more aware of his world. Talk with your spouse about what your child cares about and enjoys, and what causes him frustration and fear.

4. Ask for your child's opinion about some controversial issue--even one that you may disagree about. Express your own views only after you have listened carefully. Make it into a good discussion.

5. When your child evidences good character, praise him.

Now, one more unrelated thing. Iain Murray’s new book Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000 is hot off the press. It is hard-hitting, but fair and important. It is not light reading, but all of you who are interested in cultural and religious trends, and the future of the conservative evangelical churches should consider reading it. More about that later.

Your friend,

Ligon Duncan

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