Recently I was talking with my 17-year old son, just enjoying chatting about the time he had spent at a 3-day youth conference. I could tell he was excited, and wanted to talk about what he had done, and what he learned. He shared with me some of the different activities they had done, who had preached, etc.
Then he started sharing about a conversation that he had with a friend while they were on the bus ride. I was sad when he told me that this friend from church was “getting away” with things online, and breaking rules set up by their parents. It surprised me because I know the parents are very careful to set up safeguards, and check on things. (This is a good young person who has a good attitude, but is struggling like many teens do.)
When I expressed my surprise that this friend was able to “get away” with some of these things, my son’s response really got my attention!
He said, “Mom, if you want to do something wrong bad enough, you will find a way around the safeguards. There are always ways to do wrong when you want to; there are ways to get around the safeguards, no matter what the parents do to block or limit certain online activity, or to check on it.”
This made me immediately wonder: Does this mean that HE is getting around my safeguards? I check his online activity and history regularly, check his phone, have rules, etc. But from what he said, apparently that might not always be enough!
So I HAD TO ASK HIM THIS: “Ok, if that is true, What keeps YOU from doing things you shouldn’t? For example, what keeps you from looking at porn if you know you can get away with it without getting caught?”
He paused a moment and said, “When you make a commitment, it makes you stop and think when you are tempted, and you remember that promise you made to God.”
I rephrased his answer and said it back to him to be sure I understood: “So what you’re basically saying is that the fear of God keeps you from doing what you know is wrong?”
He agreed that the fear of God and a Godly conscience have been the two best things to help him when he is tempted to cross the boundaries of online safeguards, or other temptations.
Fortunately there is a way we can go about giving our kids a fear of God, and helping them to develop a Godly conscience. The Bible gives us a plan:
Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children. Deuteronomy 4:10
1. We hear His words.
2. We learn to fear Him.
3. We teach it to our children.
It is VITAL that we teach THEM to hear God’s voice through a daily personal time.
“And he shall read therein all the days of his life that he may learn to fear the Lord His God.” Deuteronomy 17:19
Start when your kids are young, and help them develop the habit of daily spending time reading God’s Word, then listening for Him to speak to them. Don’t let this be something that gets pushed aside. Daily fellowship maintains the fear of the Lord, and is God’s design for keeping us from sin.
“Fear the Lord and depart from evil.“ Proverbs 3:7
Our kids are going to face temptation, and when they enter their teen years the temptations often increase. As parents, we MUST teach our kids to fear God, and help them to develop a Godly conscience that will enable them to hear God’s voice when they are tempted with sin.