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  • "A Musing Pastor"

Rewarding irresponsibility

Most of the time parents are supposed to be training their children right from wrong. Well, my parents tried to do that with us kids. Sometimes they were successful and other times we challenged their parenting skills. I'm sure others reading this can say the same. Through good and bad we ended up turning out somewhat okay (and our parents didn't have too many twitches).

I can remember my teenage years when fall would arrive; we spent a good deal of time chasing people out of our corn fields. Mostly kids would come from town to steal corn to be used for throwing at houses and cars. On several occasions when we blocked the car and approached the vehicle, there sat a mom or dad waiting for their kids to steal the corn! When asked what they were doing, the parent would say something like, "Jimmy needed some corn and I figured this big field, the farmer wouldn't miss it." (*insert facepalm here)

The other major nuisance was local parents getting their sons and daughters new motorcycles and three wheelers. Those kids thought it okay to drive around the oats and alfalfa fields doing considerable damage as they went. The parents gave no oversight and on the few times we did catch the kids, their parents defended their child and said things like, "My Susie would never go through your hayfields, she knows better."

In both cases, neither people group understood the the great amount of time, hard work, and money that went into planting and maintaining those crops. It would have been an eye-opener for the parents and the children to work on the farm for six months to fully appreciate our position as farmers.

Fast forward 40 years and today there are children, teens, and young adults wandering the streets of America. Unfortunately, many of those folks are wandering into places and spaces that are sacred, holy, and in general just dangerous. Arlington National Cemetery and the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC have had to post signs and notifications to Pokemon Go players to not enter these sacred spaces and a police department (Duvall PD) issued this disclaimer on their Facebook page toward the same.

Before you think I am a total jerk and killjoy, stop. I like to have fun as much as the next person and my idea of fun probably looks differently than your fun. The rest of this blog has little to do with Pokemon Go. My beef is in the way instruction is given or in many cases not given to children, teens, and young adults. It appears that boundaries are optional and freedom to do whatever is the norm and not the exception. Could this same mindset be fueling the rising crime rates in our cities? Is there a real sense that a person believes their rights are far more important than the rights of another? Apparently so. Is this freedom to roam without bounds running people headlong into altercations with law enforcement and causing the heart wrenching incidents that have rocked our nation lately? Perhaps.

These questions bump into a culture where families are split. Single moms and dads are trying to raise their children and struggling to do so. For many, it is easier to thrust a smartphone into their child's hand than teach and train manners and skills. In other cases, parents have never really learned responsibility themselves so it's difficult for them to pass any character onto their children from their own dysfunctional foundation.

Where does the church fit into this messy time in our world? It's time for churches to form ministries that help single moms and dads. It's time for churches to provide new places for new people groups. Is this a call to form a Pokemon team at the local church? A church willing to connect with a community that has been largely separated from the holy, will be able to better teach and train several generations about what's right and wrong. Let's Roll.

PS: Reports are surfacing of increased electric usage and cell phone plans for parents are ballooning as phones need charged several times a day and data plans are being maxxed out. (Just kidding!) [Maybe not]

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