“You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously.”
I grew up in an era when it was normal to treat our elders with respect, say thank you when someone did something kind, say good morning when you walked into a room, make eye contact when you spoke, work hard to accomplish your goals and be honest. The belief behind this was that you were honoring God.
Many people have some religious or spiritual belief system; yet, sadly many have turned their backs on their belief system. What once was the foundation of their lives has been replaced by reality television and electronic gadgets of every variety. Tell people to donate five hundred dollars to help fix a church or a library and you get moaning and complaints about not having that amount of money to spare. Tell them the latest cell phone or electronic gadget has just come out and it costs eight hundred dollars and miraculously they have the money to buy that phone or the electronic gadget.
What has caused this shift in our beliefs? It did not happen overnight, it was a gradual erosion that started when prayers were taken out of the school system. Praying not only provides an opportunity to talk to God, it is a time of listening to God for guidance. It is a time to be honest with yourself and take responsibility for your actions. It is a time to repent and ask for forgiveness, but most important, a time to understand that bad behavior does not honor God. If there is no one or nothing holding us accountable for our behavior, many begin to believe that it’s okay to do whatever they want and eventually they become immune to bad behavior. No longer does your conscience bother you when you are rude to your teacher or your parents. There is nothing preventing you from stealing money out of your parents’ wallets or from bullying some kid for their lunch money. Sadly, many believe that being bad is “cool”.
Our examples used to be our parents and extended family members. Now more and more children are growing up in single parent households, where the parent is often working too many hours to provide financially for the household and seems never to have enough time to provide for their spiritual and emotional well-being. Extended family members no longer seem to be available to chip in; the result of this is that too many children are getting their values from the television and their circle of friends. Far too many parents are more concerned with being friends with their children instead of being their parent; thus, many parents no longer discipline their children because they want to remain their friend. Children are not learning that bad behavior has negative consequences because when they behave badly, they are not punished; instead they get time out for bad behavior, at which point they pull out their cell phones and continue to text their friends or play some electronic game that passes the time.
Proverbs 13:24 Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
While change is a necessary part of growth, we must remember that our foundation should be grounded in strong religious principles.