Yes, you read that correctly. While campaigning in our state of Ohio in August of 2008, President Obama addressed a crowd atop a downtown building and said, "If parents don't parent and turn off the TV set and instill in their child a thirst for knowledge, we will not succeed." As I sat and listened, I was disturbed at myself as I "Amened" President Obama.
Fact is, he is exactly right in his saying that. We have an addiction amongst our IFB young people to television and video games. That one box has done great harm and danger to our families. Now, I do not believe it is a sin to have a television or to watch something not blasphemous or immoral (which is very difficult in our modern era). It is as a computer, radio, or phone...it can be used for evil and destruction: user beware.
One area that this addiction has greatly hindered is that of Family Devotions. We are again instructed in God's Word as parents to teach our young people the Word of God.
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
We are to sing the praises of God with our family!
The LORD was ready to save me: therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life in the house of the LORD.
We are to pray together.
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. Ephesians 6:18
We have derived a term for such a time of worship: Family Devotions. A time when the family sits together and reads God's Word, sings His praise, and prays to a God we know hears. Our fifth question on our teen quetionnaire reads:
My family has family Devotions:
B. Every Day
C. 1-3 Times a Week
D. What are Family Devotions
And the results after surveying IFB young people were:
A. Never 58%
B. Every Day 14%
C. 1-3 Times a Week 20%
D. What are family Devotions 8%
It is our responsibility as parents to embed in our children a knowledge and thirst for the things of God. It is each father's responsibility to be the priest of his home, to bring up his children in the admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4). This special time is an opportunity to address the individual spiritual needs of your children that you will know above anyone else. This is an opportunity to teach your children to pray. This is your chance to share the joy of worshipping God in song. It is no wonder we are losing so many of our young people, when we as parents do not instill in them the importance of God's Word and the worshipping of Him.
I cannot speak for all, but our family's devotion time is in the evening. We gather and read Scripture. I now allow my son to read a passage at times as well. We then will follow that with a time of singing as a family, followed by prayer requests to be shared and a time of prayer. Consistency is demanded. Don't quit.
There are booklets (http://www.crownchristianpublications.com/site/department.cfm?id=DA20DFCD-0A9C-4EB9-AFB95C075EBB1671&killnav=1) produced by Clarence Sexton for establishing family devotions. There are booklets such as Call to Glory Devotion booklets ( http://www.ctgpublication.com/ ) that can be used as a stepping stone. Point is...if you are not currently having family devotions, start today.
It is obvious by the fact that 84% of our young people come from homes that have none or barely any family devotion time, that something has to change. Or, we can continue graduating young people who are tired of going through the church motions, so that they can get on to the "important things" in life. May we take the advice from our President: "If parents don't parent and turn off the TV set and instill in their child a thirst for knowledge, we will not succeed." Amen!