As he was listening to his son, the dad was reflecting on the stacks of magazines that were readily accessible in his home growing up. He had suffered an addiction to pornography that lasted into his 30’s and he was determined not to expose his son to the same temptations. But today, boys are not facing the same temptations. The explicit nature of what is readily accessible via social media has introduced a whole new level of fantasy relationship. That realization hit as his teenage son said, “I have been viewing pornography online for two years.”
Did you know that the average age for kids to see their first pornographic image online is 11 years old? Also, 45% of 12 year olds and 82% of 13 year olds use social media; Seventy percent of teens hide their online activity from parents. Exposure is real! Some studies show that 7 out of 10 teens have been accidentally exposed to pornography online. Kids today are getting drawn in without actively seeking it out! (Center for Parent/Youth Understanding)
See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse. – Malachi 4:5-6. Let the heart-turning begin! The Lord God is not just talking about the love us dads have for our children but also the responsibility for the heart we are passing on to the children, our disposition and affections. The state of society rests on the shoulders of dads and reflects the disposition and affections of men as a whole. Individually you may be doing what you can to reflect Biblical truths in the way you live. But the collective heart reflected in society is what comes into homes and young minds through various media faster than life, certainly faster than a teenage mind can process it.
Dads’ hearts turned to their children in a relationship that is stronger than any worldly influences is the key. KNOW that you, as a father have the POWER to start the heart-turning. Kids may not always do as you say but they will always catch what you’ve got. Make sure “what you’ve got” is grounded in a personal, passionate and growing relationship with Jesus the Christ coupled with an intentional effort to draw closer to Him – to walk like Him, think like Him, minister as He ministered, love as He loved and serve as He served, and this scheme will be rebuked.
Tips to Be Ready II:
- Establish an “open door” policy in the home: No televisions behind closed doors, no computers behind closed doors and no phones behind closed doors – bathroom included;
- Communicate the beauty and fulfillment of relationship in marriage every day;
- Meet with the youth leaders of your church and ask how you can be of help;
- Read “Raising a Modern Day Knight” - Lewis;
- Supplement the weekly investment of TIME in your child with annual getaways. Ideas:
- Father-son Passage retreat in March - Father-son Passage at Frontier Camp
- Summer Adventure in SW Colorado - http://faithfulfathering.org/connect1
- Greater Houston Christian Outdoor Fellowship - http://www.ghcof.org/
Prayer guide: Lord, forgive me for succumbing to the world’s influence on relationship – more fantasy in the physical and emotional than spiritual. I pray for rebuking of the devil’s scheme that is pornography. I praise You for the heart-turning You have initiated, that as I grow in my relationship with You, I learn to live that relationship in marriage and reflect it in family. Help my kids catch a relationship from me that is grounded spiritually in You with the emotional and physical discipline to navigate through the world’s influence. Amen.
A faithful father understands that heart-turning starts with Him.