Thursday, October 29, 2009

Where are the dads?

We are told in Mark 13:29-30 that the generation that sees the beginning of the end times signs will not pass away until these things take place. Additionally, we are told in 2 Timothy 3:2-4 that this last generation will be "... lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—"

Therefore, it is not surprising that we see this last generation is dubbed the 'Me Generation'. The Me Generation describes anyone born in the 1970s, 1980s, or 1990s -- in 2009, this means people between the ages of 10 and 39. These people take it for granted that the self comes first. Societally, it is increasingly obvious that the ego is king here on earth. A new book says we're in a narcissism epidemic, "Armed with a steady influx of trophies just for showing up, "I Am Special" coloring books and princess parties, it is hard for kids to understand why an abundance of ego might be bad for them..."

Which brings me to the pattern I've noticed lately. Since the television show Supernanny has gone into repeats, I watch one episode nightly. This is the show where the kids are misbehaving and a nanny with child management experience comes in to the home and gives parents techniques for how to change the unwanted behavior in the child. Almost always, the techniques include changing the behavior of the parents. Because it is television, the techniques are always successful and at the end of the show the home is peaceful and all roles of children, mom, and dad are rightfully restored.

Now that the show is on every night, I've been able to spot a trend. With rare exceptions for widows or wives with militarily deployed husbands, the show portrays a husband and wife with both living in the home. But the trouble most times stems back to the dads. They're not there. Supernanny, where are the dads?

Oh, the dads are present in the home, when they are not working long hours, or out with the guys, or cloistered in their bedroom on the computer. They simply do not engage with, support, or sometimes, even look at their family. When Supernanny asks why they don't play with their kids, they say things like, "It's not my thing," "It's not enjoyable," or "It's boring."

Herein we see the hens of the Me Generation come home to roost. When they say it's "boring," they mean, 'it does not gratify ME.' The disengaged men I've seen are not clueless. They have wisdom, experience, and skills. It was just that they simply didn't WANT to play with, be with, or laugh with their own kids. One man admitted that he had milked the 'transition time' of privacy he'd set up upon arriving home from work from 15 minutes to several hours to finally, all night. "And I was getting away with it, too. Until Supernanny busted me." Getting away with NOT being a dad in full view of his wife, and his children. How sad.

The bible is strict with teachings on how to raise children, beginning with the commandments. "Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." (Deu 6:7) There are serious repercussions when the structure and roles of the family God set up are ignored. I don't mean to pick on the Supernanny show. And of course the dads on that show are to be commended with recognizing there was something drastically wrong and they set about seeking help. But to see so plainly on national tv the plague of disinterested fathers is heart-wrenching. And those repercussions are surfacing now. Never mind the judgments to come. In any case, the prophecy we were warned would come to pass in 2 Timothy about is being fulfilled.

God told us that the last generation would be selfish and ungodly. Disengaged fathers loving only themselves result in disobedient kids who are ungrateful and without self-control. Skeptical of the national impact of this scourge? Just ask Supernanny. She is in her sixth season with no lack of takers for "fixing those kids." Though Supernanny's techniques are helpful, the issue is godlessness, not bad parenting skills. I say: Fathers, seek God and ask Him for strength, wisdom, and for His plan for families to be strong and present in your life. "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." Eph 6:4

2 comments:

  1. Elizabeth,

    Though I would agree with you about the root of the cause of bad parenting, I have to disagree with your opening premise. You said that Jesus is recorded in Mark to say that “the generation that sees the beginning of the end times signs will not pass away until these things take place.” Jesus said nothing of the sort. First, He didn’t mention anything about the “beginning” of signs. Next, He didn’t say “the generation”. He didn’t say “that generation”. He said “this generation”. That would be the generation to whom He was talking to. He was very specific. In fact, He kept saying things like “when YOU see the abomination of desolation” or “if anyone says to YOU ‘Look, here is the Christ” or “be on guard; I have told YOU all things beforehand.” It’s not good to misquote Jesus.

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  2. Hi Jack,

    Thank you for your comment. I took a pause, went back and re-read and thought about it. I have to say that I respectfully stand by the interpretation I'd used from Mark. It is the generally acknowledged interpretation, and it is the one that makes the most sense in context. You are taking an interpretation that is not generally accepted and makes no temporal sense.

    The Olivet Discourse provides a general outline but not a detailed, dated calendar of future events. However, it does give a season, as referenced by the fig tree comment.

    His reference to "this generation" is generally acknowledged among scholars to refer to the generation that sees the beginning of the signs. The generally acknowledged first sign that occurred was Israel being back in the land (Is 66:6-7), THAT generation will see the beginning of the things Jesus listed and will not pass away until they are concluded, with the church being raptured and the Jews enduring the things Jesus spoke of. (The Olivet Discourse is aimed a the Jews, and is actually a Tribulation speech)

    A commentary on that passage with several interpretations of the “this generation" comment here:
    http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/IVP-NT/Luke/Jerusalems-Destruction-End
    ad it states of the interpretation you favor:
    "On the surface it looks as if Jesus is predicting the end within his generation, especially since Luke normally uses the term generation (genea) to mean the current generation (7:31; 9:41; 11:29-32, 51; 17:25; Acts 2:40; 8:33). Often the term also has a negative implication, meaning this current generation is evil. Against applying this interpretation to 21:32, however, is the reality of the delay. The generation of Jesus' utterance was passing away even as Luke wrote, and Luke had described numerous intervening events. Jesus had spoken in the thirties, but Luke was writing, in all likelihood, in the sixties. A reference to the current generation is unlikely."

    Here is Jack Kelley's take on the 'this generation' interpretation
    Matt. 24:34 says, “I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.”

    “The word genea, translated generation in Matt. 24:34, can also mean race. But remember, the disciples had asked for a sign of the Lord’s coming and of the End of the Age. What kind of sign would it have been for the Lord to say, “Sometime before the Jewish race dies out”. Most people feel that the context of the passage is better served by translating genea to mean generation. Since the signs weren’t fulfilled in the generation to whom Jesus was speaking, reading the verse to mean that the generation of people being born at the time of the first signs would still be alive when the Lord returns makes more sense.”

    Though there are slightly different interpretations about the 'this generation' comment as shown by the link I offered above, I gently rebut that any misquoting took place. I would hope that we can discuss Godly things without flinging accusations, but explore deep ideas in harmony and open and loving heart.

    We are told in Mark 13:29-30 that the generation that sees the beginning of the end times signs will not pass away until these things take place. The general acknowledgement of the beginning of the signs was 1948, when the prophecy of the Jews being back in the land would occur in one day. (Is 66:7-8). We are the last generation, and the fig tree is sprouting.

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