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Why Good People Can Raise Bad Children
The law of entropy states that things tend to go from a state of order to disorder.

So let's look at this in regards to parenting.

Picture a couple raising kids in 1940. They believed in God. They prayed before meals. They went to church. They were good people, and they passed on their values to their children about loyalty, honesty, and hard work. Maybe they didn't read the Bible at home, and maybe they didn't pray long prayers, but God was part of their lives.

That generation grows up. They're hard working. They're loyal. They get married. On the whole, they stick with their marriages, though divorce becomes more common. But they're still good, solid folk, having children in the 60s and 70s. They want their children to also be good, solid folk. They provide them with a comfortable home, they discipline them, they teach them to do well in school. But they don't take them to church. They don't say grace before meals, except at Thanksgiving. They don't even have a church.

Now their children grow up. They've been raised by good people, who were in turn raised by good, Christian people. But these children are no longer good, solid citizens. Instead of getting married, they have serial common-law relationships. Or perhaps they have serial marriages. They have step-children and children with different partners. They do well at their jobs, but their personal lives are a mess.

How did this happen? Simple. Things went from order to disorder, and this is the natural order of things.

That very first generation, in the 1940s, had something that the next generation did not have: they had a belief, and a fear, of God. They knew that moral principles were not to be lightly violated. They were to be kept because that's what God said. Even if they didn't do devotions everyday, they believed in God's laws.

The next generation, though, didn't raise their children in the same way. They wanted their kids to be those good, solid citizens, but they didn't give them any REASON to be a good, solid citizen. And they didn't give them the tools to be a good, solid citizen because they didn't have those tools themselves. They had given up on God.

And without God, what reason is there to be good? It has to come out of inner conviction, and many people just don't have that inner conviction. If you can do something and get away with it, why not do it? If it feels good to have sex outside of marriage, why not do it? If I'm not happy in my marriage, why not move on to greener pastures?

We can want our children to be good kids, but we need to give them a reason, a strong enough reason that will stop this law of entropy. God is the only One who can do that. God can preserve, and can keep families tight, and give us both the reason to live a moral life and the power to do so. Of course, that's a generalization. Many good, believing parents will have the heartbreak of seeing their children walk in the wrong direction. Nevertheless, it's more likely our children will do well if we raise them to believe in God than if we don't.

When we look around at the moral decay that is all about us, it's easy to see the cause. Families used to have something that held them together, a reason to do the right thing. It was called Jesus. Now we don't have that, and families are falling apart. And good parents, no matter how well meaning, will have a difficult time combatting the youth culture and our consumption society without God. How can parents' pleas of "you just have to do the right thing" stand up to the onslaught our kids face? We need a reason to do the right thing, and only God provides that.

That's why we're sliding into oblivion. I know so many great people, in their 50s and 60s, who raised their kids to be upstanding citizens. And those kids have not raised their children in the same way. They have not made healthy choices with regards to marriage or children. And I truly believe that's because they don't have God. I don't mean to blame these people, because in far too many cases they're doing a magnificent job stepping in for their wayward children and looking after grandchildren. I just think it's heartbreaking what they're going through. And it shows me, once again, that good intentions aren't enough. We need God. Without Him, parenting doesn't tend to work. The law of entropy takes control. And that's really sad.

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At 10:21 AM , Blogger Renee said…

You said it!
Good intentions are not enough.


At 11:13 AM , Anonymous Becky Tidberg said…

A roommate of mine always used to say "once-rs become none-cers." Meaning that those who go to church only once on Sunday will have children who go not at all. Kind of the same theory.

Thanks, Sheila.


At 11:23 AM , Blogger The Sheepcat said…

This generation is living off the spiritual capital of its predecessors. I know many non-believing folk who were brought up by church-going parents, from whom they learned basic Christian values. It's hard enough to live by such values when one practises one's faith; in the absence of a personal relationship with God, it's well nigh impossible.


At 2:45 PM , Blogger Luanne said…

Wow! it's been awhile since i have been in here reading...and i am so glad I chose today to come back! You are so right. This inspires me to continue to keep God in the fromt of my family...not an accessory we pull out from time to time.


At 10:15 AM , Blogger Sheila said…

Glad to have you back! And yes, we need to keep God in front of our families.

Just like The Sheepcat said, without God living well is well-nigh impossible. I think living through hard things, too, like grief is pretty much impossible without God.

Becky--Good to see you here! And I love that saying. I'm going to remember that.

And Renee--thanks for stopping by! I think we all have good intentions, but without God, we can't live up to them. That's just life, eh?

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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