As I reflect on my third year of high school, I will say that our younger generation is under a period of moral decline. In short, our teenage youth have lost their way.
I am grateful that my mother has raised me in a predominantly Christian home, teaching me how to navigate the long path of righteousness. Even when it meant missing my favorite TV shows for a few days, and possibly having early bedtimes, it was worth correcting my attitude and reflecting on my moral failures. Among one of the primary rules me and my sister had to abide by was to use proper manners and to be respectful. To this day, I often find myself saying please and thank you a thousand times in one sentence: a common thing in England.
I am pleased to say that I have never ended up in detention, although I cannot say that about everyone in my class. Overall, I am generally a good and hard-working student, although I do have my imperfections.
Back in the 1970s, my mother was raised with Caribean parents whose children attended a predominantly Catholic school from a very young age. The nuns and the priests at that school were very strict. Back then, naughty kids used to get spanked at the headmaster’s office, or they would force you to write lines on paper. For high schoolers, serving Saturday detention meant mopping the floors and cleaning up the halls.
Nowadays, disciplining teenagers is a taboo practice. Now that schools are scrambling to get back on their feet after a whole two years on Zoom, we have compromised morality with “recovery and restorative measures”.
When I was a freshman at high school, I used to be given a lot of detention emails from the Attendance Office because I was testing in another room. I eventually had my absences cleared and excused by my case manager before the deadline arrived. Other than the obvious fact that I have accommodations due to my blindness, it showed me how strict the school used to be when it came to punctuality. The fear of getting grounded used to motivate teens to do their best in their endavops, and be civilized members of the community.
Now, flash forward two years into the coronavirus pandemic. During the first semester of in-person instruction, my school got rid of detentions to allow the students to emotionally and mentally adjust back to the old routine of classroom lectures. The worst punishment you could get for getting into an altercation was to do mediation and see a counselor. When the Devious Lick challenge came to fruition, they sent us an email threatening to arrest any and all partakers of the challenge. But, by then, it was too late.
This semester was no better. Although we back detention back, I do not believe we were firm in correcting wrong behaviors and habitual attempts to ditch class. Staff have warned students that teachers would assign detentions in the event of immoral conduct. Yet, it seems as those the threat of detention no longer fazes them or sways their conscience. Not too long ago, half of my class was caught cheating on a history test, and very little was done to correct the situation.
By being so lax in the way we discipline our children, we are teaching them that they can live anyhow and not suffer any consequences for their behavior, which is indeed a lie. Society is teaching our teenage generation that a life of immorality is an essential criteria to gaining success and climbing the ladder of popularity, therefore making it acceptle and pleasing.
A great deal of the Word of God stresses on the moral principle of reaping and sowing. When we do bear good fruit, we sow love and good character, harvesting righteousness and purity. When we sow bad fruit, we harvest strife, trouble, and calamity.
This is a key principle we must teach our children when we carry out Godly correction and discipline. Sometimes, the consequence may not be pleasant, but down the road, they will cherish the hidden lessons taught along the way.
Hebrews 12:7-12 states:
6, For whom the Lord loves, he chastens [disciplines], And scourges [corrects] every son whom he receives.”
7, It is for discipline that you endure. God deals with you as with sons, for what son is there whom his father doesn’t discipline?
8, But if you are without discipline, whereof all have been made partakers, then are you illegitimate [spoiled ⠃⠗⠁⠞⠎⠨⠜⠂ and not sons.
9, Furthermore, we had the fathers of our flesh to chasten us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live?
10, For they indeed, for a few days, punished us as seemed good to them; but he for our profit, that we may be partakers of his holiness.
11, All chastening seems for the present to be not joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been exercised thereby.
Although it is good to consider our children’s mental and emotional health, as well as their overall wellness, it is important that we do not neglect to lovingly discipline them when they step out of line. It may hurt them for a while. But, one day, they will thank us (and God) for it. Discipline teaches us to seek holiness above all things, and to be mindful of the limits we must continually abide by in the pursuit of Godly living.
I would like to close out this presentation with some insight into what I observed this past school year. The Scriptures prophesied a time period called the falling away (or the Great Moral Decline). There would come a time where children would disobey their parents, and many would become lovers of pleasure, money, popularity, and image rather than Jesus.
Satan has convinced our teenage generation that sin is an error of minute concern– that the daily behaviors they practice and osberve do not testify to the state of their hardened hearts and their seared consciences. As a people, we have failed in our sacred obligation to hold our youth accountable for refusing to maintain and abide by the high moral standards that our Heavenly Father has explicitly demanded of us through the many pages of His sacred text that cries out to society’s greatest conflict: A rebellious and unteachable culture.
So help us God: To reteach and reinforce your expectations, to guide our children to the path of holiness, and to raise a generation of leaders who will refuse to compromise their upbringing for the pursuit of admiration from the crowd! Amen!