What the Young Deserve
People talk a lot about underprivileged young people. Do such really exist? Our answer is, “Yes.” But many are not underprivileged in the way many people think when they talk about the underprivileged. Usually people mean that some young people are lacking the material things of life. They grow up in poverty or inadequate educational opportunities. This is too often true of both young and older people. Often the young are victims of circumstances over which they have no immediate control. With many who are older their difficult circumstances are sometimes self-imposed, but not always.
Materially underprivileged children are said to be the cause of juvenile delinquency. It is true that many poor children get into trouble. But it is not because they are poor. Many people who are poor never get into trouble because of stealing, fighting, etc. On the other hand, there are many who are reared in the lap of luxury who get into all kinds of trouble. So the factor causing juvenile delinquency must be something other than material wealth or the lack of it.
There are those things that young people deserve; things they ought to have; things that the older generation owes them. Too often we hear people clamoring, “I want my rights. I want what is coming to me.” This may sound fair, but if the truth were known, what they deserve is not always what they want.
We hear much about the “generation gap” and how the older generation has failed the oncoming one. In many instances this is true. It is not true with all and with most there is no generation gap. There are those who would like to destroy the work of parents and create and exploit their creation of a generation gap. Generations have always looked at things from different viewpoints, as would be expected. But generations have always learned to live happily together when both follow the Lord. Possibly this generation gap does exist with many because young people have not received what they deserve, or want what they do not deserve. Too many are over privileged in matters that do not matter and are underprivileged in matters that really matter.
What is Undeserved
Let us consider some things young people do not deserve and have no right to expect to be handed them. The world does not owe them a living. Work is a four-letter word that many young people think only applies to somebody else. Paul taught work. Jesus worked. The Father works. Work is not a curse nor a part of a curse. It is a cure to many ills and a blessing. No work; no eat, is a Biblical principle that ought to be applied more than it is.
The world owes nobody pleasure, luxury, ease and freedom from problems and responsibilities. The world owes nobody success. Success depends on the person as much as any other factor. Ten per cent inspiration and ninety per cent perspiration usually is the stuff from which success is made.
The world owes nobody freedom and escape from the consequences of behavior. We reap as we sow. To the young Solomon wrote, "...but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment" (Ecclesiastes 11:9). We are accountable for our conduct. Today many are crying it is the fault of society for whatever happens to them, never the individual. That is foolishness gone to seed. Nobody makes you act like a devil. Nobody forces another to behave worse than animals. People are responsible and they have no right to be immune from the consequences of their behavior.
The world does not owe anybody happiness. That great blessing comes from within as one conforms to the will of God. It is not created by the environment. Environment has a part in how we feel about things. But one can have that inward blessedness regardless of his environment.
No person can ever deserve heaven. We cannot earn it, merit it, deserve it or erase one sin by ourselves. Sinners deserve condemnation.
Please note that the Declaration of Independence declares the truth that there are certain inalienable rights a person has by virtue of the fact that he or she is a person, a human being. Of course, if evolution is true there would be no basis for human rights because we would all just be highly evolved animals. Evolution destroys human dignity and all reason to treat other humans with consideration befitting the human race. Young people have rights because they are human beings. This includes the unborn child in the mother’s womb. This is ordained by the Lord because He created man in His spiritual image. When these inalienable rights are violated the abuser should be punished and restrained. Just what all these rights include are matters of great disagreement. But we do not have the right to deprive others of their rights in order to obtain ours. No man has a right to mistreat his neighbor.
Concerning young people, it must be realized that their rights must correspond to their responsibility and duty. Some want rights without assuming responsibility for properly using those rights. They want privileges without duties. Young people are deserving all the same rights as an adult when they can assume the same duty as adults that go along with those rights. This is one of the causes of the generation gap. Rights without responsibility is the watchword for too many youths.
What is Deserved
What do young people deserve? They deserve proper instruction, training and discipline. God said to parents, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6). “Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). We pity that poor underprivileged child who has never had parents to show him the difference between right and wrong, or chastised him when he violated the right, and rewarded and encouraged him when he did the right and avoided the wrong. How else can a young person know if he is not taught? There is nothing inherent or innate in him that tells him right from wrong. That is a matter of training and teaching. He deserves to receive this.
It is not love to indulge the child and deprive him of the knowledge of the will of God. “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother" (Proverbs 1:8). Similarly we read words of wisdom as “Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding” (Proverbs 4:1). “My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother” (Proverbs 6:20). “He that spareth his rod, hateth his son, but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes” (Proverbs 13:24). “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15). “Withhold not correction from the child, for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell” (Proverbs 23:13,14). “Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old” (Proverbs 23:22). “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Proverbs 29:15). Any child, allowed to reach physical maturity without instruction, training, discipline and example is underprivileged.
Some have gone to the sinful extreme in correcting children and abused the child. This is neither taught, warranted nor sanctioned by the will of God. Discipline is not the same as child abuse. Older people must learn the distinction.
Blessings of Duty
Young people deserve having duties to perform according to their ability Youth is not a time for the fulfillment of all of the matters of life, but a time for preparation. A young person is not supposed to be an adult nor supposed to live all the phases of life in their youth as if they were small adults. Many parents have not yet learned this important point and treat their children as if the children were just smaller adults and must be involved in adult matters on a smaller scale. This is nonsense! Children need chores and work to teach them to be responsible and to learn the job of doing tasks successfully.
They cannot handle adult matters but there are things they can do. Yes, they often fuss about it, like adults do, but the adage is still true, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”
Life imposes responsibilities. The sooner one learns to deal with duty the sooner he will be equipped for the realities of life. Doing everything for them is not really helping them, but hindering their development.
Christ and the Home
Young people deserve a home where Christ reigns supreme; where there is love, consideration, sympathy, kindness, a strong father and mother image, where successes are shared with enthusiasm and where failures are shared so they can be turned into advantages and learning experiences alongside encouragement to overcome obstacles and disappointments.
A home that provides security and comfort, where the rule is to love God’s way, is a home that is truly a blessing to the young. We may be able to teach our young how to make a living but fail to teach them how to live.
Young people deserve a home where each person is appreciated and loved. Some get sick of home and leave it as soon as they are able. Others, when they leave, get homesick, because they remember the love of the home. Home is where one is accepted and loved for what he or she is, but always being encouraged to be what you ought to be and are capable of being. Home may include criticism, but corrective and constructive criticism in kindness and helpfulness.
A good home is not determined by the address, household furnishings, the number of cars in the garage or driveway. The humblest of dwellings are often the best homes. A good home is determined by love, loyalty to Christ and one another, where all are taught to respect the respectable and have reverence for Deity. Parents have the duty to set the tone for the home in such things. Young people are underprivileged and deprived when such as this is lacking.
There is a moving story about a lady who once answered a knock at her door and a little boy asked, “Does Jesus live here?” This is a question everyone of us ought to ask regarding our homes and strive to make it a place where Jesus lives.
Right to Obey
Young people have the right to obey God when they reach accountability. “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth...” (Ecclesiastes 12:1). Young people deserve an example before them of obedience to the gospel. Parents cannot lead where they will not go. How will children ever be impressed with the need to obey the gospel when father or mother or both ignore the Lord and refuse to obey Him?
Young people deserve the opportunity to develop their talents. They deserve the opportunity to learn and study the Lord’s Word. They deserve Christian association to aid them in their upbringing. The church seldom overcomes the influence of the home in matters of leading children to Christ. Young people have a right to a good church that is interested in their soul.
No person, young or older, has a right to live life any way he pleases, but as God pleases. God gave life. Life belongs to God. To deprive God of our life is to take from Him what belongs to Him.
We might suggest many other things young people deserve and we may be able to provide many things for them. But if we fail them in their training, instruction, discipline, work, example and service to God through Christ, we have sinned against the child and we have failed them in what matters most.
The young person deserves a place of refuge in his years of growth. Home should be his haven where he or she can take problems, frustrations, joys, and where self-esteem can be developed, respect for authority held aloft and God is the ruler of home.
1. How do you define an underprivileged child?
2. Does poverty cause delinquency?
3. Do riches prevent delinquency?
4. Name some things young people do not deserve.
5. What do young people truly deserve?
6. Who has the primary duty to provide for children what they deserve?
7. How can the church help in this matter?