Sources Of Youth’s Problems
To say that the youth of our land face many problems is not to reveal anything new. Every generation of youth has faced problems. But this particular era of our nation’s history seems to offer the young problems that were not always that pressing on some other ages. Their problems seem to be more dominant, if not of different kinds, than some before them have had to face. Everywhere we see the young confused, frustrated, involved in riots, rebellion against authority, steeped in crime and the age is characterized by suicide. Certainly this is not true of all the youth, but it is true of a distressingly large number of them. Juvenile delinquency was a problem when I was growing up, but the proportions of misconduct have reached epidemic levels. Just yesterday on the news reports (April 7, 1982), one explanation for a slight decrease in the crime rate was that there are proportionately fewer young people. This is a sad commentary on the youth of the land. But we are inclined not to place the full blame for this deplorable state of affairs on the young.
In Genesis 42:22, “And Reuben answered them saying, Spake not I unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child, and ye would not hear? Therefore, behold, also his blood is required." Reuben had urged his brothers not to mistreat their younger brother, Joseph, but they paid him no attention. It is possible for those who are older to sin against the younger. Those who have the responsibility of caring for the young are often guilty of sinning against the very ones for whom they have the watchcare. A child is not born into the world wicked, evil and delinquent. He learns to be that way. He is taught to become that way. It does not come from within himself. In this lesson we want to locate some of the present day sources of problems for the young.
Many Fine Youth
We first need to emphasize that all young people have not gone and are not “going to the dogs.” Not all are long-haired, beer drinking, dope taking, immoral and degenerate rabble. Experience with young people over the past many years convinces me that many are fine, stalwart, strong, serious and well-intentioned Christians. True, even some of these are misled by others into ways that are not for the child of God. But there are those who shall stand for the faith as much as any adult.
But many have serious problems and guidance is sorely needed, if they will give it a fair chance. We who are older need to consider more closely the problems of the young and work for them and with them to overcome them rather than simply hope that everything will work out all right. Too many of the older generation have played Pilate and washed their hands of the youth as if nothing can be done. For the sake of the good young people we need to do something to correct the trends of godlessness that have come so heavily upon the youth of the land. We need to treat the sources and causes of these problems rather than simply wail over the symptoms. While the problems are sometimes complex and not easily resolved, the major causes of the problems are not really that far beneath the surface.
The number one source of youth’s problems is the home. Where there ought to be security, love, provision, guidance, standards, discipline, hope and example, there is often just the opposite. Home has become not much more than a temporary filling station for many families. Respect for this divine institution has been undermined by many. The proverb, “Train up a child in the way that he should go ," is primarily directed to parents. “Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,” is the medicine needed (Ephesians 6:4). Children are learning to disrespect their parents and many times it is because the parents have not been respectable. Parents are too busy making money, reliving their own youth, and having a good time to be parents. The modern idea of motherhood is to have a career outside the home and leave the rearing of the children with somebody else. In most cases where there is trouble with children you will find mother was outside the home, being the “liberated and modern” woman, but one who has sacrificed her primary role for the paltry offering of a sinful world. Let all the society holler and cry that it does not make any difference, but the fruit produced shows otherwise.
Children learn disrespect for authority in the home. It carries into the school, against civil government, against God. Keeping the home is the noblest work of women and because that has been smeared in the minds of so many, the children suffer.
It is rather difficult for a child to grow up with stability when the two people the child loves most hate and despise each other, and show it. Divorce has created problems for youth that can never, ever, be erased. The selfishness of parents, seeking their own, has placed the welfare of the child on the “back burner.” In homes where father and mother and child learn to love God and each other and are regular in worship, there are few cases of juvenile delinquency, very few and rare. Children that come from divided homes suffer all kinds of maladjustment, unhappiness, confusion, insecurity, and build resentment and frustration. J. Edgar Hoover said, “Almost invariably parents are to blame for the development of young criminals.” We can add that almost invariably parents are to blame for their children not becoming Christians. They have not taught them, set the right example before them, considered their inconsistencies of no consequence, and as a result, son and daughter either never become Christians or leave the church shortly after leaving home
We read about neglected children and it touches the heart. But any child that is not taught the way of the Lord, and does not have parents that try to live the way of Christ before them, is a neglected child. We can all be grateful for the homes where God reigns supreme.
Problems are caused for the young by the schools. While we have a great appreciation for school teachers generally, there are those who are servants of the devil. This is not because they are unfair, or poor teachers, but because of what they teach and promote. While many can credit their teachers with a large measure of their personal success, many others can credit their teachers with their problems also. I have long considered the public education system to be one of the greatest enemies of the truth of God and His church because of some of the things done to the young in these schools. I once thought “Christian schools” were the answer, but more and more, because of the false doctrines and false doctors in these schools we have to consider them as one of the primary sources through which digression is pouring into the church. Just what is the remedy for such things I am not quite sure. But the problem is obvious.
Many teachers on nearly every level make fun of religion. They have often been trained in humanism, atheism, skepticism, and they teach this in their classrooms. Many teachers consider religion just a haven for the weak and timid of the world. Some textbooks even state such. False theories are taught as truth, theories that contradict Biblical teaching. Great effort is made by some teachers to destroy any confidence the young may have in the Bible. Evolution and humanism are the primary guiding principles governing education in most schools. This is why there has been a veritable rash of private schools arising. It has not been so much the hatred of racial integration, as some would have us believe, as it is the disgust of God-fearing parents with God-hating teachers.
You teach a child that he comes from an animal, and he will likely act like one. Teach him he comes from God and he will aspire to be like God. Morality is scorned, drug use is prominent, peer pressure is detrimental, and so often the social events are designed to promote the worldliness that the Scripture condemns, such as drinking, dancing, lasciviousness, etc. Even the emphasis for getting an education is to get more money rather than be able to be of more service.
Administrators and teachers have become so sensitive to the demands of the “experts” and the so-called "scholars" that God and His ways have just about “flunked out” in so many schools. This has a damning influence on the young who are exposed to this environment
None who are informed doubt the harmful effects of radio and television on the youth. Freedom of the press has been so abused as to include every kind of glamorization of sin. The youth are exposed to the lurid, lewd and obscene as if it should be socially acceptable. Pornography has become a present-day rage. Have you ever checked the magazine racks near campuses? For the love of money, merchants will sell anything, and the undisciplined, immoral, anti-Christian youth will buy it, absorb it, practice it. The movies appeal to the young with all manner of vile and corrupt pictures. The level of vulgarity that once was reserved for the backroom and houses of ill-repute are now blatantly and openly placed on the screen publicly.
The writers wallow in the mire of murder, rape, brutality, sexual immorality, theft, etc. Their minds must be “garbage pits” considering what comes out of them. The criminal is exalted, the divorced are the heroes, fornication is the norm, drunkenness is everywhere, and you cannot hear a program almost anywhere without profanity and obscenity. Do you really think this has no effect on the young impressionable mind as he hears this day in and day out? The addiction to television has about destroyed the thinking capacity of many people already, and replaced it with them becoming mere buckets into which the money-makers pour their filth for the dollar’s sake. Let the television industry disclaim responsibility all they wish. They have lied so often, acted irresponsibly too many times, refused to face the facts and really just do not care so long as they get their money. What we think comes more from what we see than any other one source. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” From what we are seeing in movies, on television, in magazines, etc., we can understand why the thinking of so many is so sordid.
Know The Difference
It is the responsibility of Christian parents to make sure that their young people know the difference between these sinful ways of the world and the way of Christ. Permissiveness and tolerance toward such things is going to cause many young people to degrade themselves and so stain their hearts and lives that only hell can burn away their evil. Is it not a shame that these marvelous means of communication cannot rise to a higher level than what is generally characteristic?
The government must assume some blame for the problems of the youth. The ambitious and unscrupulous politicians have so fouled up much of the business of the nation that the young are “turned off” from being responsible citizens. The greed, graft, and personal gain of the nation’s leaders have set a terrible example before the young. Power, popularity, and profit have dominated the careers of governmental leaders. Wars are even provoked for he sake of gain, and the lives of the young are disrupted, if not totally sacrificed.
Someone has said that three parties govern our land; the Republican, Democratic, and cocktail. How much of the nation’s business is conducted by people under the influence of the alcoholic beverage? Sometimes you would think that everything has come from the mind of a drunk. Statesmen are few and far between, and their voices often drowned out by the lying, immoral, double-dealing, insincere power hungry politicians. Our young see these things, and it does them harm.
Government has too long set the example of living beyond its means. It has for too long rewarded the immoral with support, the trifling, and lazy with food and shelter. It has interfered with the homes by trying to influence and dictate concerning matters that belong to the home, not the government. All such things complicate the lives of the young. What a tragic shame that the government has so often thrown its weight behind such movements as the feminists that would defame God and His ways. Now the legitimacy of killing unborn children is sanctioned by the government. It ought not be, but the forces of righteousness are often in a “to-the-death” battle with the power and influences of government.
Churches a Problem?
But where you would expect to find solutions to the problems facing the young, you often find another source of problems, and that is religion, even the church. Can it be that the churches of our land are causing the problems many are facing? Yes, the confusion, compromises, division, inconsistency, the charlatans, modernism, social gospel advocates, have so polluted what is called “Christianity” until those who have any sense of decency and consistency are repulsed by it.
Atheism is growing rampantly in this land. One of the causes is the division of denominationalism. Men have loved their churches, creeds, doctrines, power, money, etc. more than the revealed will of God. With all the varied voices shouting this and that, what are the young to think? What is anybody to think? If God is behind all this, He is more confused than most of us. Why turn to Him? But God is not behind it, but is opposed to it. What exists is not what God has commanded. Men are going their own way, not the way of the Lord.
Churches have so changed their doctrines to accommodate sin, like divorce, drinking, immorality, etc. that the churches are more governed by the world than having an influence in the world for good. It is commonplace for churches to sponsor gambling and dancing. Some churches are involved in politics and business ventures, even the business of producing whiskey, wine, beer, cigarettes, etc. Civil disobedience against laws that have no moral persuasion whatever has been instigated and actively pursued by religious leaders. Rebellion against authority has been the watchword in recent times by the very ones who have forsaken the authority of God for their own authority.
Immodest dress, smoking, drinking, cursing, multi-marriages, empty pews, have even invaded the Lord’s church in large measure. Whereas churches of Christ were once known for their opposition to sin, in so many places there is such a compromise with it you had just as soon not have anything to do with such congregations. They have become nothing more than a poor man’s country club and the gospel is hard to come by.
Problems, problems, problems. Distressing to consider them, isn’t it? But the solution is still God’s truth. We cannot answer for every home, school, media, government, and church. But we will answer for what we do, and don’t do. Why we keep placing these stumbling blocks before our young is hard to figure. But we have the task of paving the way as much as we can, removing the stumbling blocks when we can, and teaching and showing the young how to avoid and overcome such things that cannot be totally removed from the scene.
They Are Not Adults
Young people are not just little adults. They are young people that need the love, guidance, training, discipline and security that those who are older are obligated to provide. Once given those things it is up to them to walk accordingly. God has given the young parents for some reason. It is past time for many of us to find what those reasons are and get on with the divine task of rearing the young in God’s way. It is not enough to simply tell the young, “Don’t, don’t, don’t.” There must be the provision for the good that they can and should do. The problems are too big for the inexperienced and untrained youth to handle alone. Possibly we need to “get off his back” and “walk by his side.” Every child deserves the teaching of Christ and a Christlike example. That is the only solution to youth’s problems. Be a “solution,” not a “source” of problems.
1. How can the home be the source of youth’s problems?
2. In what ways is government a source of youth’s problems?
3. Are churches often problems for them? How is this?
4. What does the world present to them that gives them problems?
5. Can you name ways the schools make problems for the youth?