2017 | Week of February 27 | #1192
“Make America great again.” Maybe it’s a pretty good campaign slogan, but what really needs to happen to make America great again? Can a president do that on his own? Or even in cooperation with Congress? Or is America’s greatness determined by factors different from economic policies, trade agreements, immigration laws, business regulations and foreign policies? I believe America’s past, present and future greatness resides in a different place. I believe it has been, is or should be in the homes, in the families that are the bedrock of this nation or any nation.
Family is not just any group of people who like each other and agree to some level of commitment. As God designed family, it begins with one man and one woman who enter into a monogamous, lifelong commitment to each other in marriage. Typically that union results in children—either biologically or through adoption.
The father and mother, after committing themselves exclusively to each other, then commit themselves to the upbringing of these children. They are to love, nurture, discipline, instruct, educate, and train these children—these gifts, this heritage, from the Lord—in a way that is proper, in a way that is good for the children and brings glory to God. When moms and dads in America start taking this responsibility seriously, then we will see America made great again.
In what ways should dads and moms especially focus their time in this fast-paced, technologically-driven age that gives us instant news and more and is determined to have erotic liberty and license?
Well, let’s get back to the basics. Parents need to first see to the spiritual welfare of themselves and their children. We’re talking making Bible reading, personally and as a family, a priority, complete with prayer and discussion. Read Bible stories to your children starting when they are tiny. Build in those truths!
Attending church—together as a family—needs to be a regular practice. Even more important is a commitment on the part of the parents to, as God gives grace and strength, live a transparent, authentic life before the children, individually and as a couple. Practice what you say you believe, complete with admitting wrong and asking forgiveness. Use every opportunity to shape the thinking and the character of your children, talking to them and modeling for them what a life lived in obedience and surrender to Christ really looks like.
Filter all computers and all personal technological devices and boundaries and accountability. Be the parent; check your kids’ phones and tablets—for their good and protection. Talk to them about why this is important. Hold yourself accountable.
Moving on to formal education. Don’t let money be the deciding factor in the decision regarding your children’s education. In Wisconsin we have many educational choices. Explore them. Pray about this. God does care where and how your children are educated. I recommend reading Psalm 1 and thinking about it in relationship to your children’s schooling. Who provides the formal education for your children matters—not just in the short run, but in the long run. If you decide to send them to a school, just remember how much influence those teachers and that school will have on them. That’s a whole lot of influencing. What are they learning about origins of the universe? What are they learning about America’s history? What are they being told about human sexuality, marriage and family, economics and a host of other subjects?
Related to formal schooling, make sure your children know what America is all about. Rehearse our history, connect our history to current events, celebrate patriotic days, visit historic sites. Read stories to them from the time they are little about great Americans. Hold family meetings when important events happen, like elections or impeachments or major Supreme Court rulings. Take time to explain them to your children—always including a biblical context. Make a big deal of voting, of being involved with your government, of praying for elected officials.
Obviously this is not exhaustive, but it’s a start. If we are going to make America great again, it will take more than Executive Orders, policies and laws—even very good ones. It will take ordinary families committed to doing seemingly ordinary things that will have extraordinary results—a generation that loves and honors God, respects others, works hard, knows the truth about America and has the character to do and stand up for what is right. That’s when America will be great again.
For Wisconsin Family Council, I’m Julaine Appling, reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”