Another example of our disturbed youth today. A teenager in South Carolina was discovered plotting to detonate his school, after his parents intercepted a postal delivery of 10 lbs of ammonium nitrate, the same substance that was used in the Oklahoma City bombing. Ryan Schallenberger, 18, is described as "handsome, friendly, a straight-A student". And not-so-apparently a seething cauldron of hate and anger. He had extensive plans for bombing his high school, as well as an audiotape to be played after his demise.
Thank God he has alert and responsible parents.
As most of you know, I have a 4-year-old son. And I'm just scared of the day when I have to turn him over to the public school district. Especially when danger comes in such an unsuspect package. I think this is the first incident where people are genuinely surprised that this young man was so normal on the outside, with such a disturbed soul. How do I teach Andrew to be wary of this?
What influences do our children face today, that would possibly put these thoughts into their heads?
First and foremost, Satan is hard at work in our country, and we are making his job pretty cushy. We are reaping the rewards of dismissing God from our lives and families. Instead of the Almightly, we deify so many other false idols - money, fame, looks, career, intelligence, the list is almost infinite. And Satan just loves this, every generation he has to work less to pull us away from God, we're just so interested in doing it all by ourselves.
Even good Christian parents fall into this trap. Pointing the finger at my family, we often make the choice of putting our business before church. And we're paying the price for that, with an unstable marriage and a child prone to temper issues and lack of control. We vow to do better, but you know how that goes. So please understand that the finger I'm pointing is at myself as well.
Let's look at today's acceptable media. Video games are an easy target. Why do video games need to carry warning labels? And why should parents find this acceptable? Or the TV, remember the days when you never heard cussing on prime time TV? Now it's acceptable after a certain time of the evening. And there's not much of moral value on the tube anymore, either. I have to shake my head sadly when watching something like the "Real Housewives", how they promote greed, sloth, and adultery. They make it positively attractive.
How about peer pressure? You hear about the things kids are doing these days. Lots of drugs, alcohol, orgies, strangling each other until they pass out? Huffing paint thinner?? It seems that the methods of obtaining a high has gotten much more risky than the last generation. And now there's also gang activity in places you would never suspect. I was shocked to hear my mother talking about the gang activity on the island where she has her summer home. This island is 15 miles off the main drag, and has a year-round population of 4500!
We're also seeing more mental instability in adolescents these days. Is that a cause or effect? I'm not sure, the jury's still out. But I'm a little trepid when I talk to my fellow preschool mommies and see how many of our kids have speech issues, attention issues, social issues. These are my son's classmates, and likely will be until graduation. And Andrew's part of this, he's one of the attention-deficit kids, so again, I'm pointing the finger at ourselves, too. Some will argue that the amount of instability in kids is increasing due to better, more refined diagnosis, and that may be true. But it seems we're giving our kids a license to be different, a reason to be outside the norm, when we tell them they have ADD, ADHD, OCD, ODD, etc. And we don't really need to give them a reason to be alienated, do we? Doesn't that just propagate the issue?
Bottom line is, we need to get God back into our lives. We need to be teaching our kids by the Bible, not the acceptable norm in this country. How can we use the acceptable norm if this country is morally bankrupt? We need to be actively involved in a church. And we need to be more proactive and forward-looking when it comes to our children and the influences they encounter. As parents, it's our God-given job to protect them and raise them up in a Biblical fashion. And, at this job, the end product strongly states that we're failing miserably.