Paul Graham asked a criminal defence lawyer friend what he would change about the world to solve the most problems. The friend specializes in death penalty cases, so he’s seen a lot. Paul Graham expected him to mention drugs, but instead said that if he could change one thing, it would be to make people better parents. The lawyer claims that almost without exception people who do terrible things had terrible childhoods. And often this was because their parents had terrible childhoods. It’s a vicious cycle, once established, hard to break. We need to be conscious of the fact that parenting lies at the very core of society.
The lawyer’s wisdom reflects the principle of nurturing the next generation. The Bible emphasizes the importance of parenting in shaping character and values on numerous occasions. According to Proverbs 22:6, “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” The lawyer’s insight boils down to this: the foundation of a child’s upbringing can reverberate for generations. Absentee parenting is responsible for a large portion of youth crime. Children who are not guided are easily lost and influenced by others who are also lost. What’s even more tragic is that broken homes cause serious generational problems.
There is a distinction between impregnating a woman and being a father to a child. There is a distinction to be made between conceiving a child and actually functioning as a mother. This is a clarion call for conscious parenting that breaks the cycle of dysfunction. Let us encourage people to take parenting and building a home seriously. It is the foundation of a prosperous and progressive society. Our faith calls us to be the beacon that breaks the never-ending cycle of negative generational patterns as guardians of the next generation. God can use you to illuminate the path to brighter tomorrow for the children.