Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Involvement is the key

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Involvement is the Key

American children and youth are bombarded with immorality. In many cases children and young adults are faced with making moral decisions. Many times children and youth are not equipped with the proper guidance and wisdom needed to make good decisions. The absence of church and parental involvement is creating an attitude of apathy and violent aggression among America’s children; parents as well as community leaders should mentor our youth by offering advice into the lives of these children every day to give them this positive influence. The activities that we can build in our society are after school activities at the church, fifth quarter after high school football games, a day of help or community service, summer programs, Wednesday night praise band and Sunday afternoon youth choir. These are events that I have participated in over the years with my church that have allowed me to grow into a person with high morals and standards.

I feel that I have turned into a responsible young adult, but without the push and influence from my parents I might not have turned out so well. As a child I was taken to church every Sunday. My parents went to church with me, and if they could not go my grandparents would take me. I was also involved in Wednesday night church activities and summer activities such as Vacation Bible School. These activities are fun and exciting; at the same time they teach young people about what it is right and wrong. We were taught Bible stories, the Ten Commandments, and songs that were about the teachings of God. The Bible stories always teach a lesson and if the Ten Commandments were taken seriously in the lives of everyone, the world could be changed from a world of hate into a world where everyone wants to be the perfect neighbor and friend. The singing of children’s church songs helps children to learn bible verses and stories from the Bible. It helps them to remember the teachings of God. Perhaps children’s praise songs should be taught at after school programs instead of letting them listen to secular music. By incorporating songs of a heavenly nature, a nonviolent, nonracist, and nonsexist attitude would be instilled in the minds of young people. Also during these after school projects, problems that children face in society should be addressed. Children are faced with many problems that spur violent and irresponsible behavior. For example, young people should be taught about the consequences of sex, drugs, cliques, peer pressure, and child abuse. Peter Elikann asks the question in the essay “Children as the Enemy” “Are we raising a nation of increasingly sociopathic children without feeling, repentance, or empathy?” (05). Elikann continues by suggesting that we intervene in the lives of children, providing role models and mentors to bother and love them in order to help the children before they get into trouble (11-1). I feel that the above activities suggest one possible way to influence and teach children a sense of emotional feeling, repentance, and empathy; adults must take on the responsibility and make a difference.

Teenagers face different problems than younger children. They have already passed through childhood and must be influenced by more mature activities. I was always involved in youth choir, Wednesday night fellowship, and several trips with our church. I really enjoyed being involved in the church’s activities. We had fun, but also incorporated teachings from the Bible on what is right and wrong. We would also talk about issues that teens face today. If a child is not raised in church, it is very difficult to get them involved as a teenager. We had a youth minister who saw the lack of involvement as a challenge. He developed ideas on how to reach out to the uninvolved youth of the community. He would visit the school and encourage us, the youth of the church, to witness to others and invite them to church. He didn’t really stress Sunday morning church, not that he didn’t want them to come, but he did encourage us to ask them to our Wednesday praise and worship band. He felt that they would be more comfortable in a more relaxed environment. Youth should feel comfortable in the church and should want to go to church. What we have to realize is that it is the church and the people of the church who must take on the responsibility and reveal a warm welcome to the troubled youth of the community. Getting teens off the street and into these programs should be our number one goal. Projects lead them to want more out of life because of the example that is being set. Positive activities also give teens the opportunity to meet friends. Meeting friends is very important. Adolescents who are not socially involved tend to build up violent aggression inside. If youth and children are not introduced to church by parents or other members of the church, then why should the child be held responsible for not having strong morals and values?

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Now we must figure out why the church does not want to get involved in the lives of problem children? I believe that they are just scared of what might happen if they do get involved. We might actually find out something we do not want to know. For example, we feel more comfortable thinking that child abuse and pre-marital sex is occurring somewhere far away. Once we are exposed to people who are actually living life in a less than perfect world, we are forced to acknowledge the existence of the problem and our responsibility to that person who is living a less than perfect life. The problem is not that we are not helping; the problem is that we are helping in the wrong areas. Annette Fuentes writes in her essay that adults are focusing on all the problems that children cause in our society instead of how to fix them (). Fuentes reveals that older adults don’t want to spend the time on these teens because when something goes wrong they do not want to be held responsible for the mistakes(5). She expresses that locking children up and punishing them with adults and not preparing them for life is wrong (4). In situations such as the ones afore mentioned, the church could get involved. I suggest that the church should take groups of adults to mentor to juveniles in juvenile detention centers and those in adult prisons. I think mentoring programs are something that is necessary. When delinquent teens get back out on the street, we do not want them to go back to their delinquent ways of living. If we teach delinquents who are in detention centers and prisons the right way of doing things, then maybe upon their release they will want to help other children with problems.

In contrast, many people do not feel that church involvement necessarily produces the effect many claim it does. Children of pastors and deacons often end up in as much trouble as those who never attend church. It could be argued that the influence of the church is seen more in words than in reality. The change should be seen in reality rather than a biased claim. Some critics believe the strict standards often imposed upon children in church can lead to rebellion. Children may feel that they are not given enough space for self expression. They feel that the rigid influence of the church retards their maturation and individual growth. Unfortunately, some demand an answer regarding the reasons differing behaviors are deemed to be right and wrong. Most importantly, parents and church members must realize that their responsibility is not to please their children. It is to raise them in the biblical manner.

Everything has a starting point. I know that it is too late for many, but we have to focus on the future leaders of our society. How do we want our nation to be run? Would we prefer a group of non-christian young adults with no morals, or would a group of Christian young adults with morals and high standards be more acceptable? Of course, we want our nation to be run by responsible Christians who live by God’s standards and have His influence in the government. Early childhood teaching of how to live responsibly in the community would benefit the entire nation. Church involvement is the answer to the problem that our society faces with violence and aggression among young children and youth. In the above writings, I have given many ways for churches to get children and teens involved. They all worked for me; maybe the ending results will be the same for many other youth.

Works Cited

Elikan, Peter. “Children as the Enemy.” The Contemporary Reader. Seventh Edition. Ed. Gary Gosgarian. New York Longman,

00. 18-1.

Fuentes, Annette. “Crackdown on Kids.” The Contemporary Reader.

Seventh Edition. Ed. Gary Goshganian. New York Longman,

00. -6.

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