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Crime: Don't blame our children

NOWHERE TO GO: As fewer children are sent to Sunday School, more are out on the streets

IT WOULD appear that Londoners have been gripped by a youth crime wave. If it’s not young men committing crime on mopeds in order to make off with innocent people’s belongings, then there’s the chance of being attacked by acid, which now seems to the weapon of choice because there is no chance of being arrested and possibly imprisoned for carrying this dangerous substance.

As is the case when things like this happen, there’s the usual negative commentary about the state of today’s youth. And while we can concede that there are young people who behave badly, maybe we are looking in the wrong direction when trying to determine the reasons for their behaviour. Maybe it’s time to look at their parents. Aside from God, the individuals who should have the greatest influence and understanding of children is their parents.

The Bible states in Proverbs 22 (KJV):

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

The New Living Translations makes the meaning of that much clearer:

“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”

MORAL

I’m from a generation who got sent to Sunday School by their parents, because they felt it was a good place for their children to get some moral education – and from talking to my peers, it is evident that parents held many things in common with regards to raising their children. Most taught their children to respect parental authority and to avoid criminal activity using the phrase, ‘If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime’.

Other values they taught their children include respecting themselves and others, to value education, to be ambitious and be willing to work hard to achieve their goals, and to have faith in God.

Of course, times change, and so do parental methods, but one can’t help but think that too many parents have abandoned their parental duties and have left their children to be raised by either the TV, the streets and/or gangs.

Parents often know when their children are up to no good. And I think society is fully conversant with what happens when children, especially boys, have little or no input into their lives from a father or male role model.

Churches have an important role to play in supporting parents in their role.

Families are the bedrock of our community. Children are our future and we do them a great disservice when we don’t set firm boundaries.

The next time you see young people behaving badly, don’t blame them. The parenting they received might be at fault.

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