Does Nostalgia for Old Times Mean Withdrawing From Culture?

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Does Nostalgia for Old Times Mean Withdrawing From Culture?

“My curfew was the light pole, my mom didn’t call my cell, she yelled my name, I played outside with friends, not online. If I didn’t eat what my mom cooked, then I didn’t eat. Sanitizer didn’t exist, but you COULD get your mouth washed out with soap. I rode a bike without a helmet, getting dirty… was… OK, neighbors gave a darn as much as your parents did. Re-post if you drank water from a garden hose & survived.”   Have you seen this floating around your Facebook wall or email inbox? Or perhaps the email you received was about a time when Mother’s stayed at home and had a 4 course meal prepared for Father at the end of his busy day. (And she wore pearls and heels to boot!) I have to admit . . . when I read something like this it conjures up all kinds of warm fuzzies. I do remember long summer days playing with neighborhood kids until the sun finally went down and my Mom would whistle us in from all corners of the neighborhood. Emails like this also can make me feel cynical towards “today’s generation.”   Why do you think people create posts like this? I always wonder, what is their perception of our current culture? As I’ve thought about it, my guess is the person is simply longing for “the good old days” and may find themselves adjusting poorly to our rapidly changing society. This is not a bad thing in and of itself. I think we ALL struggle with this to some extent.   So what is a Grace Based Parent to do in a culture where The Jersey Shore is on it’s 3rd season of selling sex, immorality, vanity and idolatry? It seems parents go one of three ways. Some become so negative and fearful of our culture that their families become wrapped up in a Christian cultural bubble where everything is safe. They have a Christian version of YouTube, a safe Christian substitute for indie rock, and even have their own theme parks. Another group of parents see culture as something that can’t be avoided. If their daughter is to be influential in her school, she needs to dress like the popular girls, regardless of how immodest she may appear. I see this kind of parenting reflective in those who spend most of their weekends at the country club with their own friends while their kids do what they want. After all, finally, the kids are old enough to fend for themselves, right?   The third type of parent is one I’m striving to be alongside my husband. We want to embrace the parts of our culture that are redeemable, and reject those that are immoral. We want to be learners of our culture so that we know what things are going to be challenging or tempting for our children to face. I want to know what my daughter is going to be up against when she hits junior high. What kind of female peer pressure is she going to be under? Will my sons live in a world where materialism is king? Or by the time they get to high school will the slacker mentality be all the rage? We can’t know how to pray for our children and how to walk alongside them if we don’t know what they are facing. We won’t know what they are facing if we ban anything unChristian from our doorstep, or turn a blind eye. I don’t want our children to hate our culture, I want them to love the people who are trapped within it.   As parents, we need to be aware of what is going on in culture. Not so we can sit around the dinner table and complain to our spouse and kids about how evil the world is becoming. The reality is, the world has always been evil, and will stay that way until Jesus returns. If we are parents who trust in the Grace of Jesus Christ, then we have nothing to fear. Be a good parent by proactively listening to what is going on in the world around us. Be an even better parent by listening to your child talk about struggles he or she is going through without blaming it on the evil world out there. As Ernest Goodman says, be a good Son or Daughter of the King by “loving your filthy, disgusting city” and pray that God will use your family to bring Truth to it.   {Originally published in 2011}

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