Reviving American values won't come by criticizing the media or railing at the intrusive nature of big government. It will come when parents once again take on the critical role of raising their children to be responsible citizens. Training children is time consuming and requires creative repetition and consistency in a world deluged with competing values. Training children to be good and responsible takes timely family discussions, consistent structure and discipline, faith nurturing, values commentary on life events, monitoring TV and movie viewing, and reading stories that teach moral lessons worth imitating.
Unfortunately, too many parents are taking the path of least resistance--handling over the character development of their children to their peers, TV, smart phones, computers, and schools that are often prohibited from affirming core values that made this country great. With these influences, is it any wonder that narcissism and entitlements are running rampant in our culture?
Developing our children’s attitudes, values, and life skills is one of a parent’s most important jobs. In fact, that responsibility used to be taken very seriously by parents and grandparents alike.
Facing cultural intrusion and the forced dispersion of the faithful, Jewish parents were instructed to continually infuse their children with a respect for the law and faith in God. In Deuteronomy 11:19, parents read what training respect for God's law will mean: "Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." One can not discount the importance of ritual celebrations, worship and instruction in sustaining a culture battered by persecution and cultural forces.
A country can only be as good as the citizens it develops. President Calvin Coolidge alluded to that truth when he wrote On a Great Government: “If in a free republic a great government is the product of a great people, they will look to themselves rather than government for success. The destiny, the greatness of America lies around the hearthstone. If thrift and industry are taught there, and the example of self-sacrifice oft appears, if honor abide there, and high ideals, if there the building of fortune be subordinate to the building of character, America will live in security, rejoicing in an abundant prosperity and good government at home in peace, respect, and confidence abroad. If these virtues are absent, there is no power that can supply these blessings. Look well to the hearthstone, therein all hope for America lies.”