The Unfiltered Generation
Encouraging Kids in a Morally Declining Culture
Children today are being born and raised into a technologically advanced society. While this has its advantages, it also has its dangers. Access to misinformation can cause confusion, magnify insecurities, and even damage a child’s frail and formidable mind.
There was a day and age when parents could filter the opinions and views their children were exposed to. However, regardless of how many filters a family has on their media outlets, they cannot protect their child from living in a materialistically dominant culture saturated with images and ideas surrounding sex, violence, tolerance, and moral relativism.
Children will be exposed to different world-views, either through conversations with their peers, by observing a same-sex couple walking down the supermarket aisle, or seeing a racy, unfiltered tabloid magazine cover in the checkout lane. While childhood may no longer seem protected, parents and spiritual leaders can play a vital role in encouraging kids to live an unfiltered life for Jesus Christ.
There are four aspects that parents and/or leaders can focus on as they encourage children.
- Spiritual. Let God be a regular part of your conversations. Talk to kids about God, your love for God, about difficult moments in your life, and how God helped you through them. Model a Christlike example—letting them see you worship, pray, and give—and then provide them with opportunities to worship, pray, and give. When they encounter situations in their own lives, teach them how to apply God’s Word to their situation. As they effectively model what they are learning, affirm their growth and allow them to share their testimony with their peers as a source of encouragement.
- Moral. Feelings and emotions change, but God has given them tools that will never change. Teach them that God’s Word is their manual, which can help them make decisions, and that the Holy Spirit has the ability to influence their thoughts in order to guide them. Above all, teach them how to ascertain what is good counsel and peer influence and what is not and how to respond to each.
- Social. Using Jesus’ example and God’s Word, teach kids how to interact socially with believers and nonbelievers. Equip them to talk about their faith, invite their peers to church, and navigate through conflict-resolution in a Christlike manner. Provide scenarios that allow the kids to role-play what they might say in a given situation with a peer.
- Emotional. While some of the issues children face might seem relatively small, do not make light of their pain. Validate their feelings. Affirm their identity in Christ. Teach them how to use the Bible in order to replace the lies that are causing them to feel sad, angry, inadequate, or discouraged with what God says about them. Discuss with them healthy ways for dealing with their emotional crises (e.g., journaling, painting, praying, taking a walk, talking to a counselor).
The Bottom Line: While kids are growing in a morally declining culture, a parent and/or leader can encourage a child spiritually, morally, socially, and emotionally in order to help them deepen their faith and live an authentic, unfiltered life in this world and encourage others to do the same.