I find it odd to be posting something on child rearing and parenting considering I’m a young, single person with no children, but I suppose having a young person’s point of view on this topic might be helpful to some. I want to start off by saying that I am very fortunate to have grown up in a Christian home despite what was happening with my father in my early life and even still continues on today even though he passed away over the summer due to his drug addiction. My mother took us to church every chance we got. We visited a few after her and my father separated and finally joined a church when I was around ten years old and we stayed there for seven years. It was-and still is-a Godly, Bible-Believing church and I learned so much in my seven years there. I was inspired greatly by my Pastor and his wife, and by other members of the congregation. I learned about the Bible and I learned about a lot of Godly people and it was extremely important to me. It still is. But, I have my mother to thank in regards to who I learned to look up to. You see, it’s very easy for a young person to drift away from Godly people and stray over to whoever is popular. When I was my tweens/very early teens, I started wanting to look up to the famous women that I saw in TV, magazines, or on a stage somewhere simply to fit in with the rest of the crowd. This was also during the beginning of my “doubting period” with God, and I wasn’t all that interested in the Bible or anything regarding the Christian faith. I was very sheltered and didn’t know much about celebrities, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to. My parents kept me in church and my mother continued telling me about true Godly role-models, and I gradually drifted back. Even though I would say right now that my faith is stronger than it has ever been, I still have my moments of wanting to fit in. I know that making friends and keeping them around would be much easier if I relaxed on my convictions and beliefs, and it is still extremely tempting at times. What feels like my entire generation-which isn’t true, there is still a very large remnant, if you will, of God-fearing young people-look up to women like Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Lady GaGa and so on. Most teenaged girls going into their early 20’s have been sucked into a liberal feminism movement because of said famous women and what those women say. Because of who they look up to, they have left their first love, so to speak, and moved on to things that God blatantly disapproves of. We have left modesty, purity and a strong, unwavering faith to the older folks sitting in pews at church because we find it boring. We like the faith that we see women like Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez have; they claim to be Christians and to be bought by Jesus’ blood, but they do not act like women of God. They have twisted scripture until it started to suit their desires and wishes for their lives and then they’ve left it. I don’t say these things to be mean to a group of women, famous or not, but it is extremely important to find out who your children look up to. Ask them. Dig deep. They’ll probably be honest.
The modern media has tricked young people, young girls especially, that they need role-models like the women mentioned about to teach them about confidence and how to have it. They’ve tricked them into thinking that you must look up to these women and follow their wonderful examples. They must be doing something right if they’re so famous. I want you to be extremely wary and be careful with who you let your children, your young daughters, even your sons, look up to. Those people may seem like innocent role-models, they may appear to help your kids learn how to be confident and proud of themselves, but it can turn toxic very quickly. Most kids would follow these people and do whatever they say or start believing what they believe because it is very easy to put a beautiful, talented, seemingly kind person on a pedestal.
My mother taught me about a lot of people. Biblical people, like King David, a man that I learned to look up to due to his heart for God, a man that I seek to learn from so I do not make his same mistakes. People like Esther, who boldly stand for God when no one else does. People like Jonah, who learn from their experiences that God sends them and goes on to act upon it and change for the better. People like the Apostle Paul, who sought after Christ even when it put him in prison. These people were all flesh and blood, they had their faults, but God gives them to us in scripture so that we can learn from them. We will all fall short of the glory of God, but these men and women, despite their faults, were actively seeking God and believed in repentance. They did not cherry pick the Bible to suit their needs, they knew who God was and is, and they followed Him through everything. When they failed, they allowed God to pick them back up again.
My mother taught me about Christians like Lester Roloff and other great preachers. She encouraged me to study history and find Christian pastors, preachers, evangelists, missionaries and writers from the past so I could learn from them and their heroic faith. She would take me to the bookstore and allow me to pick out books from the classics section. I’ve always been one for old stories, for classic books, for history, so this section has always been my favorite. She encouraged me to read and learn, and she’d buy me Spurgeon, Tozer, Bunyan, Elisabeth Elliot, Ravenhill and so on. She made me listen to sermons with her even when I did not want to, and she told me about the sermons that she listened to in her own time, told me about the new preacher that she found, the preachers that she grew up listening to and looking up to. I remember her talking about the day that she heard Lester Roloff and his group of girls that he had around at the time sing and preach at her school. A day that changed her life. She almost always had videos playing of him and his girls singing. I hated it when I was young, I love it now.
My mother was real with me. She told me, in her blunt way, about the people that God wants me to follow after. I learned about the attributes of a Godly person and how to live my life based on God’s calling and not on what so-and-so is recommending on the TV.
“If you don’t want your daughters to grow up and dress like the female celebrities of today, if you don’t want them to glorify the flesh, sleep around, seek fame and attention from the world, then show them the Christian greats. Show them the Bible. Show them Jesus. Your daughters do not have to have Beyonce or Taylor Swift or any other celebrity to make them learn how to be confident.”
I’ve seen a lot of young women go wayward because of who they’ve learned to look up to. It is easy to be deceived by anyone who is famous and appears frequently on our social media pages and TV screens. The Devil uses them-I know, this sounds very Baptist of me-and it can be a great danger. I’m not saying that celebrities are evil or if your daughter likes a song by Taylor Swift, she’s going to go out into the world and fall away from God, but I’m saying this; be careful of who you are letting become a role-model in your child’s life. I’m asking you this-Who do you want your child to grow up to be like? What kind of characteristics do you want them to have? What do you want them to do when they are older? This isn’t about whether you want your child to be a prosperous doctor or a lawyer, it’s about what kind of heart you want them to have. Ask them who they’re looking up to, then go out and do some research on whatever man or woman that they say. The Bible and men and women of God should be placed far above any popular celebrity. Parents, media is going to try and tell you that these women are teaching them how to love themselves and be confident, but there is no better place to find Godly confidence than in scripture or in the books or sermons of God followers. Teach them to be confident in the Lord, not in their flesh.
I’m writing about this because I didn’t fully understand how important this is until just weeks ago. I realized that gradually, I’m turning into my mother. Not a bad thing. When I plug my phone into my car to play music, I play Lester Roloff. I’m turning into my mother. I’m still drifting towards what she taught me in our home. What I learned in my church because my mother made me go and listen. While the slightly younger me would have been tempted to play what my peers were playing, I learned based on what my mother taught me and how she steered me. What are you teaching? And who are you letting teach your children? This very blog is based on the people I look up to. I started writing a Christian blog because of those Christian people I talked about earlier. They taught me a lot about the Bible and about life. How I dress, how I conduct myself in public, what music I listen to, is all in a way based on who I’ve learned to look up to. Now, I’ve picked a lot of these people for myself. It’s been trial and error, but really, it’s like scripture says, Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
I want to end this post with a verse from Ecclesiastes chapter 12. Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not. Teach them to remember their Creator and the people that He would be proud of. The people that are His disciples.