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"Cordless Kids"

Pat Williams relates the following- Our fifteen-year-old son, the youngest child, is beginning to show signs of wanting to leave the nest. When he chose to be with his friends rather than go on a family outing, I jokingly told him that I wasn't ready to cut the umbilical cord just yet. "Mom, get with it," he replied. "I'm cordless." (December, 1999, Reader's Digest)

Could it be that many of the problems with America's young people are the result of kids who are too soon and too often "cordless?" A recent Newsweek issue focused on the 22 million teenagers in America (5-8-00, "A World Of Their Own", p 53). The article reports that as a group today's teens live lives that are more "adult-free" than other generations. "Adolescents are not a tribe apart because they left us, as most people assume," says Patricia Hersch (author of the 1998 book A Tribe Apart). "We left them. This generation of kids has spent more time on their own than any other in recent history." The article went on to note that many teens live in a private, "adult-free" world of the Web and videogames, spending 20% of their waking hours alone. The result is that teens are isolated from adults and parents to an extent never possible before. Adding to the problem, according to William Damon of Stanford University, "There is an ethic among adults that says, 'Kids want to be autonomous; don't get in their face'."

But wait a minute. Kids may want to be autonomous, but "getting in their face" is exactly what God has called parents to do. God says a parent's most pressing task is to "train up a child in the way he should go" and to "bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord" (Proverbs 22:6a; Ephesians 6:4). God requires that parents be present in a child's life. Almost 3,000 years ago Solomon spoke about "cordless" kids living in an "adult-free" world. In Proverbs 29:15 he said, "The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother." Solomon notes the real cause of most problem children- problem parents. Parents who are absent from their children. Parents who have abandoned their God-given role as mentor, teacher, guide, and disciplinarian. Parents who are busy getting ahead in life even as their relationship with their kids is falling behind. Parents, God expects you to nurture and guide your kids. Get in their face. Our world can't stand many more cordless kids.

by Dan Gulley
Smithville Church of Christ