"Be sure your sin will find you out." Numbers 32:23
When my children were young there were times I had to correct their behavior. In church, it was generally to cease their activity and listen to what was being said. Because I sang in the choir and my husband was often traveling for business, I made the kids sit on the front row in the congregation where I could monitor their behavior. I could see them clearly, and the message before I left them was always the same; “I expect you to sit still and listen. I better not have to leave the choir loft to deal with any disobedience. If I do…” The phrase was left open-ended. There was no need to finish my statement. They knew it wouldn't be pretty if I their behavior required me joining them. In all honesty they were always well behaved. There is only one incident I remember, and then, I only had to make eye contact with them to restore their angelic demeanor. The arch of my eyebrows and straightening of my back was all the indicator they needed. Each had experienced the sting of discipline when attitudes or actions weren't changed.
As they got older and earned the privilege of greater freedoms, we always reminded them to adhere to the rules they'd been taught. Another open ended statement was always left ringing in their ears; "We may not always see what you do, but God does..." I will never forget the shock and surprise one of our sons experienced when word of some infraction reached my ears before he made his way home from junior high. He had been walking with friends when his foolishness was observed by a friend of mine. I'd previously asked her to report if she ever saw any of my children not doing as they'd been taught. Although seeing the shock on his face that I already knew was priceless, there was still penalty for his misconduct. Now it's not to say we knew everything our kids were always doing, but we did care enough to be an active part of their lives. We have always been a family who loved them enough to discipline them when necessary. We have never had a need to be popular with them or their friends. We were raising them to honor God and be good citizens, a benefit to society, not a problem.
As I observe young people and their parents today, there are times I am simply appalled. This past week I was left speechless when I read the account of how over 300 teens broke into the vacation home of former NFL star Brian Holloway for a party, vandalizing the property for over $20,000 in damage. Not only were they uninvited guests to the empty home, but they tweeted out invites and posted pictures on their Twitter accounts. Brian Holloway's son saw the tweets and the police were called in.
It gets worse. Once the Holloway's recovered from the initial shock of the offense, Brian opened up a site www.helpmesave300.com * posting tweets the kids had sent out, and asking the community for help. He was offering the students an opportunity to own up to their crime and to help make repairs. Some of the parents reaction was nearly as offensive as the vandalism itself, threatening to sue the Holloway's for posting the pictures, reasoning it would ruin their kids chances of getting into college.
But wait, the kids had already posted the pictures on Twitter.
The whole incident boggles my mind. I am left shaking my head at the thought of so many teenagers left footloose and fancy free and their parents unaware of their activity. Then to think when parents learned of it, their response is anger towards the victim and not the behavior of their child. It is so very sad. My prayer is it will become a place of healing for many. I commend Brian Holloway and his family for their response in trying to reach out to the teens involved. God alone knows if it will open the eyes of those who are so obviously walking in darkness. He is El Roi, the God who sees, and even in this we can be assured He has a plan.
To any parent who may read this, please love your children enough to know who they're with, what they're doing and who is influencing their lives. If their behavior demonstrates they are traveling down a road to destruction, love them enough to step towards them and discipline them when necessary.
* Please be advised some of the language used in the tweets of the teens may be offensive.