A second way to help your growing children navigate the rough waters of the modern sinking worldly culture is to tie them to their own daily devotions. Family devotions break down and are of little effect the minute the child is in a different setting. Their own personal daily devotions have to be rooted in their habits. Start yesterday. Every day without fail, have them read (for example) one chapter in the Old Testament, one chapter in the New, and one in the Psalms/Proverbs (i.e., treat P and P as a unit; don't start Psalms again until they have finished Proverbs). Also, have them keep a little notebook, jotting down just one thought out of all those three chapters that struck them—only one—this is not difficult. This keeps the text from just lying on the page. Grabbing one thought as their own gets some spiritual digestion going. Then, you have them pray, with head down, eyes closed, for five minutes. Prayer is a spiritual muscle and must be exercised progressively, starting at the lowest entrance level. No exceptions. Day in and day out. If your schedule is crazy and they went to bed late, then they do devotions late the next morning. The rule is that at their first available discretionary moment, even if that is 3 o'clock in the afternoon, they are to get that Bible open. It is a leash of no little proportions. This grows a lifetime spiritual muscle and a habit. It was the habit of every great saint. George Mueller read the Bible through more than 200 times. When there has been this fixation, there has tended to be outstanding spiritual fruit. To sit before the divine perspective every day reins in the wandering heart.
Third, keep the awareness open of outcomes in other people's lives. Constantly point out the ingredients in the lifestyles of others that make for a successful life—and, conversely, those that lead to destruction. Especially look for cheerful countenances—and the lack thereof. Guilt of a compromised spirit sallows the face. Study the faces—and the eyes. A bright unencumbered countenance is show-stopping. You can pick them out a mile away.
Fourth, do not be fearful of social isolation. It is to be remembered that John the Baptist emerged as a leader of men out of almost total isolation, as did Joash. Peers corrupt. Even if they are appear to be darling individuals, what they have been mentally fed since childhood is dry rot. They carry around a cesspool in their heads, through absorbing countless hours of TV, movies, worldly associations, liberal public education, and liberal relatives. The Freefall of the American University and College of Destruction are fairly recently published books that nail this insidious dynamic, which began in kindergarten. What you must remember is that there are world views in the heads of every peer. The sabotage happens at the presupposition level. It is airborne, caught like the common cold. Keep your children with deeply spiritual adults, you and others; flood them with these associations by the hours. Arrange for mini-mentorships (even just afternoons, or a few hours) with them by the dozens. If scores of such associations are not available, get these associations through reading volumes of spiritual biographies. Godly books are lunches with saints.
Your great objective is to get your adolescent across the finish line of a spiritual marriage. Your goal is not career (which will come and go) or college (four years of ivory towers). Get your adolescents/young adults down the marriage aisle safely, because that lasts a lifetime. Then they can safely start the next godly generation. The huge vacation of "adolescence" (a term never used in Abraham's day) is a no-man's land of self-absorption, 4 to 8 years of what?, filled by the devil's agenda to derail your firstborns and all who come after. This is not from heaven. Get your adolescents spiritually fit, yes, as in exercise, and get them ready for marriage: able to carry significant responsibilities. Start now. Also, get them absorbed in entrepreneurial careers now; get their checkbooks full; and get them growing excellencies in as many domestic skills as possible. We have work to do. Enlarge a well-groomed voracious reading schedule so that they self-educate at high velocity for the rest of their lives. Get them smarter than their peers, more capable than their peers, and richer than their peers (most of whom will graduate with great debt.) We must produce offspring who outdo our culture—who leave our culture in the dust. We can't do that by sitting on the sidelines, wondering how we fit in. We are not meant to fit in; we are to be jaw-droppers.
[A friend who read this, added the following thoughts:
“I think the big key to the whole counter-culture thing is homeschool. I realize that some people just do school at home and their children get the same social "nasties" (I just made up that word) at their church youth group, but we did not fall prey to that. We have found that homeschool helps our children to save money, as they do not follow the fashion scene (in clothes or electronics), and no television keeps the little ones from "needing" the latest (usually pagan) toy. It is obvious that the young adults of this current society appear to be spending their money on tattoo after tattoo. How crazy is that? Guess they got all the toys, electronics, and clothes they need, so they are on to something else. Wish they'd buy more clothes to cover up some of those tattoos! (Maybe they will when they are older and the tattoos start to hang. Nasty thought.) Oh, boy, I'm on a rampage here, but your message cranked me up. I agree wholeheartedly with this article, and thank you for the simple devotional guidelines for the children. That was good stuff.”]