Summary: Chip Ingram offers advice from years of pastoring and parenting on how to raise spiritually strong kids in the midst of a godless world.

Well, I’d like to welcome you because we’re on a journey together and our journey is to learn how to become effective parents in a defective world.

And I wanna share a story with you. It’s a traumatic one and one that actually happened. I did a funeral about four or five years ago and in this funeral it was really bizarre, because as the high schoolers came in about a third of them were dressed in black; another third were in black and had orange on and in Santa Cruz County these were called Gothics. These were kids that all dressed in black, they’d all dabbled in the occult, they were into the drug culture (13-, 14-, 15-, 16-year-olds) and they filed in with these solemn faces; some had white painted on their eyebrows. And what the tragedy was is this wasn’t a funeral that I was doing of some kid in the drug culture out there. This was a 15-year-old boy named Tyler in our church and this was from a middle-class family -- a Mom, a Dad in the home, nice home -- and this is a group of parents that found out their kid got involved with the wrong crowd. And, you know, he’s: "Oh, he’s going through the teen years. He’s only 15 and kids are gonna have their struggles."

Well, at Santa Cruz County, at the time, could you to get a hit of heroin. It was the drug of choice among high schoolers for under $10.00. And this boy got hooked and he got hooked quickly, and then he started running with another group of people. And they were people just like many of you, I mean, just normal parents who were caught off guard -- "What do we do?" They went through all the actions and looking for help, and by the time they figured out how deep their son was in it was too late. And they tried a rehab situation and that didn’t work and they came into his bedroom early one morning, after they thought he was clean for two or three weeks, and he was lying on the floor and he overdosed on heroin.

And I was called and his father’s a friend of mine, and we’ve got to know each other. And, actually, as a result of his death, his father started a foundation where he raises money to make parents aware of what they need to know is going on with their kids, and then when they find it’s a drug-related issue then what he does is he teams them with people to get them the help early enough, so that their kids don’t end up like his kid.

Can you imagine that? 15 years old and the shocking thing was not burying a 15-year-old. I looked around at the perversity of the culture. I looked at these kids all dressed in black, many with Satanic emblems and worship, and one after another got up and talked about how much they cared about Tyler and how they didn’t want to happen to them what happened to him. And then one little girl, about 14 years old, with tears in her eyes said, "But I don’t think I can stop. Who’s gonna help me?"

And what I wanna bring to your attention is the culture has so shifted, not only in America but all over the world, that it’s more difficult to be a parent than ever before. The stakes are different. When I was a kid, you got in trouble -- I still remember my first paddling in junior high. I threw snowballs at a bus. I remember chewing gum and having to sit in the trashcan, literally, 1st grade. You know? I remember the people who were really naughty; they smoked in the restroom or maybe even smoked a little dope. Your kids today can make one wrong decision and be HIV-positive one or two or three years later. Your kids can make one wrong decision and get in the wrong car and end up at a rave party, or be involved in drugs, or alcohol, or date rape.

It’s never been more difficult to be a parent in the stakes, flat out, have never been higher, and you need to understand the kind of world your child’s living in. Your kid is living in a world that is changing, it is uncertain, it is violent, it is fearful. In a word, it’s defective. I mean, there isn’t a right and wrong in your kid’s world anymore. There is moral chaos. There’s the fear of what will happen if he doesn’t go along with this or go along with that. Your kid’s living in a world that’s so different than what any of us grew up in. I mean, we’ve gone from Ozzie & Harriet to Ozzy Osbourne. We’ve gone from Leave it to Beaver to Butthead and Beavis, or whatever his name is. I mean, imagine just when you turn on the tube, if you’re watching a television 40 years ago and saw in America this is a family, and then you shut you eyes and fell asleep, and woke up 40 years later, and watched what’s on today, what is portrayed as a normal family -- kids are growing up, they don’t have a clue what a normal family is and, I’ve got news for you, the average parent’s not sure either.

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