The Economist magazine (or “newspaper,” as the British publication refers to itself) doesn’t usually get involved in the business of directly advising parents, and it is certainly not a proponent of biblical truth as the framework for parenting, having once published an obituary for God. But this week’s issue contained an interesting statement that has echoes of the core message pureHOPE delivers to parents.
In an article reviewing a new book titled Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood, by sociologist Christian Smith of the University of Notre Dame, The Economist seems to bemoan the trends brought to light by Smith’s research: that adolescents are slower to emerge into adulthood these days; a lack of moral reasoning based on anything outside of personal experience; regret over early and promiscuous sexual activity; the negative effects of consumerism; and general apathy among young people in the twenty-first century.
Yet, says the esteemed publication, this book is not simply a dour text full of doom and gloom. Surprisingly, The Economist concludes thus: “It is really a warning to parents. In the guise, often, of teaching tolerance, we are failing to ensure that our children understand how to frame moral issues and make judgments about right conduct and about what is good in life. The reason for this, Mr. Smith suggests, is that we are not so sure ourselves.”
As we often say at pureHOPE, “You can’t give away what you don’t have.” The Economist’s conclusion is spot on in the sense that we cannot expect our children to pursue purity and model integrity in a sexualized, digitized culture if we parents are not doing the same. In that sense, The Economist’s summons to “mums” and dads is in line with Scripture: “these words shall be in your heart” (Deuteronomy 6:6), making it possible to “teach them diligently to your children” (Deuteronomy 6:7). If we neglect the first step, we are contributing to a worrying trend that bodes ill for our children and our society.