I’ll be the first to admit it. I’m not the perfect parent. My kids aren’t perfect either. They’ve messed up. I’ve messed up. We’ll all mess up again.

But there’s a difference between my imperfect parenting and what I’ve seen in the news recently. Though this post is a bit different than what I normally write, two specific stories caught my attention and won’t let it go.

Brian Holloway’s House Trashed

teen with phoneLabor Day weekend, more than 300 teenagers partied at the vacation home of former NFL player, Brian Holloway. Unfortunately, Holloway was not at home. Nor did he know that hundreds of drunk, rowdy party goers were “enjoying” his home. Not until his son happened to see photos and posts pop up on Twitter and other social media outlets.

Holloway called the police but when they arrived the only thing they found was the aftermath – trash, graffiti, broken windows, beer and urine soaked carpet. Holloway estimates the property damage at around $20,000.

Instead of immediately insisting on arrests, Holloway organized a cleanup, but none of the partying teens or their parents showed up. So, in an effort to get the teens to come forward, take responsibility for their actions and change their behavior, Holloway reposted their partying photos on a website he created called HelpMeSave300.com.

How many do you think came forward after that? None! Unless you count the parents who’ve threatened to sue Holloway for posting photos of their delinquent teenagers online. Seriously?!

Twelve-year-old Bullied to Death

The second story resulted in consequences far greater than property damage. On September 9, 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick jumped to her death from a water tower after suffering months of bullying by a group of 12 to 14 year-old girls.

It started over a boy late last year at school. Physical attacks. Terrorizing her online. The school knew. The parents’ knew. Rebecca’s parents resorted to homeschooling. But it continued. In fact, it continued even after Rebecca unsuccessfully attempted suicide last December by cutting her wrists.

So far, Florida sheriff Grady Judd has arrested two girls, charging them with felony aggravated stalking. And he hasn’t ruled out charging the parents too.

His reasoning? “It only can happen when parents don’t parent their children,” he said. “You need to know what they’re talking about online. You need to know who their friends are. You need to know if they’re bullying people at school.”

The arrests happened after one of the girls made an self-incriminating comment online last weekend. The parents’ response? “Somebody hacked her Facebook account.”

These two stories have some sad similarities:

  • Parents who refuse to take responsibility for the behavior of their children.
  • Parents who have not taught their kids that actions have consequences.
  • Parents who’ve absorbed or taken care of the consequences of their kids actions.
  • Parents who’ve fostered an atmosphere of entitlement.
  • Parents who’ve never taught  their children to care about or respect other people.

I realize that some kids will behave like this even when their parents have taught them these things. But in the aftermath, when a kid makes a bad choice, a good parent makes them stand up and take responsibility for their actions.

They don’t make excuses for them. Or blame someone else. Or sue the victim.Help me understand this. Am I making too much of this or is our society on a downward spiral?

In the wake of his experience, Brian Holloway has started a movement to encourage parents to teach their kids to be responsible for their actions.

What can we do as the church? What can believers do to help the younger generation change the direction they’re headed? What can we do to teach and encourage young parents?

Let’s share some ideas today!

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