Parent Like You Mean It: Fight for their News!

Parent Like You Mean It: Fight for their News! July 12, 2022

Fight for their News!

I was recently asked an interesting and unusual question: Where do your kids get their news? What’s more unique is that I received this question from a stranger I had been paired with while golfing. What’s even more interesting is that my 14-year-old was standing right there, and the guy asking the question wasn’t even really asking me, but rather indirectly, by proxy, asking my son: “Hey kid… where do you get your news?”

I felt like when I was helplessly sitting in the sixth row of my kid’s spelling bee, thinking: “Please get the answer right. Ask for the network of origin and a definition of the word ‘news’! Please don’t just shrug your shoulders and say “I dunno” or worse… PLEASE, SON… PLEASE DON’T SAY TIKTOK!”

Now, what my golfing partner was really wondering was, “Where do you get the information that shapes your worldview?” Of course, that inquiry doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily, and it’s certain to receive a reply of “I dunno” from any teenager. But, as the conversation progressed, it became very clear that our golfing partners were very interested in what is shaping the minds and opinions of today’s teenagers… and for the next few hours, my son would stand as the representative of all American teenagers! (No pressure).

But, this whole discussion started my mind spinning in that same direction. 

How are my kids’ worldviews influenced, and by whom?

How was my own worldview formed, and did I have a clue at all when I was a boy?

Now, I’m old. I know. I was raised in the 70’s and 80’s, so during the height and then the end of the Cold War. Back then, the delineation between God-fearing Americans and Atheist Communist Soviets was clearly defined. As a society, we strived to make Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream a reality, especially here in suburban Southern California. Our social “influencers” were “squeaky clean” athletes like Steve Garvey and Mary Lou Retton, trusted comedic geniuses like Johnny Carson, and Hollywood icons such as the all-too-perfect-dad, Bill Cosby. (OK… in hindsight, maybe a little transparency would have done us some good)

But, my point is that the overall tenor of the country throughout my formative years was one of optimism, fueled by our goal to defeat the spread of Godless Communism with goodness, and to learn to live in harmony with one another in that pursuit. Not only were these values propagated in media and celebrities, but they were reinforced around my family’s dinner table and in the car rides to baseball and soccer practices, shaping and molding my foundational ideals of what we should strive for as individuals and as a society.

That’s where I got my news from.

To be honest, I wish I could say that Walter Cronkite and Tom Brokaw established and set the pace of my family’s discussions. But, as I recall, we really talked more about what was going on in each of our lives, what were we learning about in school, on the fields and in Sunday School, and who ate the last of the cereal without telling mom?

Sure, times were simpler. But, were they really any different?

As a nation, we faced geopolitical foes in the USSR and China. We were told that we had to “give a hoot” and solve the existential crises of cleaning our waterways, skies and repairing the hole in the ozone layer before our children would be forced to live underground to hide from acid rain. And, we were taught to live in harmony with one another, acknowledging our hereditary uniquenesses while celebrating the Great American Melting Pot that we lived in and our forefathers fought for. (OK… now that I say all this out loud, I’m starting to see some of the stark differences.)

Then, we were afraid the Soviets would attack our us and our allies, we solved the littering and ozone problems, and we broke down racial barriers in business, leadership and throughout American society.

But, most importantly, my parents, Sunday School teachers, coaches, teachers and community leaders – for the most part – stood together in pursuit of all this. If my coach reprimanded me for my lack of sportsmanship, my parents backed his play. When my parents had strong opinions regarding the Halloween reading materials my teacher prepared for the class, she made arrangements for me to read something less “demonic”. And, when President Reagan urged Soviet President Gorbachev to “…tear down this wall!” – even when the wall was in a separate and uniquely sovereign country than the USSR – all the people influencing me and my generation stood in unison for tearing down the walls that divide us in pursuit of friendliness and understanding.

Sometimes, I really wish my kids could experience those “good ole days”… even if, as Billy Joel sang, “the good ole days weren’t always good”. 

Because, TODAY, kids across our country have teachers and school administrators who blatantly work AGAINST the will of parents; leaders teach our children that violence in response to their feelings being violated and disrespected is not just permissible, but is righteous; and we no longer a Great American Melting Pot, but moreover, any efforts that work toward peaceful tolerance (not prideful celebration, but mere tolerance), even and especially in the face of disagreement, is labeled as bigotry and phobic… all in the name of progress. And our kids are being force fed these values and formative worldviews at every corner – at school, on social media, in sports, in entertainment.

So, what’s a parent to do?

We fight.

We fight stronger. We fight with more patience and endurance. We fight with truth, logic and understanding. And we fight with love, generosity and humor.

It’s up to us, as leaders of our households and leaders of our communities to speak up and teach our youth of all ages the true virtues of love (opposed to passion); joy (not self-centered happiness); peace (not coerced submission); and so on and so on, culminating with self-control (rather than the oft-promoted “summer of rage” and other justified screaming, cursing, burning and violence).

We need to fight by having awkward and open discussions with our kids… all the time! We need to allow them to express themselves, even when they sound like meatheads, and then not simply shout them down, but walk them toward an understanding of what is objectively true.

Now, I am not naive. I completely understand that the values that might be alive and well under my roof may differ from those under yours. But, we all need to reestablish the ground rules of what things like tolerance and freedom mean. We need to go back to utilizing the same definitions for words like equality, Constitutional, and healthy. So that, in the exact same way that my parents entrusted me into the care of my friends’ parents who were Non-church-goers, Buddhists, Mormons, or God-forbid, Southern Baptists, with the knowledge that I would be guided in a unified direction – one established by the likes of George Washington and Dietrich Bonhoeffer and then furthered by heroes like Jackie Robinson and Pope John Paul II, and kept alive today by great thinkers and leaders such as Dennis Prager, Ben Shapiro, David Ruben, Condoleezza Rice and Tim Pool. 

Seriously… look at this list of people I consider “influencers” in my house: Washington, Bonhoeffer, Number 42, the Pope, Prager, Shapiro, Ruben, Rice and Pool… NONE of them come from the non-denominational Christian background as my wife and me. ALL of them are diverse in their heritages, upbringings, religions, genders and sexualities. YET, each and every one of them hold the same truths to be self evident. And each of them contribute to my family’s awkward dinner conversations in their own ways. 

So, to answer my golfing partner’s question: Where do my kids get their news from? Well, they get it from all around them: from their peers, from their devices, from their entertainment and from their culture. 

HOWEVER, they learn to weed through it all and derive truth from God and the righteous, trustworthy people He has placed in their lives to instruct and guide them. 

Some say it takes a village. But, be aware that every village has at least one idiot. Others say it takes a synagogue. But, as we can clearly read, even “The Prince of Peace” had to throw down against His religious leaders. It takes careful and diligent, inconvenient and exhausting work that begins before your kids are born and continues after they leave the house. But, the rewards are bountiful! (At least that’s what my parents and in-laws say).

So, to all my fellow parents, coaches, neighbors, influencers and news anchors… LET’S GET TO WORK!

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And, watch more entertaining and engaging videos from our incredible influencers videos here!

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