Shepherding Away from Wrong Influences

A short time ago I was speaking with a co-worker, whom I’ll call Bob, about his son who is involved in a very serious problem. He said his son was saddened by a family who wouldn’t let their son associate with his son anymore because of this problem. Bob said he understood how the other parents felt, and he didn’t hold it against them. However, his son might not be in trouble now, had Bob exercised the same judgment at a previous point in time.

You see, Bob’s son’s trouble stemmed from his friendship with a fourteen-year-old young man. This young man had a history of this kind of problem, and yet Bob didn’t discourage his son from the friendship. Now, as Bob looks back, he can see how costly his lack of protecting his son will be.

Proverbs 22:24 says, “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go.” Otherwise we will learn his ways. We are also not to join with the rebellious, or we too will pay the consequences. Proverbs 24:21, “My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change.” These principles hold true for us as parents and certainly even more for our children. Children are extremely impressionable, and that is why negative peer pressure and other wrong influences are very dangerous.

I know some will say that young people have to learn to deal with the world; you can’t shelter them forever. However, aren’t our children more precious than young, tender plants that are raised in a greenhouse until they are mature and able to stand the environment? We don’t put a plant out in a violent thunderstorm for just a little while so it can get used to the wind and hail. It would be permanently injured. The same is true for our children. They must be protected until they have a strong foundation and have matured.

God’s role is for the father to be the protector of the family. We must be on guard for all types of threats. Certainly, the top of the list is wrong friends. They often appear to be nice and well behaved. Do you remember Eddy from “Leave It to Beaver”? He was nice while he was around the parents, but was a terrible influence the rest of the time. Your children may have friends who sow seeds of discontent with home education. Is it any wonder when your children then become discontented?

There are problems with wrong books, TV, and computer games. I am incredulous to find fathers who let their sons play the latest popular computer games. Some are very hideous and violent. Are we so naïve as to believe our children won’t be affected? Do we forget that companies spend millions of dollars for sixty-second commercials to influence people’s buying habits?

So, dads, are we being the shepherds that God has called us to be? Are we aware of what our children are reading, playing, watching, and who they are playing with? If so, are we certain that these influences will be for our children’s good? We will all give an accounting to the Lord someday for what kind of stewards we have been with these treasures God has entrusted us with.