“Death” and “tragedy” seem to be words that go hand-in-hand, but the most tragic situations are the ones that are apparently preventable. The recent rash of deaths at the hands of young teens certainly falls into that category, and it seems I’m not alone in seeing the tragedy as starting back in the homes of these young murders. Let’s look at some of the decisions made by the parents of these problem teens so we can avoid repeating their mistakes.
They Discourage Their Kids from Taking Responsibility
The mother of 14-year-old Shaaliver Douse referred to her son as “her angel,” despite his probably being in a gang and recently having been arrested for the attempted murder of a 15 year old. Shaaliver was shot by police officers after police saw him firing shots at a fleeting person and then turning his gun on the cops. Likewise, the mother of the 15-year-old gunman in the shooting of 22-year-old Christopher Lane referred to her son, Jason Hicks, as “a good kid.”
Perhaps these moms were just consoling themselves with these words, but I think it’s pretty likely that they spoke them to their sons, as well. After all, we want our kids to have good self esteem, right? What if we told them they weren’t good? That they’re bad, or at least heading in a bad direction. Evil, even.
They Don’t Differentiate Between Good and Evil
The timeless struggle between good and evil is made much more difficult when we refuse to recognize that they are truly opposite. I like that this tv show comes right out and calls evil exactly what it is. If we muddy the waters and pretend that they’re the same, we’re doomed: in the Bible, Isaiah 5:20 says, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” I don’t think any of us would argue that the moms of these young murderers are in a “woeful” state.
I think they started down that road when they removed any basis for teaching their sons to “Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14). Certainly, they were not taught the principle of Matthew 12:35 — “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.”
In 3 John 1:11, we learn an explanation for why some are good and some are evil: “He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.” This struggle is universal (Romans 7:19), but when we fail to recognize the struggle, we have no place to start in teaching our kids to be good citizens, no less love God and others as Scripture prescribes.
In Part 2, we’ll look at a third factor that may have preceded these two issues.