Do not envy the wicked, do not desire their company;for their hearts plot violence, and their lips talk about making trouble. By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. The wise prevail through great power, and those who have knowledge muster their strength. Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers. Wisdom is too high for fools; in the assembly at the gate they must not open their mouths. Proverbs 24:1-7 NIV
There are some snares and pitfalls we can avoid in life, IF we simply take the time to think about what we do–BEFORE we do it. This is not a one-time lesson in life, but an on-going life lesson we must learn, if we are to survive to share our testimonies of how we overcame.
For teenagers–the path to adulthood is an obstacle course–at every turn, they must watch for the snares and pitfalls that are waiting to keep them from enjoying success as an adult. Those snares and pitfalls come in the form of “wrong” friends and giving into the influence that peers force upon others–if they want to be “cool.”
Being “cool” is not always the best route to take to navigate high school or in some cases–middle school. For the peer pressure comes earlier and earlier and even in some elementary schools–kids are pressured to join in or be square.
I’ve been there, but I was considered square because I wasn’t interested in doing anything that could get me in trouble with my mother. “Back in the day” as some would say, at 14 years-old, I had the responsibility of taking care of my brothers and sister after school. It was my responsibility to make sure dinner was cooked (meat, vegetables and a starch), everyone ate, and kitchen cleaned before my mother got home from work. When things went wrong at home and she wasn’t there, I handled it–from the ninth–through eleventh grades–I ran the house. My mother worked two jobs to support us and even though she wasn’t around much, she had instilled a fear in us that made sure we didn’t get into trouble. But then, I was raised in a community of less than 200 people and everyone knew everyone’s business, so there was little chance of getting away with anything.
That’s not the case today. Kids have greater obstacles to withstand if they’re strong enough and wise enough to stand up to their peers. The experimentation with drugs and sex can be overwhelming and the temptation to great to resist, but we must teach them how and show them by example–how to win in life. It’s not easy, but it is necessary. The first obstacle we must teach them to overcome is how to survive in a drug-culture in the schools. Drugs are prevalent everywhere–and it doesn’t matter if it is an affluent or an impoverished community–the more access to money kids have, the greater the likelihood that kids will move from the cheap drugs to the more expensive ones. But illegal drugs–are bad news–for everyone and we see the results from the crime in the streets, to the overdoses in the hospitals.
So, while we’re praying for them to successfully navigate the murky waters of temptation, we must also teach–and re-teach them how to be confident enough in who God has called them to be, that they can resist the temptation of the evil set before them, and not be concerned about what others think.
Lord, be merciful unto us as leaders in churches, parents, and school administrators and give us wisdom–abundantly–so we can help our children live and succeed as You would have them to do.