Today, parents have to be more intentional about their goals than did first-century parents, because parents must now contend with teachers who may negate the parental influence on every hand -- teachers like television and the Internet. Perhaps other generations could have dared to say, "My children know how I feel without my spelling it out to them," but such a laissez-fare attitude will no longer work. The competition for the human soul is much too fierce for that. When one thinks of the number of subtle and corrupting siren voices that solicit a child or a teenager, one is astonished that so many children turn out as well as they do. The quiet wooing of the Holy Spirit and what theologians call prevenient grace -- the faithfulness of God that seeks us before we turn heavenward -- are more active in our world than we can ever estimate, else the cause of righteousness would be quite overwhelmed by the never-ceasing insistence of the secular, the easy, the immediately profitable or enjoyable.
Nevertheless, the main burden of influence rests upon us, the parents and surrogate parents. That is, we parents, teachers, employers, neighbors, and godly friends are the ones who determine whether a new generation will be found in the temple or in the provinces of shallow, thoughtless, and destructive living. And because shallow or thoughtless living doesn't seem as perilous as "destructive" living, we may need to remind ourselves that life's perils often come in comfortable clothing.
-- J. Ellsworth Kalas in New Testament Stories from the Back Side