Remember the old song by John Mellencamp called “You’ve Got to Stand for Somethin’”?
If not, I encourage you to look it up. I know I’m showing my age, but good music is good no matter how old you are. Good lessons are good no matter how old as well. Mellencamp brings to light the importance of standing up for what we believe is important. I want to take this idea and apply it to families and parenting. What do you as a parent stand for? What does your family stand for? Do your kids know what your family values? These questions are so incredibly important to ask as a parent but are often not even on a parent’s radar not to mention their kids.
Why are these questions so important? For the same reason that Mellencamp gives in his song, “You’ve got to stand for something or you’re going to fall for anything.”That’s exactly what we are seeing all across our country today- people falling for anything! As a parent, this can be so costly for the family. It’s costly when the things we fall for are not healthy for our family or downright harmful. So if that’s the case, why are we falling for so many things we know can hurt us? At the risk of stepping on people’s toes, let’s face it, we are suckers for instant gratification. “If it feels good, do it!” “I deserve to be happy!” “It’s all about MY comfort!” Should I go on? What’s worse is that in this 24/7 digital age, marketing agencies and social media platforms understand exactly what appeals to our desires. The packaging is shiny and flashy. The bold print screams, “You Need Me”! “You deserve it”!
I’m as bad as anyone out there. I can rationalize nearly every decision I make. I make up excuses and then make deals with myself to soften the guilt. You know what I mean, you’re guilty just like me. We eat the chocolate cake but tell ourselves that we will run a couple of extra miles tomorrow to burn it off. That’s a bold-faced lie! So, how do I help myself and my family from being swept up by what feels good in the moment or the latest and greatest temptations? Let’s first ask ourselves some questions. What do you stand for and why? Is your decision to stand for something based on a solid foundation or is it based on feelings, opinions, fleshly desires? Are there alot of exceptions or gray areas? Is your stance easily persuaded to change? Do you sometimes describe yourself as a “go with the flow” kind of person?
Sure, there are many decisions in life that are not that important in the grand scheme of things: the color of your shoes, the genre of music you listen to, wheat or rye bread. Who cares, right, but there are plenty of things that do matter. Not only do they matter today, but they mattered yesterday and they will matter tomorrow. Do you stand for integrity? Doing the right thing, even when nobody’s watching. Do you stand for the golden rule? Treating others the way you want to be treated. Do you stand for unconditional love? Loving even when someone is acting unloveable. Do you stand behind your word where your yes means yes, and no means no? Do you stand behind your day’s work? An honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. Do you stand on the truth that we were all wonderfully and uniquely created by a loving God? “For you created my inmost being: you knit me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13 NIV) These are the unshakeable things to build your life and your home on.
At Rock Solid Families, my wife and I see day after day what happens when couples and families operate without a solid foundation. Doing what “feels” right in the moment or what would satisfy a more immediate desire does not always mean long term happiness or peace. It often comes at the cost of hurting others, breaking trust, losing integrity, breaking up families, and broken communities. As parents, we can not hide our family in a cave or protect our kids from every little challenge, but we can help build them to be strong in character. We can help develop in our children a foundation of strong morals and values for things that mattered yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
I challenge you to be more mindful in your home about taking a stand on the things that matter. I encourage you to stress these virtues on a daily basis with your kids. Don’t leave this matter to chance or public opinion. Just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t necessarily make it right. We have seen this and continue to see it every day in the world around us. Give your kids the courage and strength to stand strong and know why and what they are standing for. That doesn’t guarantee an easy life full of pleasure-seeking and fun. But it does help to ensure a person of principle that will positively impact generations to come. Remember, If you don’t stand for something, you’re going to fall for anything. Don’t let it be the fall of your family.