Who Steers Your Ship…?

I think all parents imagine the world their children are growing up in is worse than anything that’s gone before.

The story of the woman caught in adultery as told in John’s Gospel chapter 8 verses 1-11 illustrates for me how parenting across the generations holds many truths in common despite the times.

Jesus, caught in a ‘damned if I do, damned if I don’t’ situation with the Pharisees finally answers their question concerning the law of Moses and stoning,

“What do you say?” they ask.

“…let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” he answers.

When he looks up, later, from doodling in the sand he notices the woman alone,

“Where are your accusers, didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

He sent her on her way,

“Neither do I.  Go and sin no more.”

What has this to do with the world today?

Well, whenever I think my children are living a little too close to the edge for my Christian fancy and blame it on the digital world, secular progressives, and globalization I beam myself back to who I was at their age.

Now that I’m not doing so much hands on raising I have time for these little excursions into my past.

I find I also, if they had sat up and taken notice, gave my parents plenty of pause for thought.

I grew up on the periphery of all kinds of explosions, music, long haired boy bands, women’s lib, flower power, bra burnings, drugs, music festivals, free love and other revolutions that were to change the world drastically to an anything goes mindset that casts a whole new meaning on today’s directive,

“Just Do It!”

Although I flirted with trouble I had a values radar that kept me on the straight and narrow.

No lectures from my parents, who when they received a letter from my school to say I’d been caught smoking said,

“Is that all?” from their Embassy 3,000 miles away.

It never occurred to them that I would do drugs if they even knew what that was, or run off to America to seek my fortune as a model, join a dance company or try my hand at acting.

When I broached the subject my mother said,

“Rubbish…we can’t have a hoofer in the family.  Who would look at you twice?”

They persisted in their mandate that they would support me through college (rare for a girl in those days) and when I hit 21 I’d be on my own.

“You’d better have a degree that will guarantee you a good job; teaching, nursing or the foreign office.”

I had three years of dependence left and I wanted to squeeze every last penny out of them.

I put my dreams on the back burner and attended University.

I was way too busy socializing, traveling and sliding by, to risk doing anything that would get me thrown in jail or living on the streets.

My parents were abroad, there was no-one on hand to bail me out and I had a free trip to Iran each year.

Opportunity to rebel knocked wherever I went but I had the moral integrity to ignore it.

In 21st century speak,

“I had an agenda.”

I was quite sure anything I did would neither let my parents down or make them hugely proud of me so I set my bar high for me.

So when I say to Daughts,

“I would never have done that,” and she responds with, “You’re not me, Mum,”

I’m not criticising, I’m just making an observation on my 22 year old self.

Regardless of the era in which I grew up, I decided what was right for me and my convent education helped me walk in The Word.

Peer pressure isn’t new, immorality isn’t new, marriage and divorce aren’t new, sexual sin isn’t new.  Nothing happens today that hasn’t happened before.

I am not without sin.

Before we get our knickers in a twist about what is going on in the world and how our children are being affected let’s remember who’s in charge and not worry about what others are doing.

Who steers your ship?





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