Since we don’t live in Mayberry any longer, parents need to reject the wisdom of this age and the foolish counsel from state officials. Instead, the way of wisdom, maturity, and love calls for parental engagement, which sometimes means telling our kids, “Wait…trust me…[while we] try to keep temptation away” for your present good and everlasting joy.
In a 1961 episode of Andy Griffith, a drifter who was hanging around Andy’s hometown of Mayberry had exerted some influence over Andy’s son, Opie. The drifter, while being confronted by Andy, told Andy that he should let Opie make his own decisions about life and how Opie wants to live.
Andy’s reply is a display of parenting wisdom.
You can’t let a youngun’ decide for himself. He’ll grab at the first flashy-with-shiny-ribbons-on-it-thing he sees. It’s difficult for him to tell the difference between right and wrong. When he finds out there’s a hook in it, it’s too late. The wrong kinds of things come packaged in so much glitter, it’s hard to convince him that the other thing might be better in the long run. All a parent can do is say, “Wait…trust me”…and try to keep temptation away.
Fast forward to 2023 and this type of wisdom is in short supply in our culture.
Instead, many in our culture believe we need to let our kids make their own decisions, without any input, challenge, or correction from the adults…parents included! Listen to Minnesota Lieutenant Governor, Peggy Flanagan: “When our children tell us who they are, it is our job as grown-ups to listen and to believe them…That’s what it means to be a good parent.” According to this elected official, a good parent merely listens and believes all children. There is no nuance in this statement, and it reflects the increasingly common ideology of unquestioned expressive individualism. That is, every individual, no matter their age, should define their own reality, including something like their gender. And parents, have no authority or permission to offer a corrective.
If a girl thinks she’s a boy, though genetically a girl, then the parent is slave to the child. They must do what she wants. And if, under the counsel or coercion of a teacher, physician, or YouTube influencer, that child wants to have top surgery, bottom surgery, or some combination of the two, the revolutionaries of our day tell parents they have no authority to challenge the child.
The problems are readily apparent, particularly in reference to children. What parent hasn’t dealt with a child who simply is not thinking clearly about a situation? Perhaps a girl thinks she is fat, so she makes herself vomit on a regular basis. Do we simply affirm her belief that though she weighs 80lbs, she is obese? If someone identifies as a worthless human being who is better off dead, do we affirm their self-hatred and usher them towards suicide?
Is it not a common thing for kids, and their wild imaginations, to dream about all sorts of fantastical realities? Are we not aware of how fickle the feelings of immature children can be?