The Necessity of Faith and Family

A recent Washington Times article (September 2, 1998) entitled "Religion Helps Teens Just Say No To Drugs," related the findings of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA). According to the survey released earlier this week, "teens who have an active religious life and regularly eat dinner with their families are less likely to use drugs, alcohol and tobacco."

Joseph Califano, chairman of CASA, insisted that if parents take their children to religious services "beginning at a very early age, they can have a major impact on whether or not their children resist these substances." He added, "parental involvement is a critical protective factor." Furthermore, he stated that if the nation's adults fail in this, they will face "the judgment of God and history."

The two major factors highlighted by this study that help keep children off of drugs are the church and the home - two God-ordained institutions. And yet, amazingly, those who suggest that God should be given back his proper place in our society are treated as dangerous, religious zealot! Critics howl that their rights are being compromised when the need for morality and responsibility in our public life is emphasized.

Faith and Family - that is God's answer to far more than just drugs. All of life is found upon these two vital principles. The wise man Solomon said, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14). Family, as God intended it to be, offers a solid foundation for life. Additional studies have shown the importance of a stable family to the well-balanced development of personality and character. And faith gives true meaning to life. No faithful, dedicated Christian wanders aimlessly through life. Those who take God at his word know why they are here and what life is all about.

In both the Old and the New Testaments, parents are clearly given the responsibility of training and preparing children to live in the faith. Moses taught Israel to love God with all if their being, and then said, "And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up" (Deuteronomy 6:7). Paul is emphatic in Ephesians 6:4: "and, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."

In a time when drug use among young people is on the rise, when moral uprightness is missing, especially in public leaders, and when God is more often ridiculed than revered, it is imperative that we all take seriously our responsibility as parents when it comes to bringing up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We certainly do not need a survey from CASA to tell us the importance of faith and family, of prayer to God and parents who love God - but it is a welcome voice amidst the din of irreverence in today's society.

Mr. Califano is correct that if our nation's adults fail in these two areas, they will face "the judgment of God and history." Of the two, it is certainly God's judgment that we should concern ourselves with the most.

Thomas W. Larkin