The Pitfall of Modern Youth
THE pit of moral degeneracy dug by adults has become the trap for modern youth. The result is a skyrocketing increase in illegitimate births by teenage mothers, an alarming increase in teen-age venereal disease and shocking cases of youthful sex orgies.
Adults are the ones who brought the modern world into its murky pit of low morals. They are the ones who violate the sacredness of marriage and fill newspapers with sordid stories of immorality. They are the ones who produce the magazines, books and plays that give illicit sex relations the leading roles. They are the ones who produce sexy movies and sexy advertising. They are the ones who brought forth the demoralizing theories of sex freedom, and they are the ones who have produced the morally degenerate atmosphere that surrounds this world. Youth is born and reared in this atmosphere. Is it any wonder so many have stumbled into the pit of immorality?
The adults who have preached sex freedom have done much to pull modern youth into the pit of moral degeneracy. Howard Whitman in his article “Youth and ‘the Natural Urge,’” which appeared in the magazine Better Homes & Gardens of July, 1957, commented on this point. He said: “Traditional standards of morality have been knocked down in the 12 years since World War II; they have been lampooned as ‘old-fashioned,’ scored as the blue-nose route to maladjustment and neurosis, branded ‘unscientific.’ New standards of sex freedom have been tried—bringing new highs in illegitimacy, a crushing burden of divorce, and a greater psychiatric caseload than ever. . . . Youth has been hurt—badly. There are the kinds of hurts we know about, when social agencies or the law step in and file their reports on pregnancies, forced marriages, V.D. There are the hushed-up hurts, when distraught families manage to ‘keep it quiet.’ And there are the silent hurts, when youth is ‘lucky,’ manages to ‘get away with it.’ These silent hurts—the remorse, the regrets, the loss of self-respect, the blight upon the individual’s future life—can be the greatest hurts of all.”
Standards that approve sex laxity do not build up, but destroy. They create disregard for one moral law, and that leads to indifference toward others.
Parents have a grave responsibility. It is up to them to safeguard their children from the world’s bad moral influence. This requires proper instruction from an early age. They cannot wait until a child is in his teens. They must start when he is very young. “Train up a boy according to the way for him; even when he grows old he will not turn aside from it.”—Prov. 22:6.
Parents can save their children confusion, anxiety and grief by instructing them in the purpose and function of the sexual organs. The child should not be left to learn for himself. When he is, he invariably ends up with a misconception of sex. The marvelous power of reproduction should be elevated in his mind to the highest level of respect. He should see it as a sacred trust from God.
When children understand their sexual make-up they will understand the power of sex attraction. They will know what it can lead to if they are not wary. It will make them cautious. They will see sex relations as an expression of love within the sacred bond of marriage, not as something that can exist outside that bond. It will be their desire to save their virginity for the one they will finally choose as a mate.
It should be made clear to the children that a misuse of sex not only brings the danger of disease but can cause severe emotional damage that may extend far into their adult life. But over and above that, it brings the condemnation of God, who does not approve of his gift to man being misused. “What! Do you not know that unrighteous persons will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be misled. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men . . . will inherit God’s kingdom.”—1 Cor. 6:9, 10.
More than sex education is required to safeguard children from the pitfall of moral degeneracy. There must be respect for high moral principles. Since these principles are found in the Bible, it is necessary for parents to instruct their children in the Scriptures. This is their duty and not that of a church. Principles are essential. They are something solid for a child to hold on to when buffeted by the world’s storm of immorality.
Parents cannot build up high morals in their children if they fail to live by the principles they teach. There can be no double standard, one for the parents and one for the children. Children are quick to spot hypocrisy.
Teen-agers are very susceptible to crowd leadership. They feel they must conform to what their associates do. This puts their moral integrity to a severe test when the crowd chooses a path of immoral action. Whether a child can endure popular ridicule for standing up for his moral principles will depend upon the quality of his early training.
It would be better for him to choose as companions persons who have the same respect for good morals. The Bible wisely says: “Evil companionships corrupt good morals.”—1 Cor. 15:33, AS.
For the time this present world remains, morals will continue to be a pitfall for youth. Children will continue to be influenced by an atmosphere of adult degeneracy, and this atmosphere will not change until God’s kingdom destroys the present system of things. This means parents who want to safeguard the morals of their children will have to shoulder the responsibility of educating them in the way they should go.
Become an example to the faithful ones in speaking, in conduct, in love, in faith, in chasteness.—1 Tim. 4:12.