Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Monday, April 29, 2013

YOLO . . . A Hidden Danger In Your Family

I'm sure you've at least heard about it if not having had it already impact your home. It's a current slang acrostic that unfortunately is leading many young people to do things almost unimagineable to many. And sadly, many of their parents, perhaps you, are looking the other way or saying to themselves, "Yep, that's not that big of a deal."

What is it?  It's something called YOLO. It's an acrostic that stands for , You only live once. 

Now on the one hand that little phrase could be an inspiring and positive one. But usually it or ones like it have been give a quite different application. Most have meant something more like this: You only have one life to live so make the most of it. It has challenged people to serve God, not get caught up in things that don't matter and use one's gifts and talents for the eternal more than the temporary.

Today, however, YOLO has become the mantra for: do anything, even if its risky, because you'll never get another chance. Unfortunately, anything has led to young kids having sex, sending suggestive, even nude, pictures to each other, more drinking binges, bullying and scores of other dangerous actions toward themselves or others. It has become the free pass to lower one's standards, not take the high road.

Granted, some would say that much of this has been going on for centuries in some form or another. And they would be right. But first, does that make it OK?  And second, are we going to accept this behavior happening in upper elementary school and middle school now?  And third, do we care that more and more parents who call themselves Christians are also looking the other way and making excuses for their children? The results of YOLO today are kids ruining their lives and reputations and in some cases going to jail or juvenile detention centers.

The idea of morality and character no matter what have dwindled to dangerously low priorities for even homes where families at least say that God matters in their homes.

But wise parents will stop and ask, What must we do in our home at least to avoid a YOLO mentality?

First, we must open our eyes. This is probably happening in your child's school - today, this year, right now. Find out what you can and help your kids to navigate the challenges it brings. Start with them as young as possible where appropriate. Talk about it. Monitor their phone and computer usage. Check out parties and sleepovers before you let them attend.

Second, teach your kids a better way. Explain why they are not missing out when they don't jump on the social bandwagon to do the same things others do. Give them responses to use that will keep them loving, able to still be friends with many kids and yet able to say "no."

Third, model a Christ-like lifestyle. Make serving and helping others the norm. Be sure that your kids aren't just getting huge doses of the world's thinking that everything is alright, that marriage and healthy relationships are a thing of the past and that getting more and looking better are the answer to everything. Take your learning from church, Bible study and other godly input and help your kids apply it to life.  Look at your own life, too, and ask, "What am I modeling for my kids that may be helping them think and act the way they do?"

We really do only live once. But let's help our kids to make the most of that life, not the least.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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