KEYWORDS: kids, children, parents, lord, things, discipline

Shooting Straight, Part 5--Letter Links: Bad Influence?

August 9, 2004

(ML #3503, GN 1091)

FD/MM/FM July 2004

The Devil's Challenge to Our Garden of Eden

ML #2526, DB 10

1. (Maria:) Children naturally desire fellowship, they want to have fun, they want to do interesting things & have some relaxation with others. But I don't think they really mind that much who it is they're having fun with, whether it's having fun with their own age group or whether it's having fun with adults. The thing they care about is the activity, not what age the participants are.

2. If you, as an adult, can be just as fun & just as inspiring & just as great to be with as somebody their own age (& many adults can be), they'll prefer you. I think our own kids would choose the adults for fellowship & for fun over the kids their own age if they had a choice. Because they know that you have a lot more to offer them, & just like we did when we were young, they'll look to age much more than they'll look to their own peers, because they know adults have much more wisdom, much more experience, & much more in their bag of tricks.

3. Adults have a lot more to offer, so our own kids, especially as thoughtful & as mature as they are, would choose the older ones over the younger ones for fun & fellowship if they had a choice. But if the adults are so tied up & wrapped up in their own business & in their own work that they don't give the kids what they need in the way of fun, fellowship & inspiration, then they're going to go to someone else. They need someone, so if there are other kids around, they're going to naturally gravitate towards them.

4. David's first opportunity to be with Teens his own age was in a Family Teen Combo. But unfortunately he got involved with the wrong ones, whom the Enemy was actually trying to use to pollute & contaminate him & to even cause him to backslide.

5. But after we pulled him out of the Teen Combo‚ to a situation where he had nothing but adults around him, he got just as close—even closer—to one of the adults on our staff, to the point where he said a few weeks later after having left the Combo, "Ric's my best friend!"

6. I'm sure he recognized the difference in the quality of the experiences. Even when they're having fun & fellowship, kids like people they can learn from. Learning is a part of their pleasure! It's part of their satisfaction, accumulating more know-how & knowledge. That's the way they're made—to want to know more & to want to learn to do more. So he recognized that, & I'm sure that at that point‚ after having been friends with both Teens & adults, he definitely saw the difference & would have chosen Ric over his Teen friend who was a problem case at the Teen Combo.

7. But when there are other kids around, all our Family kids are going to definitely gravitate towards them, even System kids, especially now that so many families are going back to their home countries. They can speak the language & will probably live in small Homes in contrast to the big Combo Homes that a lot of them have lived in on the field. So the Teens especially could easily gravitate to the System unless they have something that'll keep them happy at home.

8. It's important, therefore‚ that our adults realize that our kids do need fellowship. It's a big need‚ & they'll have to fill it, or somebody else less desirable is going to fill it!


9. Kids want friends, but adults can be better friends to them than other kids of their own age—if they will be, & if they realize the importance of it & take the time for it. It's nice for kids to have "fun" adults around‚ adults who make everything exciting, who have tremendous ideas & imagination & can‚ on the spur of the moment, come up with some fun, thrilling things to do, & who have a big bag of tricks that they can keep pulling things out of! Children like that, & that's real nice & that would be the ideal in some ways, but most of us adults are just not that much fun. We don't have all these interesting things that we can get together on the spur of the moment, we're not bursting with ideas.

10. But Teens don't even really require that if they have a friend. You can be a friend to them‚ somebody who can listen to them & respect them & their opinions, & give them encouragement & work with them on their different projects. Just work with them & have fun & enjoy doing things with them. Older children & Teens don't actually have to have a lot of separate play time just for play time if they enjoy their work & have fun doing it.


11. Their work can be fun & play too‚ especially if they can have somebody who can enjoy it with them. You can have a lot of fun doing things together as friends, enjoying things together & being able to share your hearts together while you're doing chores or work. It's also nice to have a little bit of play time, too, playing ball or some other games once in awhile, but that's not even so important if your work is fun & you can be working with somebody you like. Outdoor maintenance work or peeling potatoes or painting a room is so much more fun when it's shared.

12. Maybe you won't get as much work done when you're working together, because you'll stop to share hearts & sometimes to play. But if you're going to try to combine your work with your play, you're going to have to give a little leeway in your deadlines & your expectations of your Teens & kids. It will affect how fast they're going to do their work & how thorough they're going to be, because if you're going to do it together & have fun doing it, you're going to have to expect that it's going to take a little longer & it may not be as thorough.

13. So if you're not going to give them a separate time for play & recreation, then the alternative is to combine their work & play time so they can have fun at the same time they're doing their chores.

14. In our Family, there is so much to do & time is so short. We're working to get as much of the job done as we can before the Lord comes, so we really can't allow long periods of time where our kids just goof off or play games.

15. The times when they enjoy it the most are when you're working with them & doing it together with them & you can stop & have little chats & talk about any problems they have or anything they have on their hearts. In working together, you're showing them by your sample how to do things & you're helping them to get the job done.

16. Actually, when an adult works with kids, there is usually less goofing off & spacing out, so there is a good possibility that work that would take the Teen twice as long alone or even longer for two or more Teens together, could be done in half the time by a Teen or Teens working together with an adult. Then the time they have saved can be used for talks, walks or other fun activities.

17. You just have to find a happy medium & you have to leave a little leeway. You have to do what's best for the work & also what's best for the child. You have to come to some kind of compromise. You can't always just be work, work, working, or the poor child will feel he's missing out on life itself. You have to help him really enjoy life.

18. We just have to try to combine work & play & hopefully make it all enjoyable & even more satisfying & fulfilling for our kids‚ because they know they're accomplishing something‚ & not just playing around all the time.


19. Our children have their place in the Family, their place of responsibility, & they're giving & doing their part in reaching the goal. They're also learning at the same time, if you keep them learning. You can't just stick them indefinitely in some job where they're doing the same old thing over & over & over every day—a job which they've long ago learned so well that they can't go any further in it. If you do, it just becomes boring to them, there's no more satisfaction in it.

20. They want to progress, they want to learn, they want to have a new challenge! So you have to keep this in mind with children. Some of you adults, of course, have to do the same thing every day, but thank the Lord, you're willing to sacrifice. You've had your growing up time. But we need to be careful that we don't keep the children in a job where they have to do the same old thing over & over & over until there's no more challenge to it, no more satisfaction in it except to know they're doing a job & getting it done well.

21. This‚ of course, is a commendable goal‚ but kids need more. They need to move! They need to progress. They need to try new things, to have excitement & change! So if they're going to be working all the time, like our kids do‚ we need to make sure they get some changes periodically. After they've learned to do a job & they've learned to do it well, if possible they should move on to a new area of responsibility.

22. Our young people should be learning all they can. Ideally they should be learning all kinds of different things: Babycare & housecare, cooking & maintenance, schedules, finances, stats—everything! Try to teach them a little of everything.

23. That's what's going to keep them much happier than sticking them in one job until they get burned out on it‚ they've learned it & there's nothing more to conquer & it's just a bore & a chore & they feel like they want to do more. (The same might apply to our new disciples!)

24. We need to be very conscious of giving them challenge in their work. Often we request that they shoulder heavy responsibilities, but at the same time we must remember that they're still kids. They can't stand as much at a time as adults. Sometimes they need a break, they need a change. They have a lot of other things they want to learn.

25. So let's try to switch them around to different jobs. Everybody likes change, especially our young people. They know they need it & they want it. They haven't had as many years to experience things as we have, & they want to be able to do different things.


26. The System is so brainwashed into thinking that kids have to have other kids to the point that they're crazy on the idea! That's one of the main reasons they say you've got to go to school, "Because you've got to become socially adapted & you've got to be able to learn to live in your society & get along with your peers!"

27. But as long as a child has brothers & sisters, they can learn just as adequately—& maybe better—how to get along with the opposite sex & each other & learn what different children are like. They have that experience in a small way, in a much more controlled & better quality atmosphere in every way, than if they were going to school with 30 or 40 or even more children in each class.

28. You don't need those often evil peers in order to grow up to become a well-adjusted citizen. In fact, the experts are now saying that peer influence actually hinders children from growing up well–adjusted! All the negative traits of hundreds of children are combined to influence the child as he grows up.

29. In a one–on-one situation you might have some chance of your good traits overcoming their bad, or at least influencing them for the good. But when you're one Christian in the midst of many unbelievers, their influence is pretty hard to buck! You're much more apt to be influenced by the evil majority of all of them than they are to be influenced by you!

30. That's why one Christian child going out amongst all those non-Christian & even anti–God kids is very very difficult. The Lord may give you the courage to stand up at some time or other for your convictions‚ but you're not going to be able to really do too much to influence a whole mass of people who are already so controlled by the Enemy.

31. They've got great strength in their numbers. Maybe you can influence them a little for the good. Nothing is impossible, but it's highly improbable that you're going to be able to do very much to seriously change them. It's much more possible & even probable that you're going to get influenced negatively by them! That's just the facts. Sad to say, that's the way it is in real life most of the time.

32. We're not saying that the Lord can't do it. He can, but He doesn't usually do it, because you're not supposed to be yoked together with unbelievers, you're not supposed to be having fellowship with the World. So when you're breaking His laws He's not really going to protect you as much as He could if you weren't. "Wherefore come out from among them, & be ye separate, saith the Lord, & touch not the unclean thing; & I will receive you."—2Cor.6:14-17.

33. Of course, if you, like some of our catacombers, had to be out there witnessing to them, then He could protect you from their evil influences. But if you're going to be breaking His laws, He's normally not going to be helping you to overcome all this negative influence if you're out there on the Enemy's territory doing what He told you not to do in the first place!

34. In other words, the Enemy has the right, on his territory, to do pretty much what he wants to do. If you're the Lord's child‚ the Lord is going to ultimately protect you, but you may get a lot of battle wounds in the process, or get so completely trampled on to where you're a bleeding wreck because of your getting mixed up with the Enemy's crowd on the Enemy's territory.

36. With the notable exception of Japan & a few other countries, everything in System teens' lives nowadays is based on the attitude‚ "Take it easy! Do your own thing! Don't work toward any goals, there aren't any goals anyway! We haven't been given any, so we don't have anything to work for!" Everything's non-disciplined, non-work‚ non–goal-oriented—complete superficiality, complete shallowness, complete silliness, complete non-edification. There's nothing in it, nothing positive!


37. I was shocked at all the neighbor girl told Techi in such a short time—& how it affected Techi too. The girl told her, "I go to dance class, but I goof off behind my teacher's back & I don't do what I'm supposed to do. I break through the neighbor's fence & sneak into the neighbor's yard & do whatever I want to do, & he never knows about it. Look at all the excitement & all the fun I have!"

38. The whole idea was, "I get to do my own thing, nobody bosses me around! I get to have all this fun, I don't have to work, I don't have to do all these chores. I can do practically anything I want. If you listen to me & listen to how I do it, I can tell you how to get away with anything & have some real fun!"

39. All those seed thoughts were implanted in two hours! I said to Techi, "What do you think was profitable in your visit? Was there anything edifying in it?" She said, "Well, it was fun." I said, "Well, yes, everybody needs to have some fun once in awhile, but was there anything profitable in it? It seems to me like most of it was silly & unedifying." She admitted, "Yes, I guess that's what it amounted to."


40. I asked her, "Have you been happy here where we live? I mean‚ have you had fun?" "Oh yes!" she responded. Then I asked, "Haven't you had lots of fun with your pets & learning so many things with Grandpa & doing lots of fun things with him, too?" She answered, "Yes."

41. I explained, "What is happening now is that the Enemy is coming into your Garden of Eden where you have Paradise & you have the most wonderful things. You do have to work, & you have to keep things beautiful & you have to take care of your pets & take care of your little garden. But look at the wonderful people you're surrounded by. And look at the love you have!

42. "Then the Serpent comes into your Garden & he says‚ 'Look, I know you have a beautiful garden here & you're really happy, but, you know, you could be even happier if you would just eat this little fruit over here. If you'd indulge in this activity you could be even happier! You know, you're not really happy enough. You think you're happy, but you just didn't know there was more, & I can give you even more! You can have even more fun! You've gotten used to all these fruits here in your Paradise. They're good fruits, but you're used to them now, & they're sort of boring & your chores have gotten to be a little bit of a drudgery. Maybe you didn't realize it, but aren't you beginning to find it a little boring? There are new things over in the neighbor's yard, & if you eat this 'fruit,' it's a new taste & it's going to be delicious & you're going to really enjoy it! It's going to give you something that you didn't have before!'"

43. I continued‚ "The Serpent's coming into your Garden here & telling you that you're working too hard here. You thought you were happy‚ but you didn't know you can really be happy & have lots more fun if you go over here & fellowship with these other kids!" It was such a parallel to Genesis Chapter three!


44. The other illustration the Lord gave me to give her was, "Look at all Jesus had. He was perfectly happy, but the Enemy came to Him & said, 'Look, I know You've got a lot, but this is one thing you don't have that I have!—I have all the kingdoms of the World! And if You'll just have a little fellowship with me & make friends with me‚ I'll give all of these kingdoms of the World to You! That will make You even happier than You are now. You must not be completely happy because You don't have everything, You don't have what I have to give You!'"—Luk.4:5–7.

45. It was a temptation! There was a spiritual battle involved. This was something that looked good that Jesus didn't have at the time. Well, ultimately He has it all, but at that moment, the Enemy had that power & still does. He's ruling over the World & its powers & he was saying‚ "Look, You can have it all!" And part of Jesus' temptation was probably not just personal lust or greed‚ but rather, "Boy, if I had it, then I could get rid of this Devil! I could right all wrongs! If I had total control right now, everything would be pure & everything would be right & the Enemy wouldn't have any more power."

46. Sometimes I think our Family kids feel a little like that. They think, "Well, maybe if I make friends with these kids, I can witness to them, I can help them‚ I can be a good influence on them." I can see with our older teens, in some cases, that could be their motivation. And I'm sure in Jesus' case, that was part of the temptation.—To give in to the Enemy in order to get rid of the Enemy's power & take over Himself, as He knew He could rule it the right way.

47. It's such a perfect example of what's happening here in the spirit. Our kids have everything here. Our other Family Teens are the same. They may be lacking in certain areas but on the whole they have everything. Things in the Family are so much better than they could find anywhere else. They may have their problems & they may think they're neglected sometimes, but overall, their life, even in the worst cases, is much better than anything the System has to offer. We've had returning backsliders, even Teen backsliders, confirm that time after time after time!

48. The Enemy says‚ "Well look, Techi & David, at what you don't have. You don't have as much fun as you could have. You have to work hard & you have to do chores all day. But I can help you have fun & enjoy life. You don't have enough fun, you don't have enough free time. I can give you all these things if you'll just compromise & if you'll just not worry about your principles or any of your training or anything.—If you'll become like them you can have a lot of fun!"

49. The power of suggestion! You can be perfectly happy, but somebody's negative idea implanted into your mind can make you start wondering, "Well, maybe I'm not happy after all!"

50. Then you get discontented & you start murmuring & complaining, "Well‚ what is wrong? I guess I'm really not as happy as I could be. There must be something missing!"


51. The System's idea is to have fun, take it easy, let your hair down, don't impose any discipline on yourself, & don't worry about other people's feelings. So in the context of "Teen fun‚" that's usually what it's based on—just doing whatever you want, forgetting any principles or convictions, being silly & shallow, flowing with the tide, going along with the crowd like a dumb sheep, just following where they lead.

52. Of course it's a lot easier. My goodness! It's lots easier to just have fun than it is to work like Adam & Eve in the Garden, tending the Garden & taking care of the animals like the kids do with their pets, & taking care of their baby sisters & brothers & learning to cook. I talked to Techi about that & she said, "The neighbor kids don't like school. They think it's boring."

53. So I explained, "Well, Honey, you expect that sort of attitude from System kids. They don't have any reason to accomplish anything, they don't have any motivation‚ any goals, they're not trying to be soldiers for the Lord. They're not trying to become good leaders. They're not trying to learn so they can teach others, so they can pour into the children they babysit, or learn to sew because it can help the Family & help the Lord's Work & help make them responsible people. They don't have any motivation. You can't blame them in a way.—Plus‚ most of System school is very boring, unlike the fun way things are taught in the Family! What reason do they have to work instead of goof off when goofing off is so much easier?

54. "And if they don't have anybody forcing them to do things‚ they're not going to do them. Why should they? Who wants to work instead of play if you don't have any reason & motivation for it & you're not forced to? Nobody will work unless they have a goal. The only people who do things without being forced are people who have a reason for doing them. If you don't have a reason you just give up & you don't do it."

55. That applies to the System & to us as well. If you don't have a reason for doing something that's hard work, you won't do it unless you're forced to. You would much sooner just goof off or daydream & not do anything. So because they don't have any motivation or any goals, they end up selfish & lazy. What are their goals? They're not taught any goals at all. They could at least be taught that they have to learn all they can in order to have children & have a husband, but they're not even taught that as a goal. They're not taught the need for preparation. They think‚ "We can learn what we need when the time comes."

56. They're not presented with any reason for doing anything. They're told, "Study so you can go to college & so you can get a good job!" But that's too far away right now & that's not something that really inspires them. It doesn't appeal to kids nowadays; growing up, going to college, getting a job. They don't want to go to college because they don't even like school, so why should they want to go to college? And they really don't want to get a job because that's hard work too.

57. So how can the System motivate kids? They say to them, "You have to get a job so you can have money, so you can buy what you want." But most kids have got everything they need now, so it's hard to conceive of sometime in the future having to stand on their own & needing things. In other words, they're not too motivated to make money to be able to buy things, because they already have things. Things aren't that important to them because they already have them.

58. Many of the new generation in the industrialized nations harbor a constant fear of war & rumors of war & the nuclear threat. That sort of thing has its effect, you know.—All the news about the tearing down of the environment & wars here & wars there‚ the threat of nuclear annihilation & all kinds of natural disasters. They don't know if they have a future anyway. They sort of hope they do but they don't know if they do, so why should they burn themselves out working for some goal or even working to grow up when they don't really know if they're even going to be around in a few years anyway? So their attitude is, "Why not just have fun?"

59. See, that's the bad attitude & the seed that this contact with System kids implants. It's always easier to do the easy thing than the hard thing. It's human nature to take the easy course & go downhill instead of uphill! And unless you have conviction to strengthen you against the evil, you're going to slide. No matter how beautiful the Garden is & how wonderful everything is there, you've got to work to maintain it.


60. The seeds of disrespect‚ anarchy & inconsideration for others are very much manifest in the neighbor kids. The rough ball tag, the dirt-throwing battles, the tickling each other aggressively, the sample of how to break through a fence & get into somebody else's property & do whatever you want, the examples of goofing off at school—all of those are seeds that can easily grow into greater things, greater negative things because it's all uncontrol, lack of discipline, wasting time, inconsideration & hurting others!

61. These characteristics are not manifested to a great degree in these little deviations‚ but they'll show up in a more serious way later. If you can do these things, why can't you do things that are a little more hurtful & a little more dangerous? Because when you get bored with this mild, little kids' stuff, then you've got to find something that's more dangerous & more hurtful to give you your thrill & to make all this free time you have even more exciting!

62. If our kids had been in a Combo Home with other Family kids to play with, I don't think it would have even tempted them. However, more & more of our families are going to be in similar circumstances‚ living in small Homes. As the persecution increases, they're more & more going to have to deal with this sort of thing, as it's going to increasingly be a temptation to have fellowship with other children if you don't have other Family kids around. …

63. Once kids get started on something like that, they want to keep going & it's hard to stop. Once a person backslides even in his heart‚ & actually yields to & tastes of the Enemy's temptations, it's a rare person who can disengage himself immediately. The natural tendency is to keep going further & further afield.

64. One reason for this is because the initial taste is usually good. You don't find out that it's really bad & it's really got its grips on you & it's really destroying you until way down the line. … Just like David during his stay at the Teen Combo.—I think he started to realize he was in too deep‚ but there wasn't anything he could do. He couldn't go up to his "cool" Teen friend & say, "You know‚ I realize that you're being a bad influence on me, so I'm going to cut off this friendship."

65. Kids don't do that, it's almost an impossibility, when they're in the same class, in the same School. It's pretty hard to get out once you've gotten in, & that was David's problem. I learned from reports it was going on, but I didn't realize how far advanced things were until almost too late. I was very concerned about it but I didn't realize it was as serious as it was. I was starting to realize it when Dad intervened & took quick swift action‚ & if he hadn't, it would've been too late. (See "Our Teens—The Devil's Target!", ML #2525.)


66. After reading the report from David's overseers, Dad just said, "Forget it, get David out of that situation & get that problem Teen out & separate them! Do something about it now!" I was waiting until we had enough "evidence" so David could be confronted with it, which in some cases is good. If it's not that serious a thing, it's good to wait until you have enough facts so you can present an airtight case. But if it's a matter of life & death, you don't have to sit the Teen down & present all the evidence & get him to agree. You just say, "Look, this is what we're going to do!—Your life's in danger whether you understand it or not, & we're going to change this situation fast!"

67. That's what Dad did, & it's a good thing he had us move on it so quickly‚ because it would've been too late if he hadn't. In other words, if it's a serious matter, you can't just let it go on till they find out for themselves.

68. That's why we‚ as parents & Shepherds, have to keep a very close eye on what our kids are doing, so they don't get involved with the wrong people or in the wrong situations, because if they do, before you realize it, you're going to have real trouble & real problems on your hands trying to get them back out of whatever trouble they've gotten into! It's going to be much harder on you & much harder on them. That's why we believe in attacking the problem in its earliest stage, not after it's gone on for awhile, while we are waiting & hoping it'll go away, hoping they'll see the light, hoping that the little things we can say will help convict them.

69. The Enemy's playing for keeps, especially with our children! We have to take the initiative & go on the attack & nip the problem in the bud & give the kids the Word on it & pray that they can learn the lesson without having to go through the experience! Some things they just have to take your word for.—If they will. Of course, if they are that defiant & they insist on going ahead anyway, they'll still ultimately learn their lessons very well, but they'll be hard lessons. "The way of the transgressor is hard!"—Pro.13:15.


71. It's very commendable that they're willing to be obedient out of love for us‚ even without being convicted in their own hearts & convinced of the reasons why they shouldn't. But that's not enough for them. And it's not enough for us to stop at that. I'd be very unhappy if they don't realize in their own hearts why it's wrong & they don't really know the Word on it & can come back later & say, "Okay, this is why I know it's wrong‚ this is why I know I shouldn't be fellowshipping with them. And I know it in my own heart & I'm convinced & I'm staying away from them because I think it's wrong, not just because everybody is telling me it's wrong."

72. It would be really sad if we stopped short of that goal.—If our kids are just doing it because they know they have to. We haven't done our job unless they understand in their own hearts & know why they shouldn't do things & are convinced personally that they don't want to do it & that it's the wrong thing for them to do.

73. It's like that Scripture Dad got for our Family Teens: "Come out from among them & be ye separate. Touch not the unclean thing. Come out of her, ye My people, lest ye be partakers of her sins."—2Cor.6:17; Rev.18:4. That's been our policy for a long time—that's why we have the Family!

74. (—AMEN! GBAK our Teens! ILY!—In Jesus' name, amen. WLY! "Love not the World, neither the things that are in the World. If any man love the World, the Love of God is not in him!"—1Jn.2:15. "Know ye not that the friendship of the World is enmity with God! Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the World is the enemy of God!"—Jam.4:4.—D.)

(P.S.: We wanted to pass an additional word of caution on to all parents & children's shepherds to please be very prayerful[:] If your children have any associations which you feel may be harmful, in most cases it would probably be advisable to fade these out gradually & discreetly in order to avoid offending either your children's friends or their parents‚ which could potentially cause you problems with your neighbors.

To avoid any misunderstandings with your own children, they will probably need a good thorough explanation from you‚ perhaps coupled with a reading of Mama's Letter, "Be Not Unequally Yoked with Unbelievers!" Please pray & ask the Lord for the wisdom that you'll need in handling this rather delicate matter. GBY, WLY!)

Mama's Memos, No.6

ML #3156:15–49, Lifelines 24.

Family Children, JETTs and Teens Fellowshipping with System Young People

15. (Mama:) With many of our Charter members now living in smaller Homes‚ one concern that has been more frequently brought to our attention is that of our Family children fellowshipping with System children.

16. We know from the Word and Dad's counsel over the years that our young people, who have been relatively sheltered from the evil influences of the world, can be negatively affected through contact with System kids, particularly if the kids they're interacting with are "rotten apple" types. Even if the children are fairly well behaved, the activities most System children normally engage in can often be unedifying. Also, if the Family children (or JETTs or teens) in question are not doing well spiritually, or have a tendency toward shallowness, rebelliousness, worldliness‚ etc., then exposing them to further System input only tends to amplify such problems.

17. However, you may ask‚ "What about some of our children, JETTs and teens who are fairly solid kids?" Or what if you happen to live in a Third World country where the local children or young people are simple and sweet—not entrenched in worldliness or the latest distractions and toys of the Enemy? (Of course, even if the local children where you live are sweet and fairly pure, there is still a good chance that your kids are going to have plenty of unsupervised time in front of the boob tube, and how to avoid that is another factor you should prayerfully consider.)

18. Or perhaps your Home consists of only one or two families, and there are no Family Homes nearby where your children can have fellowship with Family children their age. I can understand why you'd wonder if it's all right for your children to spend their free time fellowshipping with local System children. You realize they probably won't be witnessing to the System children that much, but rather may be talking, playing and doing all the normal things kids do. So you wonder, if your kids are bored and want playmates their own age, will allowing them some contact with System children for fellowship and friendship be beneficial?

19. The above is the question I had one of our channels ask the Lord, and following is His reply. Dad also spoke on the subject with helpful advice and counsel for all.

20. (Jesus speaking:) Come out from among them and be ye separate. For you‚ My children‚ have been handpicked and chosen by Me. You are a royal priesthood, called and ordained to be My special troops.

21. When I say to come out from among them and be separate, I'm asking you to not partake of the evils, the wickedness, the foolishness, the materialism, and the evil music of this world. When I created you, I gave each of you the majesty of choice, and discernment between good and evil.

22. Don't give the Enemy any place in your heart or in your life by fellowshipping with those who have given themselves over to the Enemy, those who are past repentance and acceptance of the Word of truth and the ways of the Lord.

23. The Enemy would seek to implant his evil seeds within the hearts and minds of My young children of light, My growing princes and princesses, and I would not have this. I have placed these ones in your care, and it is your responsibility to shield them from the attacks of the Evil One, and to keep their hearts and minds pure and clean‚ filled with My Word and My Spirit. This is the commission I've given you.

24. They're to be bold witnesses and testimonies unto Me. They're to reach out to those of their own generation who are lost and destitute‚ and pull them toward My warmth and light. They're not to be dragged down into the miry pit in which these abide. They're not to partake in their foolishness‚ but they're to show them a better way. This is My will and My plan.

25. Yet there is a natural, inborn desire within My children and young people to have fellowship with those of their own age, whether they're in the Family or not. As their parents and shepherds‚ you must carefully and prayerfully lead and guide them in their interactions. You must bring the matter before Me in prayer to receive My instruction.

26. Instill in your children a love for souls, a love to witness, a love to let their light so shine! For if you have planted these seeds within their hearts, then the times that they spend with those who are not of My fold will be times well spent, giving love, showing a sample, winning their hearts and lives to Me.

27. This is good fruit, and you can see that if it be a good tree, it will bring forth good fruit. But if you see no such good fruit—no souls being won, no lives being drawn closer to Me—then this is not good fruit. This is a barren tree which yields nothing, and I would not that My children fellowship with those who yield no fruit.

28. So you must weigh it out in prayer, whether it be a case of fascination for the world and for the things of evil, or whether it be a simple case of wanting to fellowship with others their age. And even so, you must evaluate each situation to see whether or not it brings forth good fruit. (End of message from Jesus.)

29. (Dad speaking: ) In some cases‚ young people simply wish to be with other young people their age. But don't let the desire for fellowship overshadow your calling to be a light in the midst of darkness. Your teens can get in there and become friends with the outside teens and get in a message every time they can, talking about Jesus.

30. One way you can tell whether the fellowship is right or wrong is by the fruit it bears. If your kids feel ashamed to talk about the Lord or to witness, and all they ever do is just go down to the System kids' level, watch TV, talk and fool around, and it's not bearing any good fruit in either their lives or the System kids' lives, well, then that would be a case where they should check their hearts and see why they long for this fellowship.

31. Every situation can be turned into a witness. We're unique, special! We've got something the people of the world don't have, and we want to give it to them. A sample speaks louder than words. What kind of sample are they being? Are they prayerful about the TV shows they watch, or do they just sit down and indiscriminately watch anything that their friends turn on? Is this contact with their System friends making them rebellious toward the adults in the Home?

32. Of course, you've got to give the kids a little room, and you can let them fellowship with other children if it bears good fruit. You don't always have to be there in the room with them, but they should have enough fear of the Lord to not always have to have an adult there with them. They should have enough positive peer pressure to where they can check each other on things and stand up to each other and have conviction, even while at friends' houses. (End of message from Dad.)

33. (Jesus speaking:) That's right. The fruit that this fellowship bears is a very important determining factor as to whether fellowship with those in the world is acceptable or should be allowed.

34. I have loosened the boundaries and given you liberty to do things according to your faith. But if you choose to let your children and your teens fellowship with outsiders on occasion, it is vital that you immerse them in My Word when they return. For My Word is what will keep them, and if they don't have a strong connection with Me and My Word, their faith will slowly crumble, and their dedication and their desire to be a part of My called and chosen few will slowly disappear, shred by shred.

35. Fellowshipping with the world can be like coming in contact with a cold or the flu. If you don't have the immunization of My Word and if your body isn't fortified with vitamins and the proper nourishment of the acceptance of My New Wine‚ of loving Me and others‚ of willingness and sacrificial giving, and a desire to get out and win the world to Me, if there's an imbalance in any of these things, your body will not be adequately prepared to withstand the contagious germs that are lurking, waiting for a weak spot to infect. Even when you're with those of the world who are not sold out to the world, or who may not know Me and haven't had a chance to receive Me, there are still many evil influences that can overpower an unsuspecting child or young person, especially if they go into such fellowship without sufficient protection.

36. So seek Me in every situation and be prayerful in your decision-making‚ for this is not just a decision of whether your young people will fellowship with the young people of the world during their free time, but it is a decision of whether our future leaders‚ missionaries and Endtime disciples are prepared enough to be subjected to the machinations of the Evil One through unsupervised TV viewing, computer games and Internet surfing; unsupervised activities, conversation and influences from those who have had much input from the world.

37. If you do decide to let your young people fellowship with young people of the world‚ plan and prepare and pray with them every time before they leave the house. And pray for them while they are gone. Hold them up in prayer, that they will keep their standard high and that they will resist the fiery darts that the Devil would like to pierce them with every time they go out.

38. When My children go out from their Heavenly Homes‚ they carry their force fields of protection with them, but the dangers they face and the attacks on their shields are more numerous. They must keep their shields strong through constant prayer and vigilance in spirit lest they become weakened like those ships on the movies you have seen ["Star Trek" and other science-fiction shows], whose shields are weakened through constant attack, dropping to 80 percent of their power, fifty percent, and down, down, down, until the shields are breached and damage is done to their vessel.

39. Remain strong in prayer and I will keep you, yet be aware of the dangers you face on the Devil's territory. Give no place to the Enemy, not for a moment, and be not ignorant of his devices. Sometimes he comes around as a roaring lion, seeking to devour, and other times he appears as an angel of light, seeking to lead astray. And yet other times he comes bearing an "apple," seeking to tempt and entice away from the truth and the straight and narrow with little deviances. Resist him steadfast in the faith and remain strong in your convictions. (End of message from Jesus.)

40. (Dad speaking:) It's a very serious decision, and not one that can be taken lightly. Before letting your teens go off to fellowship with the teens of the world, you parents and teachers should ask yourself if they're prepared spiritually for the battle that's being waged against their souls. Do you have the faith to subject your son or daughter or teen who you are caring for to the influences that run rampant once they leave the protection of your Heavenly Home?

41. The Devil's playing for keeps, beloved, and if they're not sufficiently prepared and filled with the Word‚ they're going to start showing it in the house and it's going to start affecting their younger brothers and sisters. So whatever you choose to do‚ make sure you really pray about it. If you have a peace in your heart about it and you feel they're ready for this spiritual warfare, then let them go.

42. But be sure to help them if they get wounded spiritually or if their faith begins to falter. Be there for them and be available to give them your hand whenever they reach out for it. God made you their parents and teachers and they need you, so let's not fail them. (End of message from Dad.)

43. (Mama:) In accordance with the above counsel and guidelines, please be sure to take each individual situation to the Lord, in order to receive from Him tailor–made instruction and insight for that unique situation. In the case of young people wanting to fellowship with System young people‚ it would be wise to solicit their prayer power and input on the matter, seeking the Lord together for His answers. Then if you decide your children or JETTs and teens can fellowship with children of the System, please keep a watchful eye on their spiritual condition so you can wisely discern the effect it's having on them.

44. You can keep a better eye on them if they bring their System friends or young people home, of course, rather than going to their house. That way they're in a good, Godly atmosphere, with Family adults or older teens available for counsel or witnessing, and a variety of Family videos and music that System young people may find fascinating. Also, the sample of our multiple-family Homes would probably open the door for lots of good witnessing. Many System kids can't even get along with their few brothers and sisters, so for them to see you working together‚ serving the Lord and happily living communally would no doubt make a big impression on them! But your young people could go to their friends' houses as well‚ if it bears good fruit.

45. Of course, if you see that it's not bearing good fruit, then you would need to take extra care to strengthen them in the Word and prayer. And don't hesitate to lessen the time they spend with outside children, or eliminate it altogether, if necessary, if it's having a negative or weakening effect.

46. Naturally, you parents would want to be very prayerful, loving and understanding when counseling your kids about their contact with System kids‚ realizing that one of the main reasons our young people like to fellowship and play with System kids is often because they're bored. If your kids are not challenged at home‚ it's natural that they'll very much look forward to getting out of the house to do fun things with other kids. So if you tell them that they can't fellowship with other kids anymore, but you don't replace that fellowship time with something that makes their lives fun and challenging, that restriction will be difficult for them and they'll have a hard time receiving your counsel.

47. If you tell your kids that they can't have contact with other children, or if you allow very minimal contact, but then they just sit at home bored, they might get into worse mischief. So please be prayerful and wise when trying to help your young people find a good balance in their contact with System children. And remember that you'll greatly reduce their desire for such contact by keeping their lives active and by helping them to be involved in activities and ministries that give them responsibility‚ keep them learning and growing‚ and allow them opportunity to do new things. The urgent need for this, especially for our JETTs and junior teens, and some good suggestions about how to go about it were covered in detail in "Call to the Rescue!—Parts 1 and 2" (GN 729 and 730).

48. You young people need to realize, too, that when your parents or shepherds try to help you by praying about and evaluating how much contact you should have with System kids, they're trying to do what's best for you and what will ultimately make you the happiest, by helping you stay in the Lord's will and strong in His Spirit. So if you feel you're being squelched or restricted too much, please trust the Lord. Don't react negatively to the adults or get resentful. Your parents and shepherds will hopefully try to make your life interesting and challenging, but you can also take the initiative to make the best of your circumstances by pressing in and redeeming the time in activities that you can do pretty much on your own, such as progressing in the CVC, learning to play the guitar or type, working on a follow-up mail ministry, etc.

49. I think both you adults and young people would benefit from reading "The Devil's Challenge to Our Garden of Eden" (ML #2526, Lifelines 19 or GN 384). That Letter talks a lot about contact with neighborhood children, replacing young System friends with older Family friends if necessary, and it gives lots of other good cautions and counsel that I think you'll find helpful!

Start Early

ML #3274:145-167, GN 878

Deciding as a Home On a United Standard

144. (Mama:) Decide on a united standard for your children‚ if you haven't already, and really commit to upholding that standard together for the sake of your children!

145. If you and your mate, as parents‚ have not been united in your discipline standard thus far, you might wonder how to get back on track. The first step, of course, is to go to the Lord. Humble yourselves and accept that probably neither of you are all "right," but that you're going to have to come to an agreement somewhere in between, in accordance with the standard of the Word‚ your Home discipline standard‚ and in counsel with the Lord. Then begin to discuss things honestly between you. Read up on the subject together, and ask the Lord for His specific counsel together. It will take humility, love‚ and lots of good communication‚ but it will be well worth it!

146. It's not just the parents that need to agree—the whole Home needs to get united about it, because everyone winds up taking time with the children at one time or another. Even if the parents are united in their discipline, if others in the Home are not, the child can still suffer from the negative effects of inconsistent discipline. And it's not just the number of people disciplining that can be the problem; even one person can give a child inconsistent discipline.

147. Another important aspect of being united as a Home in your discipline standard is to be supportive of one another in front of the children. That's often difficult, especially if you walk in as one of your children is being talked to rather sternly, or being corrected or disciplined for something that you feel is a light offense or should be handled differently. But to speak up right then in front of the children or to say something like, "Honey, it's not such a big deal," or "How could you correct them for that?" is extremely detrimental and will tear down the standard that you're trying to build. If you feel that something is not handled correctly, talk to the person afterwards and share your heart and come to an agreement. But don't bring it up in front of the children!

148. One thing to remember about disciplining consistently is that in the long run it will save a lot of heartache and even unnecessary discipline, because the children will learn their lessons quicker. Whereas, if they are only corrected sometimes and other times they aren't, chances are they'll have to be corrected a lot more times and will take a lot longer to learn the lesson. Eventually they will have to learn the lesson somehow—whether they learn it from being lovingly taught and disciplined, or whether they learn it the hard way from sad experience, or from the Lord's chastening hand. So the loving thing to do is to discipline consistently.

149. Committing to disciplining consistently is a big job. If you see that you're weak in the area of consistent, loving discipline, it's likely that others will need to help you. You'll benefit from the counsel, help and prayers of others, and if you live with other parents and children, you'll definitely have to decide together on the discipline standard. Oftentimes as parents it's easy to become familiar with a situation, especially a behavioral problem with one or more of your children, and you don't see things as clearly after a period of time. Thus it helps to have others tell you how they see things.

150. Receiving suggestions or counsel from others about your child or the way you discipline or don't discipline is a sensitive issue, at least for most parents, and especially new parents. But if you can learn to accept advice from others, it will help you to have a more objective perspective. It will also help your Home to be in greater unity about the care of your children if you parents and teachers and other Home members all counsel together and pray together about things.

151. Of course‚ as the Charter states‚ the parents have the ultimate responsibility, and thus the final decision about the care or discipline of their children rests with them. But that doesn't mean that the parents are sufficient in themselves—we all need help, and especially in the area of discipline, outside input is often very helpful.

152. Discipline for your children can be one of those "hot topics" to discuss—a very subjective, touchy subject, which is often hard to discuss and agree on without taking things personally or stepping on someone's toes. But I pray that each of you will see the need enough from the message that Dad gave and from Andy's personal experience that you will be willing to lay aside your pride and really pray and ask the Lord to help you be able to discuss it together, accept each other's help and counsel, and commit to living a united standard for the sake of the children.

153. Let me just mention here that it's very easy to become critical of each other or start pointing the finger when you have to talk about raising the standard in any area. Those of you who don't have children yourselves, please really pray and ask the Lord to help you present any points that you have in a spirit of love and humility, remembering that parents not only have a very big job but a very long-term job, and there's often more than meets the eye to teaching a child even a simple lesson.

154. Likewise‚ dear parents, please remember that those who care for the children lay down their lives daily to do so, and also carry a very big load in their training and discipline. It's very frustrating for them if they try to discipline your children and don't feel your support, or you let the kids get away with things when they're with you that they wouldn't be allowed to do with their teachers. Please pray together that the Lord will help you to come to an agreement, and make a commitment to support each other in love for the sake of "our" children. Amen?

155. The Lord understands that it's a sensitive topic, and He gave a very good message about it, which I pray will be helpful for you.

Ask the Lord to Help You See the Need to Discipline

156. (Jesus speaking: ) I know it's difficult for many of you, My precious, faithful parents, to receive instruction about the care and discipline of your children. It's easy for you to take it very personally, to feel quite offended about it. The Enemy tries to use your sensitivity as a way to get in and harm the children‚ because if he can keep you from receiving the instruction and counsel about how to care for your children, or keep you from receiving the counsel about their need for discipline in order to grow, then he's won a great victory. Because when you refuse counsel and the truth, you're not able to see things clearly as I see them, and so the children don't receive what they need.

157. The first step to being able to receive counsel or suggestions or instruction about the discipline of your children is to believe that loving discipline is of Me, and is in fact necessary in order to raise happy children. You must understand the need for discipline and believe that it's good and necessary—no matter how much it hurts you to have to discipline your child, and no matter how hard it is for you to do it, no matter how much time it takes—that it's worth it and will bear good fruit in your child's life. If you believe that, you will be much more open and receptive to the suggestions of others and the conviction of My Word, and much more desperate to ask Me about things personally, because you realize what a very important responsibility it is and you want to do it right for the benefit of your little one. You also must realize that you aren't sufficient for the task by yourself, but that you need the help and opinions of others.

158. Discipline is constant hard work, and there isn't an easy way out. This is one of the reasons that some people don't discipline their children—because it's a lot of work and it's easy to get weary in well doing and opt to let them go their own way. It's a fight to keep that commitment and conviction strong in your life.

159. So to begin with, you must be convinced in your own mind that you're doing the right thing by giving your children loving, consistent discipline, and making it a priority to devote the time it takes to train them. Otherwise‚ when it gets difficult, when the children cry, when one of them begins having behavior problems that don't seem to be improving‚ when the battles seem long and you feel weary, you won't have the strength to keep going if you don't see the need yourself and believe that loving, consistent, Godly discipline is the answer—ordained of Me to help shape and train your children to become what I've created them to be.

160. You must see that your kids will not become the men and women of God that I've called them to be if you don't discipline them. If you don't train them from the very beginning to love Me and fear Me, if you don't teach them about the results of their decisions, the consequences of their behavior, then when it comes time for Me to work in their lives‚ the children will be confused. Whereas if they have a good foundation, laid from the beginning, they'll see My hand in their life and it will be easier for them to make the right decisions—thus easier for Me to use them. I depend on you, My parents, to lay the foundation.

161. So for these reasons I ask that you parents study My Word on the subject, so that you can clearly see the reasons why I'm asking you to discipline your children. If you don't see the need, then ask Me to help you see it. Ask Me to help you understand and give you the conviction and the desire that you need—that you must have—in order to follow through with good, loving, Godly, consistent discipline. Ask Me to give you the humility that's needed to listen to others' opinions and pray and discuss the standard together, and then commit to it together. You can ask Me to change your outlook, change your attitude, and help you to see the need and have the conviction to follow through, to guide your children lovingly with My wisdom.

162. You must learn to see it as a part of love—not as a punishment, or a lack of patience or tolerance, but as a loving gift‚ a labor of love‚ that you're willing to go through the pain in order to guide and direct your children aright. You're willing to lay down your life and endure the extra work, the difficulties, even the pain of hearing them cry when you correct them, in order to keep them from much worse danger and being hurt physically because they haven't learned to obey—or worse yet, in later life being miserable because they haven't learned to obey My laws for a loving life, which bring happiness and fulfillment.

163. Just like people pray for a burden to win souls, or pray for the grace and desire to do anything, you have to have that desperation in your heart to begin with before you can follow through and perform that which is needed and do My will. So pray for an open, yielded and willing heart, one that's willing to learn, and not one that is set in its ways and closed to instruction.

164. If you will put your will on My side and ask Me to help you to see the need and to learn, out of love for your child, then I can help you through the counsel of My Word and the instruction and suggestions of others to become the parent that your children need you to be—one who's not only patient, but also one who helps them learn the difference between right and wrong‚ and prepares them for life.

165. But you have to be open-minded first before you will receive in full. You have to have a vacuum before it can be filled. Once you've prayed and asked Me to help you, begin reading My Word on the subject and asking others for their help and counsel. Make a vacuum for Me to fill, and I'll help you to learn and grow in this area. (End of message from Jesus)

166. (Mama:) The key in all of this is to learn to ask the Lord, to go to the Lord about individual situations. Go to the Lord together as a Home about what rules to lay down as your Home standard, and what the consequences should be. Come before the Lord regularly with your mate or with the teachers in the Home, asking the Lord for His specific solutions to specific problems. And any time when you aren't sure what to do—or even if you think you know what to do—ask Him, and He'll tell you!

167. The Lord gives such good, specific counsel when you ask Him for it. He loves to tell us what's going on in our little ones' hearts and minds, why they do the things they do‚ and how we can best help them through the stages they're going through.

Keep Fighting

ML #3366:67-115, GN 969

Differences in Child/Teen Disciplinary Standards!

67. (Mama: ) I want to address the division that is a result of differences in child and teen discipline. With young children who have typical little-kid behavioral problems‚ maybe you can just forgive and start again, but the question that has arisen is what parents are supposed to do who are at odds with others because of the bad influence of their bad-apple kids. There are situations where the parents are doing okay, but their kids—especially teens who are too young to leave the Family—are real rotters. The root of the problem is that the parents can't or don't discipline them, and they don't allow others to discipline them.

68. The excuse these parents often give is that they don't want to push their kids out of the Family by being too strict‚ but the end result is that they're overly permissive, indulgent, and downright negligent. They think they have a "right" to raise their kids however they want, regardless of the damage they do to others. Then those unruly spoiled kids are allowed to pollute other kids. And I'm not talking about little common behavioral problems; some of these rebellious misbehaving kids are actively trying to infect and weaken others, or the evil spirits they're entertaining are. So this is a serious problem!

69. What are the parents of the kids that are being weakened by such rotten apples supposed to do? They can't just "forgive" and tolerate the horrible influence that these bad kids are having on their kids. When kids are being corrupted and possibly even ruined spiritually by rebellious, undisciplined kids, it's a clear case of good versus evil. And we can't expect the parents of good kids to just turn the other way and forgive, while their kids get ruined by rotten apples.

70. We have heard repeated reports from all over the world that a lot of the disunity is caused by differences in disciplinary standards for our children and young people. This is one of the main reasons, if not the main reason, that many people don't want to live communally. People with good kids don't want their kids polluted, and people with badly behaved kids don't want their kids disciplined. The problem really is the different standards of discipline; more specifically, that some parents are too lenient. Some parents let their kids get away with bad behavior, allow them access to a lot of negative System input, give them too much freedom to hang out with System friends, waste time at malls, let them watch unrated movies, listen to System music, play bad computer games, etc. Naturally the kids of these lenient, permissive parents are going to go downhill spiritually.

71. Then the kids of stricter parents get resentful and envious, wanting the same liberties that they see these other kids have. The more disciplined kids then rebel against the restrictions their parents place on them in their efforts to protect them spiritually and train them to be missionaries.

72. So the problem is really multi-faceted. Lenient, indulgent parents are allowing their kids too much System influence, and it's hurting their children spiritually. Those kids then pollute other kids with their worldly ways. Stricter parents are naturally bothered if they see their children getting off track due to the influence of spiritually weaker or less dedicated, more worldly kids. And the kids whose parents are stricter get resentful of the boundaries they have to abide by‚ which of course makes it difficult for their parents. It can also create disunity between the children‚ as those of lenient parents resent or question any correction given by those who are stricter, or the kids of stricter parents can become self-righteous or question why other kids are allowed to get away with so much more. It breeds disunity and division at a very early age.

73. So families have chosen to just stick to themselves, rather than letting their kids mingle much with others. This not only hurts our sample of communal living, but it's hard on the children, as they don't get much fellowship. It can also raise questions in the children's minds about the difference in standards between different families, which can hurt their faith and convictions and hinder their unity with other kids and even adults.

74. This type of division needs to be overcome once and for all. I trust that there will be a far-reaching reuniting of the Family as a result of the Lord's instruction in the "Conviction versus Compromise" series, culminating with the prayer and fast day. But if there's an ongoing conflict with differences in the child disciplinary standard and such things as what it means to "minimize ungodly influences," then these problems will likely resurface and the division will quickly return. That cannot be allowed to happen! We cannot have the Family in division, but equally as bad, or worse, we cannot have the parents of good kids compromising with the parents of rotten-apple kids, which will only exacerbate the problem and possibly cause lasting damage to more kids! That is a serious loss! Dad has taught us the dangers of this.

75. Apparently the way the Family has dealt with this up until now is that many parents have chosen to separate themselves from those with a different standard, to not allow their children or young people much interaction with them, and certainly not to consider living with them. Maybe you felt that was the only solution. It is a complicated problem‚ but one thing we know for sure is that the solution is not in the diligent parents compromising with the slack parents, so that all the children end up being weakened spiritually.

76. I asked the Lord how both goals can be accomplished. How can there be unity and even communal living while at the same time protecting our children and not allowing rotten–apple kids to pollute others? What should parents do who've separated themselves from others to protect their kids from negative or bad influences? Dad gave the following stirring challenge.

77. (Dad speaking:) If your kids are spiritually off track, getting sucked into the System, and influencing other kids negatively, then it's your duty as a disciple and parent to get them in line! You must be willing to discipline them or have others discipline them. If not, you'll need to reconsider your place in the CM Family. You're probably more suited for the FM Family if you can't get your kids in line, since our children are a very important part of our sample!

78. It's one thing to have kids with the typical JETT or teenage problems that can be aggravating and time–consuming to shepherd. But a terrible division occurs when some parents lower the standard so much and allow their kids to do so many things that the other parents are not allowing their children to do. Then the kids that have the restrictions on them get rebellious and don't see why they can't do the same things as the other kids who have more freedom. The kids of the lenient parents eventually start corrupting other kids‚ and eventually they can actually become yielded to the Enemy and begin dragging down the other kids. These problems cannot be tolerated! Having undisciplined‚ rebellious, bad-apple children who are rotting others is compromise that brings division, and it can't be allowed in the CM Family!

79. I'm not going to minimize the problems and difficulties of being a parent, and I know that reining in a difficult child is one of the greatest challenges in life. But I also will not back down from the conviction I've always had that there's always hope, and there's always the ability to change.

80. Problem children are often a result of problem parents—parents who aren't disciplining enough or properly, or who aren't giving the children the love and attention or prayer they need; or who have ignored spiritual pests and problems, and haven't taken a stand in the spirit to cast them out and send them away. It's all been part of the spirit of lethargy‚ like the Lord said, that so many parents in the Family haven't kept their children in shape spiritually like they should have. For some kids, unfortunately, it's too late and they're already on their way out. But most can be saved. It takes a lot of work, a lot of prayer, a lot of effort, and a lot of time, but if that's what you have to do, you'd better do it!

81. You parents who are trying to raise your children with discipline and solid boundaries and rules, so they'll grow up with a desire to be missionaries, are faced with a very difficult challenge and dilemma when you live with permissive parents who don't have the heart to discipline their children. You want to be in unity with your brethren, but you don't feel you can tolerate what is an obviously wrong and ungodly standard. Well, you're right. You don't have to tolerate it. You shouldn't tolerate it. That doesn't mean, though, that you should be unkind or resentful toward these kids or their parents. That's not helping anything. And like the Lord said in another message, running away to another Home or sending them to another Home without first trying to do something to salvage those kids is not the solution either.

82. What you need to see is that maintaining unity and maintaining a high standard go hand in hand. The Lord doesn't want one without the other, in either case. If someone doesn't want to hold to the Family standard, then they are sowing division and should have division from the Family. And that includes those who aren't upholding the Family discipline standard and keeping their kids' behavior in line. If there are children or teens in a Home who are hurting others, stealing, lying, cursing, and generally being unkind or a pain in the butt, then only the sleepiest Family members could let that go by unnoticed—and no one is supposed to be sleepy anymore. Good heavens‚ if the "Conviction versus Compromise" series wasn't enough to wake you up, you're comatose spiritually!

83. The other side to this is that part of unity is living the "One Wife" vision. That means caring about not only your own children and personal family, but caring about the children of other families too! To maintain unity in your Homes‚ if you've got problem kids, you've got to unite as a Home, as a body of adults and parents, and work on the problems. The solution is not found in placing all the blame and responsibility on the parents. Of course, the parents are ultimately responsible, and of course if everyone else in the Home is united except for the parents, that's a perfect recipe for disaster and disunity. But if the parents want to improve, want to raise their standard, are trying and are fighting, then everyone should join in and support them. Dig in, help, pray, fight together! Form parent support groups if you need to. Have everyone in the Home spend some personal time seeing that problem child or teen through if you have to. That's the kind of unity the Lord is talking about when He says to be of "one mind, one body, one spirit!" Their child is also your child, and you should see it that way.

84. Every situation is different, and you can't prescribe a one-size-fits-all cure for all problem children. But the bottom line is that the parents need to be on board, willing to live and uphold the Family standard, and to get united. Issues must be discussed and addressed and prayed about, and Home discipline standards must be both set and adhered to. Parents with problem children must admit there is a big problem and receive the correction and suggestions from those they live with. And then the others in the Home need to be supportive and helpful.

85. If the parents aren't "seeing the light" and aren't even trying or fighting, then that falls under the category of compromise and needs to be corrected, and their place may not be in the CM Family. But until or unless it reaches that point, then the key to unity is in everyone determining to help those kids who are having problems—not to send them away‚ not to run away, not to hide your kids from them, but to help them.

86. If they won't be helped, or if their parents won't be helped, that's another story. But you have to give it your best shot. You have to give it a sincere, wholehearted, valiant attempt. If you don't‚ then you're falling prey once again to the attacks of Satan's Selvegion.

87. If you're living on your own because you don't want your kids to be around anybody else's kids, well, I have to tell you that that kind of bubble protection method might help in some ways, but it's a serious breach of unity, and while it may solve one problem‚ it's contributing toward another major one. You're going to have to break down and look around for someone that you're willing to work with. Even if their kids aren't perfect, if they're not rotters, or if they're rotters that are being worked on and improving, maybe you should be thinking about how you can help. If you've trained your kids well and they're in good shape, maybe those parents with unruly and undisciplined kids could use some advice from you. Maybe those kids could use some of your inspired teaching or your discipline.

88. Of course, it all comes back to unity between the parents‚ the adults. You all have to be committed to working together, to uniting in spirit, uniting in standard. If anyone is "holding out," it won't work. It takes everyone involved pulling their load, doing their part, out of love and care for everyone on the team. You've got to see yourselves as a team—not as "my kids" and "your kids," but as "our kids." That's the only way communal living with two or more families with children can possibly work. It's a radical concept and it's hard to live‚ but it's part of the Family sample and discipleship standard. If you're a disciple‚ you're going to put forth the effort it takes to make that sample and standard a reality. (End of message from Dad.)

89. (Mama:) Rebellious, unruly, spoiled children should not be allowed to corrupt other children. For parents to compromise and endure the bad influence of rotten-apple kids is not right! That is not the Lord's or my idea of unity! You parents are to protect your children from evil and put them in the best possible situation for them to grow spiritually. For that reason it's understandable that you parents would want to distance yourselves from lenient, indulgent parents who don't discipline their kids or allow others to discipline their kids. As a last resort, you might have to do that. But before moving out and living on your own while you try to find someone else to work with, or before voting the problem family out of your Home, try to help the situation; try to salvage the wayward kids! Don't just let undisciplined, spoiled kids go to hell without a fight. Work together to help save them, if they show that they're willing to be saved! Dad said that sadly some kids are already too far gone to be salvaged, but that many can still be helped! Seek the Lord, hear from Him, and He can show you what to do or not do‚ and when and how!

90. But even while you're trying to help the problem kids, remember that it's unacceptable to allow rebellious kids who are yielded to the Enemy to pollute and hurt other kids spiritually. The Lord and I don't expect you faithful, obedient parents to lower your own disciplinary standard in order to be "in unity" with those who are not disciplining their kids or who are too indulgent and spoiling their kids. These lax parents need to be brought around to see the truth; they need to change their parenting methods and start disciplining their kids. They need to be counseled and helped.

91. In the situation where you're already living alone because you don't want your kids to be around anybody else's kids who are full of wrong attitudes and System influence‚ Dad says you're going to have to break down and look around for someone you're willing to work with, even if their kids aren't perfect. In these cases, however, it's only fair to expect the parents of kids who have gone undisciplined to feel the responsibility to work on their children first, to make commitments and show that they are really willing to change in the disciplining of their children, before others commit to living with them. The parents of unruly kids should be willing to show tangible signs of progress toward raising their standard of discipline, of receiving counsel from their shepherds and CP board, as well as from their brethren who are trying to help them and their children.

92. These steps to move in together with a couple with unruly kids should be thoroughly prayed over and taken a step at a time, giving the parents of the unruly kids a chance to get over some of the initial humps in working toward straightening their kids out, such as agreeing to allow less System influence in their kids' lives, and taking action to get their kids in line and better behaved. There's nothing wrong with allowing a little trial period for the parents who have been negligent to prove they are going to change, before concrete steps are taken to actually move in with another couple who have been faithful to train their children all along. During this time period, parents of such needy kids may want to live with other singles helping them, while they work on getting their kids into better shape.

93. If the parents of such problem kids are not open to help, or even if they are, if they don't change, then that's an entirely different situation! If they aren't open to counsel, if they refuse help, if they ignore the Home disciplinary standard, if they let their kids go undisciplined and won't allow others to discipline them, then they're wrong, they're compromising, they're sowing division, and if they refuse to change, they should be reclassified. That behavior cannot be tolerated in the CM Family.

94. I've heard about many parents who are worried that if they're too strict, their kids will want to leave the Family. They don't want to alienate their kids by disciplining them or requiring that they minimize ungodly influences. Such parents often let their kids have unhealthy access to movies, music‚ computer games, etc. It might look like the kids are happy‚ but I'll tell you, it's a temporary fix, and in the end the kids and parents will suffer much more. The kids will grow more and more worldly, further from the truth and the Lord, and eventually they'll leave the Family anyway. And when they do, they won't even be well prepared for life in the System, because lax discipline and overindulgence wreak havoc in a person in any walk of life!

95. Giving your kids as much of the world and System entertainment and whatever else they want is not the solution. That's the spirit of lethargy! If that's your approach to child training and you refuse to forsake it, then take it out of the CM Family, as it will only bring division and hurt others!

Practical Pointers on Child Discipline and Unity

96. If you find that the unity in your Home is breaking down, consider these points which summarize another prophecy from our Husband.

97. • Before you try to tackle the kids' problems, get united and have a plan on how to go about it.

98. • Discuss the problem in your Home Council. Have honest discussion between parents, teachers, and caregivers first. Get in unity and get consent from parents before you start addressing things with the kids.

99. • Ask the Lord for solutions. Ask Him to help you get organized and to give you the right plan to follow. Read the Word on the subject. Hear from Him in prophecy, both privately and unitedly as a Home.

100. • Read appropriate parts of any related personal prophecies to the Home. (With the permission of the person who received the prophecy, of course.)

101. • Bring it to the attention of parents if they're not upholding the child disciplinary standard. Letting kids run wild and go against all that the Family holds to is not an option.

102. • Don't be self–righteous, but stand up for your convictions by not being afraid to point things out to those who need help.

103. • Shepherds‚ have the guts to stand up and say, "Listen‚ folks, there's something wrong here! We need everyone to hear from the Lord about what to do about this problem with division." And then do what the Lord tells you to do. Parents will need to consent to the consequences for their children, according to the childcare discipline guidelines.

104. • Quit being so passive in your shepherding. Care for your flocks, and if the evil wiles of the Selvegion are entering your Home‚ speak up, find solutions, and restore unity. Otherwise you're being delinquent shepherds.

105. • Your Home needs to have a standard and you all need to be willing to keep it. But you also need patience. Before you just go voting people out of your Home because they don't hold your same standard, get together and discuss the standard you have set as a Home; discuss whether everything you have agreed upon and are expecting of each other is of the Lord. Maybe there are aspects that need to change. Determine if you need to improve, decide what areas you need to improve in‚ and then ask the Lord how you can improve—what practical steps you can take. Hear from the Lord and be sure that the standard you are holding to is His standard according to the Word, not your own self-righteous standard.

106. • Learn the difference between upholding the standard and self–righteousness. If you are upholding a standard and there is a question, don't automatically assume that you're right. Ask the Lord, research the Word, counsel with each other and your shepherds, and be open to change.

107. • Along the same lines, however, if your lenient standard is questioned, don't just assume that you're right. Likewise, you need to ask the Lord, counsel about it together, and review the Word on the subject! You could be compromising!

108. • Parents, if you can't discipline your kids, ask others to help you.

109. • Parents, get your kids in shape and don't let them be a source of disunity in your Home, or you will reap the judgments of the Lord's discipline in their lives. You might also lose your CM membership.

110. • Realize it's not the Lord's will for your Home to be disunited over anything! Find out why there's a problem and what steps the Lord wants you to take to solve it. Don't just live with it, hoping it'll go away, because it won't. Unless you take steps to solve the problem, it will just get worse.

111. • There is no disunity that cannot be overcome if all parties are yielded to the Lord. But there are situations where you'll have to "let the unbelieving depart" if they are not open to raising their standard or giving their kids the help they need. There are times when you are going to have to exercise the authority granted to you by the Charter, and ask Home members to either get in unity with the rest of the Home according to the Word, or leave. In fact, if the problem is very serious, the delinquent parents will need to change status.

112. • In situations where you have a serious problem with disunity, declare a Home fast. Take a day to fast and pray‚ and have everyone get down on their knees and find out what the problem is and how to remedy it.

113. • It's the responsibility of all of you in your Home to live in unity. If there's a serious problem‚ all Home members need to pray about the solution to the problem. Don't just dump it all on the teamwork; you should pray about it too.

114. • You have a say in the running of your Home, therefore you have a responsibility to seek the Lord's answers to any problems that your Home faces.

115. • Ask the Lord the following: Why is there division? Have I done my part? Have I sought You for the solutions to the problems? Have we all discussed it and prayed about it unitedly? Have we all done our part?

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