Luke 2:48-49, 52 His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.” “But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.

“Do you know where your children are?” was a question used as a public service announcement (PSA) for parents on American television during the late 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. The term was coined in 1967 by Mel Epstein, the Director of On-Air Promotions at New York’s WNEW-TV

The question “Do you know where your children are?” was typically asked around 10:00 PM or 11:00 PM, depending on the market and the time of the local youth curfew, usually immediately preceding the station’s late-evening newscast. The PSA was largely targeting the parents of Generation X , described by a 2004 marketing study on HighBeam Research as “one of the least parented, least nurtured generations in U.S. history.”

It seems that not much has changed when it comes to parenting. There a lot of children that are unaccounted for. We really have two extremes of parenting in America. On one hand we have “helicopter parents” that hover over every detail of their child’s life from monitoring social media to tracking devices on their child’s cellphone. (Yes that’s me) there is some merit in keeping up with your child but also some danger. If you’re too smothering you can stifle their creativity and independence. If you’re too distant you could lose them.

The other extreme is absentee parenting where the children are raising themselves. Some parents aren’t even maliciously doing this. Some have no choice because they are working trying to provide the best they can. Others are negligent, leaving their children to survive on their own.

There’s a middle ground. As parents we have to know where our children are: spiritually, physically, emotionally, educationally, and sexually. When was the last time you checked in with your child?

Jesus was twelve when he went missing. His parents took him to the Passover Feast in Jerusalem as they always did. They traveled with a large group of relatives to protect themselves from bandits on the way. They would go there to make sacrifices and worship. When they left they traveled for a day when they noticed Jesus was missing. They went amongst the other relatives carts and asked, “Do you know where our son Jesus is?!” They were worried to death. How do you lose your own child?

They circled back and found Jesus still in the Temple asking questions of the priests. His mother didn’t have time to take notice that he was doing a good thing. She was still upset that she didn’t know where he was. She said, “how could you do me and your father like this? Don’t you know we’ve been looking everywhere for you?!”

Jesus’ answer could come across as being sassy but it was really profound. He answered with a question. “Why were you looking for me, did you not know that I had to be in my Father’s house?”

Don’t you know where your children are right now? Not on the “Find my Friends” app, but spiritually, emotionally, physically, educationally, and sexually.

1. Spiritually–the bible says, “train up a child in the way that they should go and when they grow old they will not depart from it.” Jesus did not stray from his upbringing, which made him ask, “why did you expect me to be anywhere but here?” Did you not know I had to be in my Father’s House. We’ve got to bring our children to church when they are young so they won’t go missing when they are young adults. If you train them when their young they might stray but they can’t stay.
2. Emotionally–teenagers wrestle with their emotions as they go through puberty. The more solid a foundation you lay through unconditional love and nurture the less confused they get as they go through adolescent changes. Speak life into your child.
3. Educationally–when our children are babies we spend more time teaching them. As they get older we tend to drift back. It’s important to make sure your child gets the best education possible, from your house to Morehouse, they should study to show themselves approved. Jesus at age twelve stayed behind to learn more from the priests. Your children need to stay behind in church to learn more about God and get tutored in after school programs.
4. Sexually –young children today are being exposed to sexuality earlier and earlier. There are twelve-year-old girls addicted to porn because of the easy access on social media. Do you know what your children are looking at? What does your child know about their own body? Are they sexually active? Do they understand they biblical plan for sexuality to be a gift between a husband and a wife?
“It’s Ten O’clock! Do you know where your child is?!” It’s time for all of us to check in with our children one-on-one. They need your love and guidance no matter how “grown” they think they are. Jesus went back with his parents and submitted himself to them and he grew! He grew in Wisdom and stature and favor with God and man. If you want your child to grow in these areas go find out where they are now!

 

Dear God,

Thank you for giving me a parent that cared enough to get in my business and love me enough to correct me. Now help me to be a loving and balanced parent. Help me to consistently and lovingly check in on my sons. Help me to speak life into them and not exasperate them into anger. I want them to do better at life than I did. Help me not to live through them but to help them live the life you have ordained for them. Thank you Father for raising me up in your house and sending me out to take care of your business. Thank you for blessing me with children who know what time it is!

In Jesus Name,

Amen