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Here's a good example. Most parents know that movie theaters require you to purchase the drinks and snacks you consume in the theater from them. Yet, how many parents sneak in pop or candy in order to avoid the high theater prices?

I (Cyndi) was guilty of this sin, justifying it by saying that I was not cheating the theater out of any money because I was not going to pay $2 for a candy bar. But when I found myself asking my kids to hide candy in their pockets while I hid canned pop in my purse, something seemed amiss.

Our family discussed the practice of sneaking candy and sodas into the movies and decided it was wrong. We believed we were better off to err on the side of being too principled than not principled enough.

One of the most powerful tools of influence we have as parents is our example. And one area in which adults desperately need to set an example for their children is in the area of taking responsibility for our actions rather than blaming or rationalizing. Baker says he sees this as a glaring weakness in many kids today.

"When I talk with kids, it's never their fault. If they receive too much change from a cashier then they say it's the clerk's fault--not theirs, and they feel no responsibility to return it. When they get caught for some misdeed, they excuse themselves by saying, 'Everyone does it.'"

As parents we have to evaluate our own behavior. Do we blame police for setting traps when we're caught speeding? Do we let our "over age" children pass for "under age" to pay a lower price at restaurants? God can help us see our own failure in these areas and turn to Him to cleanse and transform us when we ask Him to shine the light of His truth in our lives. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to be godly parents.

PRAY FOR YOUR KIDS Finally, we must pray. If we think that just reading another book or attending another seminar is going to prevent our children from succumbing to the downward moral slide, we are fooling ourselves. We are in spiritual warfare against an enemy that wants to devour our children. Our greatest influence is on our knees.

We can teach and train our children, but we cannot change their hearts. Only God can transform a young life and make a child willing to stand for righteousness in the midst of the darkness of the youth culture.

Develop a habit of praying for your children daily--for the pressures they are facing, for their protection, for God to draw them to Himself. Begin praying the Scriptures over your child. Take time in the evening or before they walk out the door in the morning to pray over them.

Join with other parents and pray corporately and strategically for your children through a ministry such as Moms in Touch (mothers who pray once a week for their children and their schools). Now more than ever we need to be diligent in our prayer efforts, crying out to God for our kids to "become blameless and pure...in a crooked and depraved generation" (Phil. 2:15). The stakes are too high not to.

Cheri Fuller is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of The One Year Book of Praying Through the Bible (Tyndale) and 41 other books. For her resources visit www.cherifuller.com.

Cyndi Lamb Curry is a speaker and writer. Her book Keeping Your Kids Afloat When It Feels Like You're Sinking (Regal) is designed for parents who want to help their kids deal with grief and loss from death, divorce, illness or deployment.

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