QUESTION #1: Please share with us some facts about worldview ‘shaping’. Who has the greatest influence on a child’s worldview, when does it happen, and how can these influences better prepare the current and next generation to have a biblical worldview?


George Barna:
“…One of the things that I’ve discovered over the years that people don’t realize is that every individual’s world view begins forming at the age of about 18 months. It continues to be developed until about the age of 13. Once we reach 13, our world view is almost fully formed. We’ve been exposed to so much information, and had so many experiences, and had so many role models that we’ve observed closely, that by that time we’ve determined what we think is right or wrong, what’s good or bad, what’s appropriate, inappropriate, what’s meaningful and not meaningful. One of the things that I like to tell parents when I work with them is, the world view that you have at the age 13, is probably almost exactly the worldview you’re going to die with whenever that occasion comes. Getting to people when they are very young, when they are still children, is critical.
As you mentioned, parents have a major influence on the shaping of our world views, but we have to keep in mind, based on other research we’ve done on worldview development, that parents are not the only significant shaper of the world view. We found that there are two others that have a huge influence. One of those is the media. You think about it, and it’s estimated by the time a child graduates from high school, they’ve been exposed to 16,000 hours of media content. That takes an enormous toll on their mind and heart and soul.
The other major influencer of our world views is the law. Civil law. The laws and policy that our government put into practice, and a lot of people have the silly notion that you can’t legislate morality. They don’t understand that what morality means is what’s right or wrong, and all the law does is tell us what’s right or wrong. You do what’s right, you continue to do it. You do what’s wrong, you get punished. Here are the penalties. The law also helps children and other to figure out what’s moral. Those three things. Parents, media, and government have a huge impact on the development of who we become as human beings, because we do what we believe. Our world view is essentially our understanding of the world, how we respond to the world. It shapes our values, our character, our lifestyle. World view is everything, and so when we say, ‘… we are losing a biblical world view,’ that essentially means that we are losing the heart and soul of the Christian nation.
As far as how these influences can better shape the next generation’s worldview, let’s start with media. There are several things that need to happen. One is that we knew you cannot we cannot continue as Bible believing Christians to watch the programming, to go to movies, to buy books, to listen to radio stations that provide us material that is offensive to a biblical outlook. We cannot continue to buy the products that are advertised on those channels and stations and theaters and what not. We’ve got to use whatever leverage we can bring to them to change the culture. Our children, for instance, need to be raising up our grandchildren to be journalists, to be people who will be in that media world who will refuse to bow down and put out the material that’s offensive. People who are going to create media that provides truth in the perspectives that are given.
Within our homes, with our kids. If they’re going to be exposed to 16,000 hours of video over the course of their pre-adult years, what we’ve got to do is to carefully monitor the media that they are exposed to. We’ve got to mediate it, which means that we’ve got to talk to our kids about what they’ve been exposed to in the media so that they understand the difference between truth and a lie, so that they see when things are being manipulated when somebody is trying to affect their worldview. Then we’ve got to also minimize the amount of media to which they are exposed. Right now, they’ve got a blank check when it comes to exposure to media, and we have to take control of that.
In terms of the legal situation in the laws, civil law, that’s an issue of governance and the Government is there to serve us. We have to be more aware of what’s being done to us by the people that have been put in office and we have to be willing to perhaps engage in civil disobedience when there are laws that are requiring us to offend God.