What World Are We Preparing Them For?
Wow. I immediately wondered what world it was that she was trying to prepare the kids for. Surely not planet Earth ....
I was immediately reminded of a couple of incidents that happened while I was in school. I remember having a friend named Bobby, in perhaps the third or fourth grade. He seemed a rather frail child, although I am not sure I paid any attention to that, then. One Monday morning, our teacher stood in front of the class, with tears in her eyes, and told us that Bobby had died over the weekend. He'd had a cold on Friday, and it went into something else, and killed him.
OK. I'd been aware that people do, after all, die. So a friend died. And that was the last mention of the issue. He'd died.
A few years later, in High School, 3 of my friend were walking along some railroad tracks, and were hit by a train. One of them, perhaps the better of my friends of those three, had been killed. I heard about that in the school cafeteria at noon that next Monday. And there never was any formal announcement. Only word-of-mouth from my peers.
OK. He'd died.
Today, I'm pretty sure there'd have been teams of counselors on scene to head off all the damage that doesn't seem to have happened.
And I wonder about that in church, too. The Upward programs .. basketball and football .. giving trophies for participation, not for winning. I really, seriously think that's sending a very bad message to those children involved. And not keeping score, making it a matter not of winning or losing, but just participating? Well, here's a news flash for you: those kids KNOW who's winning and who's losing. But we're telling them winning doesn't matter, apparently.
We'll see how that plays when the kid grows up and gets a job and thinks that just participating will get him a trophy.
I understand the church's role in helping prepare children for heaven. But how about helping prepare them for THIS world? Or at least NOT doing anything that misleads them about how life here is really going to be?
I read an article in the Jamaica Gleaner some years ago, entitled "Why Men Don't Go to Church" (it's a lot bigger problem there, than here). They cited several reasons .. one was that our songs say things that men don't say, like "As the deer panteth for the water, so my soul panteth after Thee". Guys just don't say stuff like that. But one reason they gave was much more pointed:
Men like challenges, like to rise to the challenge and win, and men like to strive for greatness. Church doesn't seem to challenge much in ways that motivate men to action, and the whole atmosphere seems to discourage striving for greatness (NOTE: Don't confuse that with glory, which is a different matter). And that's a big mistake in my mind. My personal goal in teaching is to be the greatest Sunday School teacher in the world. Now, I know I'm not, since I've sat under the teaching of the greatest, and I can never compare to him. But if my goal is less than that, then I'm going to short-change anyone who sits in my class. They deserve the best there is.
I've heard it said that when you settle for less than what you deserve, you will get less than you settled for. I think that applies in Spiritual matters, too. If you settle for less than what God has in mind for you, then you're probably going to get less than you settled for.
That's how it is in the world we're living in. The one we're helping prepare those children for. God help the church if that's the case, as we'll have had a hand in causing the eventual stumbling of those little ones, when they grow into adults.
God would be up to making a millstone that'd fit a whole church, no doubt. Let's hope we don't ever find out.