Monthly Archives: January 2010
How we say something to a person is important. What we say to that person is perhaps even more important. Why we say what we say and how we say it is of ultimate importance.
Why do we say what we say?
We know that God desires all men to come to repentance and a knowledge of the truth. He came in the flesh to seek and save the lost. To die for the sins of the whole world and to take them away. To rescue all men from the bondage of sin, death, and the devil. To give them peace with God: that they might know that they have life – the life that is “truly life” and “eternal life” – which is knowing His Son. It is for this reason that they may dwell in the house of the Lord forever, proclaiming His Name far and wide, in what they think, say, and do.
And we find this message being shared even with us! In turn, we share it with others.
So why do we say what we say?
Because God love.
The very young child of a good Christian home may not articulate things quite like this: instead words such as “I am Jesus’ little lamb”, “Jesus loves me this I know”, or “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world…” may be what they most readily grasp (delivered by mom and dad’s loving communication of course).
But it seems to me that God would have them to grow into an ever-deepening recognition that it is His steadfast intention to bring the whole world – and even them! – the “peace that passes all understanding” through His Son.
Because God is love.
Now this is not a blog about educational pedagogy, but of course it all relates: I strongly believe in providing substantial content (especially the Gospel to which children cling) to children from the get-go. Sing them hymns, read them stories from the Bible, explore the history of the world and its people and encourage all questioning and curiousity they show about such things…
Of course, try to talk to them about this substantial content in terms that they can relate to and understand, but just do it! It seems to me that if education is all about self-discovery, its doomed to be boring.
In other words, don’t be like the school mentioned in this blogpost:
My children were students at P.S. 87 on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, also known as the William Tecumseh Sherman School. Our school enjoyed a reputation as one of the city’s education jewels, and parents clamored to get their kids in. But most of the teachers and principals had trained at Columbia University’s Teachers College, a bastion of so-called progressive education, and militantly defended the progressive-ed doctrine that facts were pedagogically unimportant. I once asked my younger son and some of his classmates, all top fifth-grade students, whether they knew anything about the historical figure after whom their school was named. Not only were they clueless about the military leader who delivered the final blow that brought down America’s slave empire; they hardly knew anything about the Civil War, either. When I complained to the school’s principal, he reassured me: “Our kids don’t need to learn about the Civil War. What they are learning at P.S. 87 is how to learn about the Civil War.”
As the author of the post goes on to say: “So when will they actually learn details of the Civil War? When they’re trying to relax in front of the History Channel between specials on UFOs and Nostradamus?”
Very funny but very sad!
Good stuff. Check it out.
…About half-an-hour after the last of my young children had gone to bed and grown-up time was about to start, my wife and I heard a familiar pitter-patter of little feet coming down the stairs. Yet again, my eldest daughter couldn’t get to sleep. A common occurrence, usually for no particular reason.
Well, this time it was different. H (age 7) was visibly upset, with tears flooding down her cheeks. What on earth was the matter?
“I have been asking Jesus into my heart, but nothing seems to happen, and it makes me really sad.”
Turns out, she has been reading the books of Patricia St.John, one of her favourite authors. And in almost every book, some child or another gets to the point of asking Jesus into its heart, with wonderful transforming consequences. And now little H was desperate for the same experience, and was desperately disappointed, and a little worried, that nothing was happening, despite her prayers.
As is often the way with God’s children, this misunderstanding led to a wonderful conversation about what makes us Christian. As the opening of Olaus Svebilius’ Explanation of the Small Catechism puts it so simply:
Q1: Are you a Christian?
A: Yes, I am.
Q2: Why are you called a Christian?
A: Because I have been baptised in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and in baptism I have put on Christ. I believe and confess Him to be my Saviour and my Redeemer.
There. It’s that simple. Turns out, H has had Jesus “in her heart” for over 7 years already. No need to ask for anything more, except faith to see what she already has.
(Italics and bold mine)