2002-01-31 - Teach Your Children
Deut 6:6-7 And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; 7 and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. (NAS)
Tonight I was helping my son with his homework. It was a tough assignment. He was being asked to write a letter to the New Jersey Commissioner of Education explaining why he felt that 8th graders in New Jersey should be taught about the Holocaust. The concern is that the material is too stressful and controversial for children of that age.
Chris felt very very strongly that the material should be taught. I know I have sheltered him from some of the more graphic material in some of the "World at War" specials and shows of that ilk. They are excellent documentaries, but they are too graphic for young children. He is now coming into an age where he can understand it at the level it needs to be dealt with.
The love of God is powerful. It is a huge topic. It's hard to get the finite mind around the infinite love of God. And because of that it is difficult to understand where there are seeming contradictions. It can create controversy. But we are instructed to teach our children about the love of God - diligently. When they are young we can just tell them. And we can show them by the things that we do and say to them and other children and their parents. More is caught than is taught as the saying goes. As they grow and their world expands, we can begin to tell them more and teach them the stories that explain Jesus' love and the love of the Father. Will they understand it all? No. Will some of it be confusing? Sure it will. But that should not stop us. It is just an opportunity to help them think it through and show them it is important with our time.
To not teach our children about the Holocaust is an invitation to have the same horrible events repeated even more frequently, or worse to turn a blind eye to the tragedy of hatred and fear of others simply because they are different. Not telling our children that God loves them sends the wrong message too. If we don't tell them, then it must not be important. But it is the most critical, eternally important thing we can say to them. Do they need to know their multiplication tables? Yes, they most certainly do. But if they know the God who created numbers and mathematics and the pure mechanics of the Universe around us, they will be better equipped to understand why two times two is four.
Grace & Peace,