This week's survey is a perfect example of a previously mentioned principle - sowing and reaping. The real question is , do we know exactly what we are sowing? Are we really aware of what is going into the hearts and minds of our youth and whether or not it is pleasing to God, much less to us? Please read carefully the following quote:
You know that the beginning is the most important part of any work, especially in the case of a young and tender thing; for that is the time at which the character is being formed and the desired impression is more readily taken...Shall we just carelessly allow children to hear any casual tales which may be devised by casual persons, and to receive into their minds ideas for the most part the very opposite of those which we should wish them to have when they are grown up?
We cannot...Anything received into the mind at that age is likely to become indelible and unalterable; and therefore it is most important that the tales which the young first hear should be models of virtuous thoughts.....
This quote is from Plato, the ancient Greek scholar. It has been understood for centuries, the importance of the quality of material placed before our youth. Yet strangely, we behave as though it is a completely new realm, unknown to man previous to this generation. People will argue that we have Sunday School and church to give them the proper instruction. Again, going back to the idea of sowing and reaping, can we really compare 2 hours of teaching with at a minimum 10 hours of flesh-appeasing entertainment? Even if you throw in the hours at a Christian school, consider the difference of sowing into ground that is hard and resistant and sowing into ground that is soft and fertile. One thing I've learned about our modern youth is the prevailing attitude that refuses to be taught; almost as if they have nothing to learn and no desire to learn it. Our appetites are for entertainment, not education.
So then, what are we teaching our youth? Self-denial or self-gratification? Serving others or serving self? Developing a godly character or developing a godless materialism? Every generation has a desire for the following generation to be better off than they were. Defining the term better off is where our trouble lies. In modern times, being better off is having no consequences for our actions; no opportunity to face defeat; no chance of getting our hands dirty; no fear that there may be someone out there who may be better than us at something, thereby causing us to lose self-esteem. This is what we are sowing - Do we like what we are reaping? Our youth are being raised by everyone but their parents; coaches, teachers, music instructors, youth pastors, not to mention TVs, video games, movies, musicians, etc. When was the last time we sat down and had a real conversation with our child? Do we know the spiritual state of our children concerning their salvation or are we trusting a decision made at a camp or conference? Are we aware of not just who their friends are, but what they are, as in the quality of their character? In the New Testament, Jesus Christ gives several parables on talents and stewardship. We, as parents, are given stewardship of our children. Based on our performance thus far, will we one day hear, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant"? We have a great responsibility. Let us be busy about the Father's business; let us be busy about the business of being fathers.