I am writing two other blog entries for today and tomorrow that are related to the season, but in between this has been on my mind. Kids.
I work with small children. I used to be a teacher and now I am a teacher’s aid. I love being around kids, listening to what they say, watching what they do. I love how they learn, and best of all is being a part of opening up the world of literacy for them. Even tying their shoes and wiping their noses is satisfying because it helps them. I especially love working with them in the faith setting, teaching them about Jesus, because their faith is sure and innocent.
Though children are not sinless, they are declared innocent. In Deuteronomy 1:39 we read about little ones who have no knowledge of good or evil. There’s a point in life when you don’t have conscious knowledge of good or evil, you haven’t reached that condition of accountability before Holy God. Isaiah 7:16 says the same. Based on those verses and others that tell me there is an age of accountability, and prior to that, a child’s deeds are not held against him.
But children DO sin. Oh, yes. Make no mistake. I believe that in former times, children were more innocent and less sinful and willful early in their lives than they are now. The rampant sin that has polluted the earth has touched the hearts of children at an earlier and earlier age. When I began teaching in 1982 I never saw what I am seeing now. Let me give some examples.
There is a video going around called something like ‘bed time bandit’. It is a short video of a two-year-old boy who is covetous of his sister’s pillow pet. He had kept going into his sister’s room to steal it at night, so the parents said to the sister, ‘lock your door.’ (Nothing is said of how they punished the brother for stealing it in the first place.) Even though she locked it, the sister still insisted the brother was stealing the pet. So the parents set up a video camera to watch what was happening at night. Not to be thwarted in his coveting of the item, the boy devised a plan when confronted with the locked door. The video depicts what unfolded…
The boy emerges from his room at night, gripping a pair of opened fingernail clippers. He carefully closes his bedroom door, I surmise so that the light wouldn’t alert anyone. He spends a few moments carefully picking the lock of his sister’s door, and when successful, goes back to his room to replace the clippers. I surmise he did this so as not to be caught with the tools of breaking and entering. Then he goes in, grabs the toy, and scuttles out, all the while silent in his footie pajamas and silently closing all the doors behind him. The video ends with his parents laughing.
I’m not laughing.
The boy devised a plan to thwart his parents’ orders, and to illegally enter a place he was told not to go to get a thing that was not his. He thought about this plan for a while, so we have malice aforethought. He was studious at every step of the way, in replacing the clippers, being quiet, and closing the doors, so we have stealth.
How often does a two-year-old have the fine motor skills to pick a lock? How much mental energy was given over to decide which tools would do the job? He didn’t choose a knife, or a screwdriver or a fork or a stick. He selected just the right tool because he spent time thinking about it first. How often does a two-year old have the patience to perform a minute fine-motor task, in the dark??
What happens when the kid is sixteen and he wants some beer from a locked store? Or to change his grades which are on a computer behind a locked office?
And what does that tell the sister, that she has to lock her door against her brother just to be safe in her own home? And how safe is it to have a child sleeping in a locked room…what if there is a fire?
Here is second example I thought was repugnant. It is called “Tooth Fairy fake-out.” A little girl who has lost her tooth explains to her mother that she has devised a plan to ‘trick the tooth fairy’. She will trick the tooth fairy because she wants to keep the tooth but she still wants the money. She decided to roll up a piece of paper and put that under her pillow instead. She is quite happy with that plan.
Until the next day, when instead of the money she expected, she received a ‘ticket’ from the tooth fairy. She was furious.
Thirdly, on the playground I overheard a discussion. Several kindergartenters were fussing because one of them had been told that they could not be on stage. (There is a concrete pavilion with picnic tables they use for various purposes). The child was mad because she had been told by another child that she “was a no-talent and couldn’t be on the stage with the rest.” She was angry and said that she had plenty of talent. I pondered that for a while. I wondered, where do kids get the idea of talent and no talent and stages and performing and talk to each other like that?
Ohhh. Now I see- it is the effects of the Simon Cowell-like barbs and insults. Kids watch these reality talent shows like Dancing with the Stars and The Voice and American Idol and watch the adults shame each other at another’s expense. Then they repeat that behavior on the playground.
I don’t blame the kids. They’re kids. And the pervasive influence of instant video that captures moments like these and social media which repeats them are also helping to serve up sin on a silver platter. In 1982 when I began teaching, there were no video recorders, or internet. I’m sure that these behaviors still happened, but they weren’t replicated and they certainly weren’t celebrated, or rewarded!
No, kids are kids. They model their behavior after watching us and by what they are taught. Sometimes they are actively taught to sin, as in the above cases.
How so, you ask? Well, the family of the child who tried to cheat the tooth fairy was given $100,000. They were the big winners of the America’s Favorite Video contest and feted with confetti and streamers and prizes and affirmation. “Cheat and lie, win money!”
|Not the tooth fairy family, but you get the idea…|
It isn’t the kids fault, but parents. They are teaching sin, accepting it, laughing about it, and getting money for it. Kids aren’t sinless but they learn how to handle sin from us. And we are failing them.
I pray for the rapture to come. I say that unashamedly. What Christian would not want to be with Jesus in person, given a choice? Away from sin and disease and in glory and perfection? But I also pray for it on behalf of the children. They are suffering so badly. Not just the ones who are actively being abused, neglected, abandoned and killed in the womb. (or outside of the womb). But I pray for the ones who are abused by sinful adults who do not teach the child the way he should go. (Proverbs 22:6). Who celebrate their sin and profit from it instead of teaching them God’s statutes.
“Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.” (Proverbs 29:17)
Won’t it be a beautiful thing when children can be brought to the Lord Jesus in the Millennium, and they can learn directly from Him?!?!
Meanwhile, I say that the children are polluted with sin from birth and it is up to us to train them in righteousness, not capture it on video and celebrate it. Why pollute the children more?