Deuteronomy 11:19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
I went to a free screening of a new movie the other night. It is called “The Boy in Striped Pajamas.” The story is about two boys who are separated by the electric barbed wires of a concentration camp. One boy, called Bruno, is the son of the Commandant of the camp. The other boy, Schmoel, is the son of a Jewish watchmaker.
It’s a very sad movie and the ending is heartbreaking. I left the theater stunned. I don’t know whether or not to recommend it to anyone. It’s not a feel good movie at all, although it does have many important messages to impart.
For instance, several times during the movie, Bruno is being taught by an old fascist teacher. He’s being indoctrinated into the Nazi party line. Bruno resists this because of his friendship with Schmoel. Bruno’s sister, however, becomes infatuated with Nazism and begins to change her personality. It’s a good lesson about how impressionable children actually are. They can be molded, manipulated, and brainwashed at an early age. They are learning machines, especially between the ages of 8-12. What influences them during those years usually shapes their character for years to come.
That’s why it’s very important for parents to be parents to their children, and not friends. If we set no boundaries, we only end up raising savages. Children need boundaries because the world that they will grow up into has some serious boundaries.
This lesson also applies to the Church. When we teach our children faith in Christ, we’re giving them strength for the future and hope for what lies ahead of them. If we neglect to share our faith with them, they will lose their connection to God. Sadly, too many adults end up becoming addicted to tobacco, sex, drugs, or alcohol simply because they feel spiritually empty and cut off from God. If we can teach them to have faith at an impressionable age, then we may save them from some of society’s ills.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, our children are precious gifts in our lives and community. Help us to share the joy of our faith with them, so that they may grow nearer and closer to You throughout their adult lives. Keep us mindful of the cultural persuaders that would undermine Your influence over them. Help us to help our children avoid them. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.