In the Old Testament there is a very chilling scene where God calls to the child Samuel and tells him that he will act against the household of Eli the priest because Eli did not control his sons who were acting wicked in the eyes of God. Of course, one can only surmise that Eli’s wicked sons didn’t see this coming. And so, in time God’s judgment came to pass. I don’t know the details, but I take it that the son’s of Eli met an unfortunate end.
So often we are warned by God that reality has consequences. You jump from too high a distance you break a bone. You eat lousy food you get sick. You make friends with the devil … he turns on you. Yet reality doesn’t seem to be in vogue now a days. I have noticed that more and more people are rearing their children with a complete disconnect to reality. Some parents honestly believe that by giving their kids everything they want, keeping them from nagging and whining, that they are doing them a service. But when kids get the idea that the world and all its pleasures are owed to them, they have a way of spoiling everything because they appreciate nothing.
I have heard repeated cases of kids who attack and verbally abuse their teachers or abuse other kids in their school. Yet we can’t really punish them. We can’t deny them anything. We can’t deny them their “right” to an education they don’t even want, an education they will consistently try to destroy. I have worked in both public and private school and I have witnessed this scenario myself. There are some wonderful teachers out there attempting to do the impossible. Why? Not because educating kids is so hard but because too many parents aren’t preparing their kids for school or for any meaningful life experience that has some bearing on reality.
In my humble little home-school my kids thrive on their educational environment and it isn’t because we have the newest and greatest materials and technology. We have great resources….second hand more often than not…but still very useful and up to date. What makes them motivated learners is that they have been told and shown in a myriad of ways that this is their life. Their future is for them to forge. Their success is for them to win. Their profit is for them to reap…if they have the skills, know-how, and desire to do what it takes to become successful and useful in this world. I haven’t given my sixteen year old a car. I haven’t promised anyone a college education. I am not going to sign up for any student loans. They have to work while they live at home as soon as they know how to become useful. Kids thrive on being “someone” other people need. They love to know that they have a future to work for. Their minds like to absorb new information and to work hard…if they haven’t been spoiled by the lazy virus which attacks too many youth these days.
The lazy virus is the attitude that a person don’t really need to lift a finger to get what they need and want. They will be fed, clothed, sheltered, and cared for without doing any work. Grown-ups will beg to be allowed to secure their future for them, entertain them, give them what they want to make them “happy.” (Even when that something may in fact be very, very bad for them.) Everyone feels terribly guilty and uncomfortable if kids complain. And they are good at complaining. I have heard some doozies! Young people see life through an intense filter and they seem to think that the world revolves around them. But they need to widen their vision – for their own sake. They need to see the needs of others..including other kids who really are without very basic necessities like food, clean water and shelter. They need to see that they have a part to play in making the world a better place. They need to realize that like Heli – wickedness does not pay – reality has a way of catching up with a person eventually.
We are living in a society that is so completely detached from reality - we don’t even feel the need to pay our bills any more…as a nation or as a world. Instead the president calls for universal preschool! Oh, good, lets take our children out of our homes at an even younger age and make the state and federal government responsible for teaching them responsibility and reality. How is the Federal Government doing by the way? The State of IL? Look at the last 30 years -Sesame Street, kindergartens, preschools abound like never before and yet our educational system is falling into the sewer. Our kids know more about homosexuality than about our presidents, the Constitution, or our monetary systems. Why? Because we are out of touch with reality. Everyone wants to pass their kids onto someone else to handle. No one wants to say no. No one wants to punish anyone. No one wants to know that anyone is uncomfortable – because it makes us uncomfortable and that’s not allowed. We are cowards. Like Priest Heli was a coward. There is no one better to teach a child reality and responsibility than his or her parents unless they have forfeited that right by being totally irresponsible and reckless.
So where do we go from here? Psychologists would make us feel better about the suffering we have endured at our own hands but I can’t feel sorry for a society that has brought this catastrophe onto itself. I want to like Priest Heli, but in the end I know he was a cruel man. He never challenged his kids, he never made them look at reality, or the hope for something better that they could work for. Instead he allowed his children to suffer the ultimate fate of wickedness - their demise. Let us not do the same with our kids.