Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
~ Proverbs 22:6 ~
For the last couple of months, my husband and I have been leading a study with our church’s youth group through church history. Well, it began around the central idea of church history, but we found from the start that in truth, church history is closely wrapped up with world history. From creation to the judgment of the flood; from Babel to Abraham and Israel’s journeys; from the Roman Empire and Christ’s sacrifice; from the early church to the reformation; to the present day, history is influenced by the Church and the church oftentimes by the world, and both for good and ill.
As someone who loves history, and as it is partly my job as an author studying the history of the early people after Babel, I was thrilled to have a key hand in this study. How wonderful it is to teach young people about God’s hand working through His creation from the beginning to their very lives today! How wonderful to teach them how God has preserved His word, how He raised up people to defend it, how many devoted their lives to reaching others! In addition, I was also able to inform them of those who opposed God’s Word, seeking to destroy and hinder it being taught, and show them those who rose up to become apologists as I am.
But as we have gone through this study, I have become concerned. Though I was raised with a love for God, a love for learning, and a passion for my calling, I do not see that in the youth I aid in instructing. Instead, I see youth who do not know history, even their own country’s history, let alone the world’s. I see youth who do not know the Scriptures, who are uninterested in learning about where they came from both historically and spiritually. I see kids who show up with deaf ears, closed minds, and with nothing to grasp in regards to history.
To be clear, we teach world history along with church history not only because they are interconnected but also because it gives the listener hand holds for what they already know. For example, we know at the time of Jesus’ birth Caesar Augustus had a census, so we talk about the events leading to Augustus’ rule. Or the events leading from the Assyrian Empire to the Babylonian empire, and their later fall at the hands of the Medea-Persian empire, which in turn was taken over by the Greeks, which was finally conquered by the Romans. All of this, among so many other things, led to Greek being the lingua franca and magnificent roads being built. These events culminated to a time when the Gospel could be easily spread. These are only a handful of examples, but they explain in part how this study was done.
But the problem arose when the kids we are teaching did not know history in this manner, let alone how it connect to the history of Christianity. They have not be taught it. What is worse is that their church, their parents, and their peers do not fully grasp the importance of their faith nor what it means to them, let alone the importance of the history that goes along with it. To many, it appears as though church is simply a weekly event to possibly attend but has no real significance in their daily lives or their personal history. While this is not true for all of these students, I often wonder if they will still attend church after they begin attending college, or after they graduate.
I wonder and I worry. What is worse, I do not know if their parents do the same, and here lies the issue. Parents, you need to play an active role in your children’s lives. Whether you send your kids to public or private school or you home school, train up your children. Train them today to be whom they will be tomorrow. While this is mainly focused on history, there are more issues within the lives of our kids. Yes, it is disparaging that our kids do not know history, do not know where they came from, do not know where our present path is leading us and do not care. But what is worse is that their faith is being replaced by man’s teachings and their own will. Parents have outsourced the instruction of their children and then wonder at what went wrong: morally, spiritually, academically, etc. Moreover, they do not know why thy believe what they believe and thus are easily swayed by other’s teachings. This goes for teaching your children to become adults and instructing them in the way of the Lord. They are not always going to get this instruction from church or school, and if they do, they are not often listening or are getting the wrong information. They need you. They need to watch you, learn from you, grow with you, or you will wonder who they are in twenty years. Perhaps your kids are grown? Reach out to them. Are they young? Teach them now, for the only better time would have been yesterday. But there is still time. I exhort your, parents: train up your children in the way they should go. Because if you do not, someone else will. And when they are older, that is likely who they will be and which way they shall follow.
God’s blessings to you,