I’ve spent a lot of time lately watching two grandsons who do nothing useful. They play games (football, basketball, & baseball) and video games. They do nothing outside of that. Actually, there is a little hope, the younger boy is showing some signs of interest in architecture. But, the playing games thing is seen as normal—what young boys should do. The two girls are a little better. They are quite a bit younger but their games revolve around housekeeping and social relationships.
But the basic problem, as I see it, is the assumption that children need to play, that it is good to play, that this is the best thing they can do
A hundred fifty years ago, the oldest boy would likely be apprenticed by now with the next oldest ready to do that this year. They would have already learned to work with men building, fixing, bringing in food, and improving shelter. The girls would be learning to sew, cook, clean, and care for.
Most importantly, they would be living, working, and playing surrounded by adults—modeling their behavior
It has been really sad to watch vibrant young children (full of life, growth, and questions) become dumbed down as they are thrust increasingly under peer influence. Do we really want our children modeling their behavior on other people’s children? How many children do you know who model themselves after a teacher or preacher? Teachers and preachers are larger than life characters who have no relationship to their friends and models.
Their parents are rarely seen. Daycare is rampant. The better ones play with their children. But rare is the excellent parent who teaches their child how to build, cook, work, interact with society, and so forth. The parents do not have the time to do stuff like that. Sadly, many of the parents are products of this whole culture we are discussing this morning, and all they want to do is play: sports, outdoor activities, exercise, and all the rest of the narcissistic things modern American people do.
This is serious! We are in trouble!
The barbarians are at the gates—the entire world who understands that life entails work not play? When was the last time you heard a teaching on Ephesians 5: 15 & 16 (ESV)?
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
Do you help your children discern what is going on in the world around them? When was the last time you told your children that the goal of life is to survive—into the presence of God? When was the last time you tried to demonstrate that nothing really matters outside of your relationship with your King and Lord? Do they know that once they die that is all that remains?
When I suggested to my youngest grandson (he’s nearly 12) that he needed to be preparing to be out on his own, it was clear that this was a new concept to him. It registered briefly, before he turned back to his iPod and got into his game again. At least he’s heard it once before he graduates. Sadly, many have not. The oldest grandson is virtually lost until he comes out the other side sometime in his twenties. He really believes that sports are immensely important. I pray he comes to his senses—his father never has.
Last week, the younger did show us several floor plans he’s been working on. That was exciting. I am determined to be hopeful and get in every shot that I can, but it is surely rough with the peer pressure and the environment where playing is seen as good and a goal to be desired.
One final scripture. My current favorite: Ephesians 4: 17-24
Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Chew on this for a while—it’s some real food.
I could reword it and make it more palatable—but you’re adults. Right?