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Plain and Simple for Nov. 15,2012
SoVaNow.com / November 13, 2012My granddaughter Anna is twelve now and in the seventh grade. She is in the talented and gifted program at Princess Anne Middle School here at Virginia Beach. Occasionally, I get to help her with her homework. I say occasionally because she avoids it whenever possible. I tend to make her work harder than she wants to work but there are times when she has nowhere else to turn.
Last night, she was doing her English homework which consisted of reading a book about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. She was having trouble with the language so she asked for my help. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the book was written in Old English with lots of knaves, forsooths, and varlets to go along with hitteth and speaketh.
I was impressed. The literature that usually is assigned is most often something much more popular in nature. While most of the books are fairly decent—the Harry Potter series comes to mind—they still do not require the kind of discipline and work that classic literature requires. I was brought up on books that forced you to think and think hard. I still do not know if I have forgiven them for making me read Silas Marner, but I know that I am a much better reader for having done it. Children are not going to seek out Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, and Mark Twain on their own. They are all the richer if we shepherd them toward those choices. They will have all the time in the world—and much better reading skills—to read more popular literature later.
I think that we can take this same principle and apply it to the church. There has been a movement over the last several decades to dumb down the curriculum that we teach our children in Sunday school. We do not require them to learn the books of the bible nor do we ask them to even digest whole stories. Instead we give them pithy little quotes that remind them how much God loves them and how much they should love each other. Nowhere do we help them come to grips with the strong stories of the bible that might help them deal with life as they know it.
Let’s face it. Children have alcoholic parents and absentee parents and abusive parents. They live in the same situations that we do. Shouldn’t we give them the stories of the bible that have challenged and comforted us through the centuries? Of course we will base them on their level but they need to know that God is available in every situation. He is not simply there in the sunny days; he is there no matter what happens.
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