We didn’t plan it this way, but it turned out that taking a family vacation last week was perfect timing. After morning walks on the beach we had plenty of time to swim and be outside before the excitement of watching the Olympics each night. At the condominium complex pool there was a family that spent a lot of time together in the water at play. They created their own contests and games. The mother, father, and kids all actively participated in their imagined Olympic challenges. The parents appeared just as excited as the young ones. It was a refreshing reminder of how important it is for families and friends to spend time engaged with children and youth. Electronics can be good for some things but we all need major breaks from being in front of a screen.
Unfortunately, in this country, young people increasingly are connected to the internet and to hand-held devices. There are a few parents who do not understand the importance of actively listening to and talking with their kids on a regular basis. Some do not understand how crucial it is to start reading to them from an early age. Studies show a sharp decline in the number of youth who read for pleasure. This obviously would reflect Bible reading as well.
The church must be a resource for guiding parents, grandparents and guardians. We must expand into the community to help where we can. Education is the great equalizer and people have the greatest chance of realizing their God-given potential when they are equipped with knowledge and wisdom. Years ago one of the first initiatives of Farmville Area Coming Together for Schools was a program of volunteers reading to kindergarteners who were identified as needing extra help. At the Boys and Girls Club they have “Power Hour” and help students with homework. This past May or June there was a book drive where many volumes were collected to give away to Farmville elementary students to take home for the summer.
As churches and individual Christians we must be involved actively in assisting parents and guardians plus helping teach the young people around us. Jesus welcomed kids by saying, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Mark 10:14)
Deuteronomy 11:18-21 says, “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on our hands and bind them on your foreheads. 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. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.”