"What do you want to teach a child by the time they are 12?"
During class we were supposed to get in groups and discuss what we thought kids need to know by that stage in their lives, and honestly, I was kind of appalled by the answers I heard. I mean at face-value they were all okay answers, but they just really struck me as complete garbage.
Here are some of the first ones I heard...
- actions speak louder than words
- how to be a good person
- how to be obedient
I guess the reason it frustrated me so much was because I was thinking of my own (future/potential) children. I don't want my ten/eleven/twelve year old thinking that "being a good person" or being "obedient" means anything without having a personal, intimate relationship with Christ. I mean sure, I want obedient children ;), but in the grand scheme of things that would not be on the top of my list.
My group mentioned Jesus once (minus my submissions) . And the one time they mentioned Him, the exact words were "...to know Jesus died on a cross". Seriously, that was it. No explanation of His life and why He had to die on a cross, no emphasis on salvation or the Gospel...just flat historical facts. I'm sorry, I know working with kids over the summer and taking classes doesn't make me an expert, but I'm pretty sure the average kid can retain and understand more than that...especially the older ones.
I'm not saying every church should try to scare their kids, or anything like that, but if the thought of Hell scares them...well, it should! Children can be taught all kinds of things as long as they are taught in love and kindness. Give kids the opportunity to understand, instead of withholding Truth from them. Offer them the whole Gospel, not just cartoons or cut-and-dry facts. I know I probably sound like some hardcore beat-truth-into-them type of lady, but I hate the thought of kids wasting what can be the most influential years of growth on pointless trivia or partial Truth.
Alright, I think my rant is over now... *steps off soapbox*