I was talking with an 11-year-old boy who did not know who King David was and had never heard of David and Goliath. I’d be willing to bet he’s never heard of Moses, either. He had a very vague idea who Jesus was. By “vague” I mean almost undetectable.
He was an intelligent child, not dull at all. Unhappily for him, he inhabits a poverty-stricken spiritual and cultural wasteland. All the information he gets comes from television, movies, video games, and public school. “Communism does have some really good ideas,” his friendly public school teacher told him recently.
In addition to the Bible stories that children need to get them into God’s word when they’re older, in addition to the critically necessary knowledge that even very young children ought to have about God and God’s Son, this boy I know has been deprived of damned near everything that roots a human being in human history. You name it, he lacks it: King Arthur and his knights; the Trojan War; Julius Caesar; the Magna Carta; ancient Egypt… on and on and on.
There is nothing this impoverished child knows outside of his own microscopic sliver of time. There is nothing for his imagination to feed on but video games about zombies and movies based on comic strips. William Tell, Sir Walter Raleigh, Magellan, Beowulf, Queen Guinevere, the Three Musketeers, Cornelia the mother of the Gracchi, who said of her two baby sons, “These are my jewels”–not one stray fragment of this treasury of Western civilization has found its way to this child’s plate.
As Steve Brown likes to say, “Now you think about that.”