Our Impoverished Children

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.”

10 comments on “Our Impoverished Children

  1. Perhaps the cycle will bring us back to the place where our people are again open to the gospel. In our post-Christian society, people seem inoculated to it by false impressions. If there is no impression, there may come an openness again. Let’s continue to pray for our nations!

    1. I hadn’t thought of it from that angle. So, we may have to wait for ersatz Christianity to die out before true Christianity can take root?

      D. James Kennedy used to say the biggest unworked missionary field was the American church. I think he was right.

  2. About 10-15 years ago, someone (I can’t remember who) remarked that whereas commencement speakers always used to use references to the once-famous people and events that you refer to — as well as to authors such as Shakespeare, Dickens, Tennyson, etc. — now they just referenced popular-culture figures from TV programs and movies. Since then it’s gotten even worse, although one wouldn’t have thought such a thing possible.

    Of course any references to the Bible in commencement speeches, even to characters in the Bible (Noah, David, Moses, etc.), would now be punishable by suspension at best. So fear may be accountable for the failure to talk about stories from the Bible. But the rest is owing primarily to deep-down dirt ignorance.

    (BTW, at the end of Shakespeare’s “Othello,” Emilia says to Othello, “Oh, you are ignorant as dirt!” That’s how old THAT insult is! And see how handy it is to know your Shakespeare?) 🙂

  3. Sadly, I think not much has changed. Many of today’s youth are unfamiliar with much Biblical information. I’ve suggested books to young people (in their 20s), non-fiction books that may help them develop an interest, but am usually met with responses like: It’s just made-up stories, or There’s too much Bible in that book, or even the ‘you poor dear’ look, implying that I’m silly to believe such ‘nonsense’. I pray the darkness in their lives is overcome by The Light.

    1. I’m at a loss to imagine how much worse this will get before it all comes crashing down.
      Dildoes–that’s what it is, or I’m an astronaut–for little kids; and “there’s no such thing as gender”: this is sheer babbling madness.
      Sorry, I just couldn’t bear to write about it today.

    2. It astounds me that it hasn’t crashed down of yet. In a sense, perhaps it actually has crashed. We see sexual exploitation of children as a growing problem, that’s certainly a sign of a crashing civilization.

  4. That Disney toy is disturbing, to say the least. However, I’m not even slightly surprised, Disney has become a much different company than it was in my youth.

    Overall, our culture has declined over the years. Even in my day, we weren’t exposed to the classics the way my parents had been. I was probably 30 when I read the Three Musketeers and many other works of literature which had been required in my parent’s day. I wish I had read these long before.

    Fortunately, I had been taught the Bible, albeit not nearly as thoroughly as I wish I had been. Even Richard Dawkins, an atheist, sees value in learning the Bible.

    If you read books written 100 years ago, or more, there is a sense of shared knowledge. The reason is simple, if someone had any degree of education whatsoever, chances are very good that they would have been exposed to many of the same literary works as anyone in the Western world. This was valuable.

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