On Friday, my daughter and I had a discussion that proved to be most instructive for me. She was retelling me the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (as I have not personally read it), which she was reading for her Victorian literature class. As we had been journeying through that era of Jane Austen (yes, I know she technically is not in the Victorian era, but we couldn't leave her out!), Charles Dickens, the Bronte sisters and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I noticed that with more "education" came more darkness in literature. Now I am not an English scholar nor do I claim to be. It was just an observation that I noticed. I'll probably have to look at it a little deeper before making any definitive statements. But from a first glance, in this era of colonization and the growth of science (Darwin's theory of evolution was released smack dab in the middle of this era), there also grew a skepticism and questioning of the faith. Little by little, these seeds of doubt were planted through the thoughts and writings of various authors. Things that were not questioned before now began to rear their heads. And with it, came a darkness that is reflected in the writing, which was the media of the times.
I need not say how things have turned out 100 years later. As our society has learned more, we have had less and less need of God. So much so that in our public systems of education, He is left out and unwelcomed entirely. Not only that, the very opposite of the things that He condemns are embraced and lauded. This does not bode well for our children's future.
I know many dedicated and faithful Christian teachers who witness daily by their lives and actions in these schools, and for them I am thankful. But even they have their hands tied. When the entire fabric of the system is antagonistic to God, it cannot help but seep through into the classroom, the minds, and the hearts of children. And as these ideas take root, we can see the evidence borne out in the fruit. I will not take the time to elaborate 0n the ills of our society today. You know what they are.
As I pondered this trend, I think one thing stood out to me personally. No, I cannot change the way things are today. But I can influence the next generation by doing one of two things. First, this has further fueled my commitment to training my children at home. No, I cannot shield them from all that is out there, nor do I really wish to. That would be unfair and would not be good preparation for them. But I can do my best to instill in them the wholesome, nourishing, living Word of God. I can train them to look at the world from a worldview that includes, embraces, and loves God and His Kingdom. I can equip them to build up the church by cultivating their skills, gifts and abilities. I can prepare them to share the Gospel by steeping their minds in its truth and showing them how to share it. And most importantly, I can help them to cultivate godly character that binds all these things into a winsome witness and godly testimony.
That is my first contribution. My second contribution would be to serve the Christian community, whether it be through one-on-one discipleship, mentoring young women who are starting their own families, teaching Sunday school classes or speaking to other women, or simply sharing my own journey and what I am learning on this blog and through my writing.
As I was talking with Janna, I realized how powerful our words can be. Yes, they need to be preceded by our own convictions and practice, but when coupled with them, our verbal and written witness can potentially be used for His glory. The Victorian era saw an increase in education and knowledge, but it also saw the beginning of a decline in faith. This conversation with my daughter made me realize that this is a trap I need to be very careful of. In all my "study and research" I pray that God will use it to build up the faith and lives of others, not tear it down.
Moms (and dads), I exhort you to join with me in this journey of building up the next generation that lives right under our roof. These days will not come again. Will we be contributors of a godly generation or will our children simply fade into the oblivion that exists today?
Thank You, Lord, for ordinary conversations that can instruct in so many ways. Thank You for the reminder that while I have my children, I also have a responsibility---not just to feed and clothe them, but to train and disciple them for You. May I continue to keep on in this important work, knowing that it is not in vain. In Jesus' name, Amen.