By Mrs. Jane Roberts
The world today is caught up in a whirlwind of speed. It seems that everyone is so rushed that they hardly can find time to catch a breath and to analyze what is really happening to them and what values should be placed upon the many duties that they perform. We as Christian women are often faced with the necessity to account to ourselves and to the Lord for our time and whether we are doing with it what we should.
Our home should be our prime concern, because in Titus 2:4-5 God has admonished that we should be “sensible, chaste, good house-keepers, good-natured,” willing to adapt ourselves to our husbands, “that the word of God may not be discredited.” The quality of daily living in our household is dependent to a large extent upon us as mothers.
There is much concern recently about the youth of today. Many of them are making unfavorable headlines, while many others are carrying on commendably in schools and communities, though the latter may not receive the publicity they deserve.
Modern psychology tells us that it is bad to be an orphan, terrible to be an only child, damaging to be the youngest, crushing to be in the middle and taxing to be the oldest. There seems no way out, except to be born an adult.
We can improve the lives of our youth by helping them in their spiritual development. In Ecclesiastes 12:1, God asks of the youth that they, “Remember now thy creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.” The Scriptures have much to say about the spiritual development of youth. The apostle Paul wrote two letters to a young man, Timothy, whom he called his “son in the faith.” In one of these he said, “I remember the sincere faith you have, the kind of faith your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice also had. I am sure that you have it also … For the spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead his spirit fills us with power and love and self-control.” Timothy was indeed fortunate to have a grandmother and mother who taught him spiritual truths from the time he was a child.
There was one mother who would quote to her small infant verses from the Bible while she was caressing him. A friend happened in and heard this mother saying, “For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life”, while she tenderly cared for him. The friend was skeptical and said, “You know that child cannot understand the words you are saying to him.” The Mother answered, “No, but neither can he understand when I say, ‘Son, I love you’. But I do not intend to stop telling him that I love him.” Oh, that there were more mothers who were so vitally interested in their children knowing about God and his love toward mankind!
Henry G. Bosch said, “While certain men have more wealth, talent and education than others, have you ever thought of the fact that we are all equal in regard to the amount of time allotted to us each year?” Consider how we will use this precious commodity in regard to our young people’s lives.
Wayland Hoyt tells how he was rummaging along the shore gathering select shells from the sea when suddenly he saw on the beach a very desirable shell, more beautiful than any he had yet discovered. Searching in a dreamy, listless way, he supposed he could pick it up at his leisure. But as he hesitated, a higher wave swept up along the beach, recaptured that lovely treasure, and bore it back to the bosom of the ocean. While we work with our children, many times the hours become long and hectic and perhaps we lose sight of the precious teachable moments we have. Before these “shells” of opportunity are swept back into the irretrievable past, we need to act with positive purpose. Time is both a gift and a responsibility. It has been said, “Time is so powerful, God gives it to us only in small doses.”
A young concert violinist was once asked the secret of her success. She replied, “Planned neglect.” Then she explained that years ago she discovered that many things claimed her time. She found herself putting off her practice of the violin until all the other duties that claimed her were performed. Finally she realized that this was causing her to neglect her practicing. She decided to reverse the situation and to give the choice hours of the morning when her mind and body were refreshed for her practicing. The host of other things had to be neglected until the practicing was done. Too often we are too busy with our own lives to find time to talk and listen to our youth. Perhaps we should practice a little ‘planned neglect’ of the multitude of things that claim our lives and our time in favor of a good visit with our youth—not just when they are in trouble or have some problem, but just for the sake of being together.
We need to provide first, a wholesome environment for our youth, second, wholesome spiritual nourishment, and third, an example of wholesome living. The things that we consider important are naturally transmitted to our youth as important. From year to year, I see children who are so well cared for in so far as physical, material things are concerned. These children are loved dearly by their parents and their parents sincerely desire to give them all the best things of life. They are given lessons of every description by private tutors. All of these are good, but one thing is lacking—there is no spiritual training. It is the consensus of many people today that they must have a “hands off” policy in influencing their children spiritually. They feel no compunction about influencing them culturally or socially, but they suddenly become timid and aloof when it comes to influencing them spiritually. Are we to turn them loose in a world where thousands of religions and cults and sects are grasping to claim them with no training in the Scriptures or background faith from the home for any spiritual stability? They are likely to fall prey to many false teachings or to be so confused by the deluge of religions that they will become atheistic. I believe it is the responsibility of the home and church to guide children spiritually. The public school, being a state institution, must remain neutral in order to safeguard the basic tenet, freedom of religion. I believe it is unethical for a teacher to try to influence a student toward some particular religion in school. For the same reason, I also believe it is unethical for a teacher to use his influence to dissuade a student of the faith in God that he has been taught at home and in church. If the Supreme Court can deny a prayer to be said in school, then this should also prohibit the agnostic teacher from stripping the impressionable minds of youth of their belief in God.
Spiritual nourishment for youth is very important. The news stands are full of suggestive literature and pornography directed to catch the youth’s attention. Let us make wholesome literature available to them. May we carefully consider the literature we have coming into our homes. Paul said to Timothy, “But as for you, continue in the truths that you were taught and firmly believe. For you know who your teachers were, and you know that ever since you were a child you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.”
Providing a wholesome environment and wholesome nourishment are relatively easy to provide for our youth. Providing an example of wholesome living is yet another thing. We are to be “an example of the believer in word, in conversation, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” The Bible says, “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” If we as adults do not set some standards for ourselves, how can we expect our youth to have any qualms about what they do. Our Christian youth are bombarded at every turn by the world’s allurements and the world’s standards, and they are made to feel ridiculous when they adhere to Christian ethics. We as mothers must “take great care then how we live; not unwisely, but wisely, making the most of every opportunity, for these are evil days.” (Eph. 5:15) It seems to me that the youth of the world are crying out to the adults of the world to set some standards, to give them an example to use as a guideline, yes, even to give them something to live for. H. G. Bosch said, “Without full consecration, your life will appear to others as an empty series of disconnected acts. With faith and holy dedication, it will be like the close-woven threads of a tapestry, full of beauty and design.” Let us never forget: we teach a little by what we say, we teach most by what we are.