The weight of the world on tiny shoulders

As I watch my children growing up in this chaotic world, I am a little stunned about something. It seems that the adults have put all the “hope” for the future on the shoulders of people who don’t even shave yet. When I surf the kiddie cable channels I am amazed at the steady stream of so-called news and environmental propaganda aimed at children. The message is “you can save the world.” Um, isn’t that a lot of pressure to put on a child who probably doesn’t have all their permanent teeth yet?

Why not let children be children? With the availability of media today it is easy for a child to learn about with local murder statistics on a TV at a local restaurant, terrorism plots during talk radio news breaks or read about child molestation cases in the newspaper stand. I think where our children are concerned the children’s song is a great rule of thumb: “Oh be careful little eyes what you see…”

I do not encourage my children to “save the planet” or expose them to unfettered input of the latest worldwide catastrophes or other disasters. (Of course age does make a difference.) I do not keep my children from all news but I do filter what they know because it is my responsibility to keep them safe, and to me that includes emotional safety. I cannot in good conscience fill their heads with the myriad of troubles in today’s world. They do not have the perspective or the frame of reference to process the information they receive. They are egocentric by nature, so it is easy to make everything their fault or to distort their relationship to it.

Children shouldn’t have to look out for their parents; parents look out for the children. The Message 2 Cor. 12:14

As I Christian parent it is up to me to keep drawing my children to God, to nurture that special relationship. If I allow them to repeatedly dwell on the problems in the world their eyes are not on the solution, but the problem. They are not looking to God. They are only filled with anxiety and dismal foreboding.

13 The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. 14 The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. 15 Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” 16 Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.               The Message Mark 10:13-16

We talk about our responsibility to the planet as God’s stewards and to our fellow man. We are filled with compassion kept in perspective by scripture and prayer. We, as parents, must be careful to keep our children from taking on too much pressure and responsibility before they are adults. Childhood is a time for wonder, for exploration and for learning, not for saving the world. There’s plenty of time for that when they are grown.

18 Place these words on your hearts. Get them deep inside you. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder. 19 Teach them to your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning until you fall into bed at night.        The Message Deut. 11:18, 19

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