CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Crises, Lockdowns, Family, and Priorities

Apr 2, 2020

All these lockdown measures can be a real plus if it helps us to get our priorities right:

The Corona crisis is radically impacting most of our lives. The lockdowns for example are a novel experience for most of us, and they are giving many folks a bad case of cabin fever. Of course some folks, such as myself, have been working from home for years now, so it is not too bad for some of us.

If I mostly read books, wrote articles and used the internet for my work, little has changed of late. I can cope! And if I can still walk the dogs, get groceries when needed, and perhaps go to a bookstore now and then (one bookshop manager and I agreed yesterday as I bought five new books that bookstores are indeed essential services!), I will get by I suppose.

But on a more serious note, there is a plus side to all this, despite all the downsides. My wife and I were recently talking about some of the positive aspects – chief of which is this: For the first time in a long time for so many families, they are actually spending some time with each other.

Instead of just farming the kids out to day care and to school, mums and dads will actually have to be with their children for some longish periods of time. Maybe for the first time they will really get to know their own kids instead of having them raised by strangers.

And that can only be a good thing. This might be God’s way of shaking us up and reminding us of what really matters – what is really important. Having two parents at work full time for decades on end to make a heap of money to live the good life while the children basically grow up being left to fend for themselves, sitting in front of some screen playing games and dealing with surrogate or virtual family members is NOT something we should be proud of.

While some families did need to have two income earners, and while there can be a place for day care, it has been foisted upon us and we have too easily embraced it. We bought the world’s idea of what really matters. We bought the lie that making more money and having more stuff was the only way to live.

And as a result, our children have suffered. They have been left behind in many ways. And they have so many surrogate parents now, from day care workers to computer screens. Many decades ago social analyst Peter Drucker said this: “We are busily unmaking one of the proudest social achievements in the nineteenth century, which was to take married women out of the work force so they could devote themselves to family and children.”

Now most children in the West are being raised by strangers for so much of their lives. Christians of all people should be quite leery about all this. They should be aware of the fundamental importance of raising children – to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Even the old 1969 song by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young spoke about the need to “teach your children well.” Scripture of course has long taught this. A classic passage on this is Deuteronomy 6:4-9. It says this:

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

Christian parents should be the primary teachers of their children, and those who disciple them. Hoping that an hour a week in Sunday School will somehow immunise them from the values and beliefs of the world is just foolish. It takes time and effort to ‘train up a child in the way they should go’ (Proverbs 22:6), and parents are the ones commanded by God to do this.

Those who think that the secular state and secular school system will not have a deleterious impact on their children are simply dreaming. The education system in the West today is overwhelmingly a secular left indoctrination system. Especially targeted are children with conservative and Christian beliefs.

The Christian satire site Babylon Bee recently got this exactly right with an article entitled “Teachers Urge Government To Reopen Schools Before Students Learn To Think For Themselves”. Here is the full piece:

Teachers at government schools have raised their concerns that the recent closure of their institutions will have a damaging effect on students. In particular, the nation’s educators are worried that the longer the schools are closed, the more likely it is that students will begin thinking for themselves, learn life skills away from the government school system, and realize how much more they learn at home.

“We must reopen as soon as possible — before they regain their ability to have independent thoughts,” said New York 4th-grade teacher Ms. Jenny Mudd. “This is an urgent crisis. We realize we have to do our part to prevent the spread of the virus, but we must also prevent the spread of unapproved ideas. There’s a balance there.”

“Reopen the schools before it is too late.”

Sure enough, studies have already shown a strong correlation between everyone being homeschooled and a concerning spike in independent thought. Students who have been away from the government school system for even a week stop feeling depressed and anxious all the time and even show a shocking increase in the ability to form thoughts and ideas not approved by the government.

Teachers have further pointed out that parents aren’t properly equipped to indoctrinate their children with government propaganda. “I went to school for eight years to be able to do this,” said Portland kindergarten teacher Ms. Pinkerton. “Parents just don’t have the experience of stuffing kids’ heads full of a statist worldview seven hours a day like I do.” babylonbee.com/news/teachers-warn-parents-arent-properly-equipped-to-indoctrinate-children

Yes, that pretty well nails it. At least one well-known American gets this right, and he has taken a lot of flak for it. As one news report states:

A flurry of comments from media talking heads arose following a White House appearance of Mike Lindell, owner of MyPillow, who encouraged people to go back to reading the Bible. Lindell is utilizing his Minnesota-based factory, normally used to make pillows and sheets, to make 50,000 face masks per day for healthcare workers and others at no cost during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

During his remarks from the Rose Garden, Lindell urged Americans to pray and prioritize their families. He also praised President Donald Trump effusively for his handling of the disease outbreak and said that Election Day in 2016 was a chance for the United States to turn back to God.

“God gave us grace on November 8, 2016, to change the course we were on,” Lindell said. “God had been taken out of our schools and lives, a nation had turned its back on God. I encourage you to use this time at home to get back in the Word. Read our Bibles and spend time with our families.” www.christianpost.com/news/my-pillows-mike-lindell-mocked-for-comments-at-white-house-on-faith-amid-covid-19.html

Mike is 100 per cent right. Let me finish with a quote making the rounds on the social media of late. It is said to be by C. S. Lewis from his 1942 book The Screwtape Letters. But I do not believe these are his words. I certainly cannot find anything like it in that book. But the point the quote raises is worth running with nonetheless:

Satan: “I will cause anxiety, fear and panic. I will shut down business, schools, places of worship, and sports events. I will cause economic turmoil.”

Jesus: “I will bring together neighbors, restore the family unit, I will bring dinner back to the kitchen table. I will help people slow down their lives and appreciate what really matters. I will teach my children to rely on me and not the world. I will teach my children to trust me and not their money and material resources.”

So if you find yourself “stuck” at home and are a bit out of joint about it, please do not waste the valuable opportunity you now have to reconnect with your children, your spouse, and your loved ones. Eventually the virus will pass and the economy will come back to life, and then you can get back to what you were doing.

But for now please let this be a chance to get our priorities right, and to deal with what matters the most: our own family.

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7 Responses to Crises, Lockdowns, Family, and Priorities

  • Spot on, Bill! I couldn’t agree more….why do people have children if they aren’t going to bring them up themselves? Love of family is the most important thing….Children are God’s gift to us.

  • Hi Bill,
    With the additional “spare time” now available, I’ve been going through a lot of old papers etc. I came across a church newsletter dated 21st February 1971. The Minister’s letter contained a quote (source unknown) “One of the signs that a society is beginning to lose its vitality is that children cease to be central in the lives of the people.”

  • Thanks Ian – great quote.

  • Well Bill, Jilba said it for me.
    But let me add – our grown family and grown up Grandchildren all have had professional, but mostly stay at home, Mums, and they are doing likewise for our Greatgrandchildren. How beautiful they are.
    There are two of a dozen who have not had that opportunity and they work hard to compensate, with success, because they love their children so much and because they see the joy of the families of their siblings and aunts and want the same for their families, now and forever.
    I think the FOREVER makes a big difference but even their success and protection NOW is a great incentive. Coronavirus is a plague and a warning from God, so, thank God for his warning and his love.

  • Great article Bill. Thank you. As I read it I was reminded of Romans 8:28 and encouraged by it; ‘And we know you that all things work together for good to them that love GOD, to them who are the called according to HIS purpose.’ When Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, it looked like the worst thing possible and there was much suffering and anguish for both Joseph and his family. But GOD was ‘working all things together for good’ and Joseph was being positioned to become second only to Pharoah for saving many lives from the famine – including his own family with whom he was eventually joyously re-united. What was seemingly very bad , GOD was using and turning for good. In the same way with the situation we now find ourselves in and which is undoubtedly very bad, we can still have faith and be confident that our GOD will use it all to bring about much good -maybe even re-uniting families and restoring relationships and much, much more; ‘… exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to HIM be glory …’ Bless you Bill. Cheryl Ciccotosto

  • Parents are, not should, the primary teachers to their children. Being a ‘stay at home Mum’ is the highest care that we can give our children. As parents, we know our children better than anyone else.

  • I wanted to be an elementary school teacher once but I can’t teach them this stuff and female teachers didn’t like how much I cared about the kids and got along with them. Sad thing is so many don’t have a dad and with feminism in the schools the boys feel like they are worthless. But hey at least the girls feel liberated. While I am under no delusion that the 19th century was peachy for women I think feminists have grossly misrepresented how it was for women.

    Maybe people can fall in love again now that they aren’t going anywhere for a while.

    I am buying books and supplies as I am expecting something worse to come via judgment here in the USA possibly economic collapse OR EMP. IF economic collapse it would effect the whole world and expose the false sheep and false shepherds.

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