Vol. 7, No. 02 – January 16, 2022
Many of you have been to one. The chapel time in the local Christian School. The one where a guest speaker, a featured NFL player, comes to raise the level of attention to the spiritual life by students in middle school and high school.
And because parents are involved in these students’ lives, they are invited guests to this “special” chapel time. The school is in hopes that the guest speaker’s words to their sons and daughters will do the trick of making them more attentive, spiritual, respectful, and start the path to improved grades. After all, they pay big bucks for their prince or princess to attend the Christian School.
So, the speaker comes, complete with clothing that reflects he identifies with young people. He talks about his wife and family (7 kids, all in public schools).
A glance at the bleachers (pulled out to accommodate the “crowd”) proves there are quiet kids there. They clap, laugh, and get serious at all the right times. Of course, it helps that those 23 teachers, the principals, the girl’s and boy’s deans, and the headmaster are spread out among the student body. It helps that the moderate troupe of parents chose to attend this day.
So, the chapel is over. Student noise is heard as they file out of the gym. Go to their next class. There is a surprise waiting. Twenty-three teachers have colluded to give a quick quiz on what the speaker said, and then spend the next 15 minutes of the class period discussing the chapel gathering.
The plan does not produce the results anticipated. Why?
In that Christian School were many students experiencing the difficulties of life found not only in Christian Schools but also in public schools. The parents who came were largely single parents (on this day several fathers came but remember this was a featured NFL player). Broken homes dominate our culture. It is sadly affecting all those things hoped to improve in sending their child to the local Christian School. Paying to have someone else raise their child.
Another sad thing is that we find the problem permeating the church as well. Spouses no longer wanted. Divorce. One parent caught up in illegal things or even immorality. Children seek love, giving over their morality. Our culture is a mess.
So, while the speaker gives a great talk from a biblical perspective, he misses the real need of the students and the few parents. A number of the students exiting the chapel time did not make student noise on the way out. They were quiet. The staff gathered thought they were contemplating, and that the session would have a good effect. But the quietness was for another reason. Why?
In the question session during the chapel, few asked anything. You might expect that given the students do not want to be embarrassed in their questions. However, it is more than that. The word that ended the preceding paragraph is the answer (Why?).
Of the few questions that were asked, few of those are the right questions. Students have lots of questions that they do not ask. Why? How? When? Can you help me? Why is my life like this? How can I be liked? There are other questions they want to ask, but they do not. They do not ask because, in their experience, no one is listening.
A major part of our education of our children is to listen—this is incumbent upon the parent, teacher, dean, principal, preacher, and Bible study leader. If that is not forthcoming, as the student grows into adulthood, little changes in their approach to life.
All through the Scriptures, we get a sense that God expects us to grow. The Book instructs us on how to do that. The Book also paints pictures of what neglect of its instruction does. Our children need to learn these truths. It makes a difference in their adulthood. It makes a difference for the parents raising their children. It makes a difference for the adults teaching students in the schools and in the churches.
God designed that children born have the opportunity to have relationships that help them move forward in life. That He has a plan and a purpose for each one (Jeremiah 29:11-13). God desires that none of these children will perish, but that they will respond to Him because they have asked the right questions—out loud (2 Peter 3:9).
Is this the main focus of our lives for our children (and our children’s children)? If not—Why?