Who is the Child?
(by Graham McDonald)
Throughout the history of mankind, the natural progression of life has been birth, ultimately followed by death at some point in time. During these trying times it might be worth looking at the importance of parenting.
When we observe the wonder of birth, we are immediately struck by the complete and utter helplessness of a newly born child. The life and the future of the child are completely in the hands of adults. Children are the most vulnerable of all human beings and are totally dependent on the hopefully, caring and loving adults around them for their physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Sadly, this is not always the case.
Research* now shows that how a child is nurtured (or not nurtured) in early childhood, will have a significant impact on how that child will behave and survive in society as he or she comes of age. This includes all aspects of a child’s life.
(* Patrick Parkinson, University of Queensland, “For Kid’s Sake: Repairing the Social Environment for Australian Children and Young People”, 2011, Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 11/95 – papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1967243 )
Justin L. Barret’s book, ‘Born Believers’ reveals some extraordinary facts about the ability and the capacity for very young children to believe and have faith. His work as a noted developmental psychologist and anthropologist at Oxford University, about the value of religious faith, has found that we are all predisposed to believe in God from birth**. This would be consistent with the Scripture in Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He has also set eternity in the hearts of men….”
(** Martin Beckford, Religious Affairs Correspondent, “Children are born believers in God”, 2008, The Telegraph (UK) – telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/3512686/Children-are-born-believers-in-God-academic-claims.html – note that this website requires you to register to read articles.)
Theos, an English academic think tank, notes that evidence from nearly 140 academic studies conducted over the last three decades examining the relationship between religion and well-being in a wide range of countries and contexts, suggests that overall, holding a religious worldview contributes positively to a person’s wellbeing†. This position is also supported by research from the World Health Organisation.‡
(† Nick Spencer, Gillian Madden, Clare Purtill and Joseph Ewing, “Religion and Well–being: Assessing the Evidence”, 2016, Theos – theosthinktank.co.uk/research/2016/06/26/religion-and-well-being-assessing-the-evidence
‡ WHO/FCH/CAH/01.20 (Revised), “Broadening the horizon – Balancing protection and risk for adolescents”, 2002, World Health Organization – apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/67242/WHO_FCH_CAH_01.20.pdf )
Research conducted by Rosemary Aird in 2007§ as part of her studies at the University of Queensland’s School of Population Health is worth considering. Aird conducted a survey of the effects of spiritual thoughts and behaviours with more than 3,000 21-year-olds looking at two different belief systems; belief in God as associated with traditional religions and new spiritualties with no recognition of God.
(§ “Do-it-yourself ‘spirituality’ linked to poor mental health” by Rosemary Aird, 2008, WND – wnd.com/2008/01/45626 )
Aird’s research demonstrated that the newer non-traditional beliefs were linked to higher rates of “anxiety, depression, disturbed and suspicious ways of thinking and anti-social behaviour” and “traditional religion tends to promote the idea of social responsibility and thinking of others’ interests, whereas the New Age movement pushes the idea that we can transform the world by changing ourselves.”
What God says about children:
- The Child is made in His image
“Let US make man in our image.” (Genesis 1:26)
- The Child is wonderfully and fearfully made
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful; I know that well.” (Psalm 138:14)
- The Child has eternity in his or her heart
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from the beginning to the end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
- The Child is a reward from God
“Sons are a heritage from the Lord; children are a reward from Him.” (Psalm 127:3)
- The Child is to be instructed by his or her parents about God
“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Teach them diligently to your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
- The Child is to be instructed to tell his or her children about God
“so, the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born and they in turn would tell their children.” (Psalm 78:6)
The Scriptures recorded in Deuteronomy 6:6-7 are part of a prayer, that is still recited twice a day by devout Jews. These ‘commandments’ were given through Moses for those going into the Promised Land that they may ‘enjoy a long life’ in a land ‘flowing with milk and honey’. Surely that would be a great goal to aim for!
However, after about 120-150 years of living in the Promised Land, we read in Judges 2:1 that the angel of the Lord visits the Jews and reminds them of what the Lord has done and reminds them of his instructions. Then the angel says “Yet you have disobeyed (God) me. Why have you done this?”
The results of not following the Lord’s instructions are reported in Judges 2:10. Writer’s paraphrase: “When Joshua’s generation passed on another generation grew up and did not know the Lord or what he had done for Israel”. And indeed, for all humanity.
The commandments of the Lord were ignored. Is history repeating itself in Australia today?
What Jesus says about children:
- The Child is precious in His eyes
“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.” (Matthew 18:5)
- The Kingdom of God belongs to little children
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Mark 10:14)
- The Child is the example of how to enter the Kingdom of God
“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)
- The Child should not be ignored or under-estimated for their value
“See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 18:10)
- It is God’s will that none of the little ones should be lost
“In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.” (Matthew 18:14)
- Death is preferable to causing a little child to sin against Jesus
“But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6)
The incident in Mark 10: 13-16 demonstrates Jesus’ great concern for the children. As people were bringing the children to Jesus the disciples, those closest to him, were admonishing the people for bringing the children. Jesus was indignant and rebuked the disciples. Then Jesus himself took the little children in his arms and blessed them.
Each of the statements recorded above about children are Jesus’ actual words, which demonstrate his concern and great value placed on the children.
Do we value the children as Jesus values the children?
Would we be confident to say that in our family and church, children are highly regarded and nurtured in the ways of the Lord?
Often acknowledging the true value of a child involves a humbling of ourselves before the child and before God. Maybe our pride will not let us do that? How difficult is it to admit to your son or daughter that you got it wrong and to seek their forgiveness? And be willing to say a heartfelt and sincere, ‘sorry’?
Is there a generation growing up in Australia who do not know the Lord or what he has done in the development of this great country?
You can be better equipped to help your children, please feel free to check out the websites listed below.
Graham McDonald, Founder the DIDUNO Network.
(Ref.: NIV Bible – Earlier version)
Praying for the Sphere of Education
(prepared by Lilian Schmid)
This sphere includes teachers, administrators, coaches, staff, Special Religious Education (SRE) teachers, policy and learning outcomes writers, principals, university professors, lecturers,
departments of Education, Federal and State
Ministerial Portfolios of the Education system.
Pray as God leads you.
‘School’ in this context refers to all schools of education from pre-schools to universities. Consider also day-care, out-of-school-care, and private tutoring which are used to care and educate students outside of school teaching hours.
‘Students’ here includes children, teenagers, and young people who are not supported separately from their parents.
‘Parents’ includes natural, adopted and foster parents, and any ‘guardians’ of students.
‘Educators’ are all those working to achieve the education of students they are responsible for, both directly (e.g. teachers, principals, lecturers, tutors) and indirectly (e.g. administrators, school boards, curriculum writers, public servants in government departments of education).
Challenges in Education in Australia
Outstanding article on Gender Dysphoria and Surgical Abuse
What astonishes author John Whitehall is the lack of evidence to support massive medical intervention aimed at “changing” a child’s sex when such procedures are simply not necessary. The enthusiasm of ethics committees in hospitals, health regions and universities for such procedures is an ongoing mystery.
Watch Video of Cella White speak about her personal ordeal with the ‘Safe Schools’ program
After a day at school her son comes home and says, “Mum I forgot to tell you, the other day school told me that I could wear a dress next year.” This is happening in Australia today! All parents must watch this heart wrenching account a of a mother’s decision to withdraw her children from school in order to protect them from the so called ‘Safe Schools’ program.
Watch Steve, a heroic father, talk about the ‘Safe Schools’ program in his daughter’s school
“It was all about gender identity, promoting LGBTI issues, you know, people say teaching about penis tucking and breast binding, I saw the links, I saw the material there, people talk about teaching kids to hide their internet history, I saw that it was it was all there…” . Every parent must watch this video.
Your Teaching Our Children WHAT?
Our Kids have rights! Let’s Protect them
Year 8 kids to study sex ads under ‘domestic violence’ curriculum
Children sexualised in school diversity programs
The War on Children: The Comprehensive Sexuality Education Agenda
Six ways Australia’s education system is failing our kids
Parents Rights in NSW
The Parental Rights Bill, introduced by One Nation into the NSW Parliament September 2020, would amend the Education Act 1990 to clarify that parents — not schools — are primarily responsible for children’s understanding of gender and sexuality. The Bill aims to “ensure that curriculum, syllabuses, and courses of instruction at all levels of schooling do not include the teaching of gender fluidity and recognise parental primacy in relation to core values.” Under the Bill, parents would also be allowed to withdraw students if they “object to the particular teaching on these matters of parental primacy”. The Bill is still under consideration in the Legislative Council.
“The anti-science notion of Gender as ‘socially constructed’ is part of the post-modernist cancer in our schools, telling kids that nothing they know about themselves or the world is true/valid. This undermines student trust in knowledge and school teaching – a complete disaster.” (Mark Latham)
- Schools are increasingly becoming places of indoctrination rather than education.
- The policy platforms of the Labor Party and the Greens Party include a number of promises to promote radical gender ideology in schools. Make no mistake – our kids are at risk if we don’t stand up to these extremists.
- Religious classes in schools must adapt to fit a changing Australia (The Conversation E-Paper)
- The NSW Teachers Federation will campaign to remove scripture from NSW public schools after criticising ‘antiquated’ policy that leaves thousands of students unable to do formal school activities if they opt out of scripture classes.
Special Religious Education (SRE) is mandatory for 40 minutes per week, and students who opt out are not allowed to do any meaningful activity during that period. ‘Ethics’ is not offered in high schools as an alternative, as it is in primary schools when trained volunteers are available. (Joanne McCarthy, The Sydney Morning Herald)
- Start praying for your school community.
- Carry out a prayer walk around the school(s).
- Pray that SRE/Bible programs will continue (and increase) across all public and private schools.
- Pray for Christian chaplains, nurses and counsellors in schools; pray for them to be appointed without barriers to witnessing Christ to students and pray for them to have God’s wisdom to speak and do only what He guides them with.
- Pray for Christian fellowship groups in schools; pray for their leadership to be protected from attacks and temptations, and blessed with amazing wisdom in God’s word.
- Connect with SRE/Bible teachers and let them know you are praying for them.
- Become involved as much as possible in the life of schools, be a blessing at schools by simply encouraging the educators and thanking them for doing good things (speak in faith when needed); [ray for them and when appropriate let them know you are praying for them in God’s love.
- Ask the Lord to connect you with other praying Christians with a heart for the sphere of Education, and join with them to pray together in unity.
- Where you see signs of the enemy of God operating in people and programmes, pray together in agreement with other Christians for a prayer strategy to see the enemy cast out and people released.
- Pray that God will block all ungodly activities, theories, ideologies that are trying to infiltrate into all curriculums at preschools, primary schools, high schools, universities and colleges.
- Pray that God will raise up Godly educators and influencers in the sphere of Education to bring Godly activities and make Godly decisions.
- Pray that Godly educators in key positions the sphere of Education will remain faithful to teaching based on the knowledge of the truth that they learn from Scripture and their relationship with Christ.
- Pray that all teachers will be able and willing to instruct and encourage their students in ways leading to God’s truth and righteousness.
- Pray that parents, and not schools, will have primary legal and moral responsibility for their children’s education in gender and sexuality, and other moral and religious topics.
- Pray for Godly counselling in all schools for students who are confused about their sexuality/gender; pray also for Godly wisdom when counsellors have to speak with parents.
- Pray that the Holy Spirit moves across all the Education systems in government and private sectors.
“If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.”
We can boldly declare the desired outcome…
“Thy kingdom come thy will be done [in our schools]
as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)