The Hands that Rock the Cradle

I have a daughter. Although I am a new parent (she is only 10 months old) I am like the rest of you, reeling from the news of another shooting, another disaster in a public school. What if it had been my child? What if it had been one of my sisters who was killed? What would I feel?

I think it is most natural in times of grief to hunt for blame. Humanity has been wired this way, I don’t know why. If there is no earthly place to put our blame, we send it up to God.

But what if it is not God that we should be blaming, or other people? What if the answer lies in our own hearts, in what we teach our children?

The term “social justice warriors” has been used to refer to people who are relentless for social change. Change is imminent, they say, and if there are enough protests and backlashes on social media, the world will change. I disagree. William Ross Wallace wrote a poem that included the lines, “For the hand that rocks the cradle

Is the hand that rules the world.”

It was true in the 1800s, it is still true today. What if our greatest power to change the world was in quiet hands, rocking our children to sleep, teaching them love, responsibility and courage?

 

The world around us, all of modern culture, sends the message that children should be given free rein to express themselves completely, that they are the sovereigns of their own upbringing.

For instance, in popular Disney movies, it is always the parent who stands in the way of the child’s dreams and aspirations. Parents are regarded as killjoys who don’t know better. They mean well, but they just don’t know or understand their children, and so they’re in the way. What a prevalent message this must be in order for it to be present in even childrens’ movies!

Yet the Bible specifically says in Proverbs 22:6

6 Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.

This speaks to action on the parents’ part. Training is deliberate, not accidental. If we let children go their own way, where will they go? Their feet run swiftly to wrong.

I am amazed that at the tender age of 10 months, my daughter already possesses a desire to do things she knows she’s not supposed to. We have a rule in our house: No chewing on cords. It seems simple, but it’s hard for her to learn. Chewing on a cord will earn you a flick on the fingers, and a firm “No.”

Yet my ten-month-old, unable to walk on her own, will look toward one of us to see if we are watching, as she heads toward the cord. She knows she is in the wrong, because she will drop it if one of us looks her way. Sometimes she even smiles, thinking she is not caught.

Watching this, it has been confirmed in my mind that people are born with the seeds of sin. They are in our DNA from the beginning. Children don’t need any teaching to cause them to do wrong, they need teaching to cause them to do right.

It is these hands, shaping the child, rocking the cradle, that cause the greatest change. In my optimistic heart, I pray that when my children leave this house they will know love and how to love, how to show compassion to others and encourage the beaten down. But I also pray they will be ready for the war that is already staged over their soul.

I want them to know that there is evil in the world, and how to fight it. I want them to know the clear lines between truth and lies, and not be bought by the gray that stretches between. I don’t want them to listen to their hearts as Disney preaches, I want them to listen to the words of God, who doesn’t change them to fit the times.

Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”

I want to raise up men and women, not children.

My children, whether they choose to own guns or not, will know how to operate one. Whether they have to fight or not, they will know how.

They will have weapons, among them the word, For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

In this world, the greatest danger is the loss of our souls. “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell,”(Matthew 10:28) and yet public prayer is discouraged in schools.

This is why the shooting happened. It happened not because he had a gun (it was the tool he chose), but because he had evil in his heart. No matter how much we claim that the NRA is to blame because it stands in the way of “common sense gun laws” no matter how much we admonish lawmakers for not passing stricter regulations, no matter how much we bash high capacity magazines for the damage they do, the problem lies only in the hearts of men, in their DNA, and it cannot be rooted out by regulation.

It turns out the problem can only be trained out of us by God, and his use of the hands that rock the cradle.

 

 

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