The training of a missionary should begin in the nursery; school should continue it; home should nourish it. All influences should be bent one way. That training should not be perplexed by a mixture of thoughts, but expressed in a single line of conduct, clearly recognized for what it is. In other words, till the life of a child has had time to root, it should not be exposed to various winds (confused or conflicting examples and ideals, different ways of making t’s). After it has rooted, let the winds blow as they will. Then they will only cause the roots to take a firmer grip. ~Amy Carmichael
This quote from Amy was particularly intriguing to me. At first glance, it is an elaboration of Proverbs 22:6-
Train a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it.
But, as I think on it more, the phrases “mixture of thoughts” and “confused or conflicting examples and ideals” give me pause. First, though, I need to lay down the context of her voicing this opinion: dark, idolatrous India, where she is training her children. She has no choice but to isolate them as best she can from this highly destructive culture, and measures have to be taken quite to the extreme for the children to grow up without being “exposed”.
Really, though- are we living in a culture that much removed? Satan is still at work, trying his hardest to snatch our sons and daughters away from the truth. What, then, is to be my pattern for my children’s training? I can think of many things we do, watch, and allow to go on in our home that many would consider promoting “confused or conflicting examples and ideals”.
Here’s one: the boys like to play pirates, and we take books out of the library about them. Some of the books, though written for children, can be obnoxiously graphic in their descriptions of pirate life. Should I be taking a harder stand against these influences? I don’t know. There is always the threat of legalism (taking pride in what I do and don’t do) when I consider boycotting stuff like this. I don’t know if it is worth it in the end- was it the thing that could potentially lead the children off the path, or did it just lead me off the path worrying about it? How isolated can and should we be in this day and age?
TV is another big one. Some say avoid it entirely, some say there is redeeming value. What other “hot buttons” do you hear Christians doing battle over? I’d love to hear your thoughts/ opinions.