by T.M. Schoewe
You have no doubt heard or read about the rioting by young people in Britain. Having visited there in the late 1960s on the way to our assignment in Turkey, it is hard to believe that such disorder, rampage, and even killings could be taking place where we observed order and were impressed with the general respect and kindness exhibited by the people in the streets of London and where we had our accommodations. And now after a couple more weeks of rioting and more stories of cruelty, it really shakes us up as to how those young people in Britain behave.
Max Hastings in Daily mail is quoted as saying “the depressing truth is that at the bottom of our society is a layer of young people with no skills, education, values or aspirations nobody has ever dared suggest to them they need feel any allegiance to anything, least of all to Britain or their community not only do they know nothing of Britain’s past, they care nothing for its present.” That is quite a condemnation!!
Now it seems that riots are the result of the welfare state that says government will take care of everything from your birth to your burial. Government now has a problem to fix. But the UK’s government will not find the nerve to fix the very thing that it has created. Will it? Teenagers can drop out of school and have children; the state provides housing, food and regular income; so, a father is unnecessary or just becomes obsolete. And to generations of fatherless youths without skills or ambitions (there are probably a few exceptions) fear and anger turn into acts of defiance and rioting. Unless the British government changes their role in the welfare of these riotous young people, this ‘welfare class’ will only grow and their general society will suffer even more.
Well, what does this problem in England have to do with us? We are in America! But are you aware that right now we have been experiencing riots in Philadelphia and that that city is under curfew due to “flash mobs.” Kids send out the word over their cell phone and hundreds soon target a store and gather there to steal everything they can get their hands on. Sometimes the young mobs beat people in the streets and rob them. This new activity has spread across the entire country to one extent or another and causes us to have a great concern for our own United States. Next door in Wisconsin at their state fair there were fights and attacks. Maybe we do have something to think about!
Where do these young people come from? How many are they? They come from homes full of brokenness and their number is rather shocking. The last census reports 74 million children under the age of 18, and 20 million live in single parent families with only a worn out mother or a scared grandmother. 700,000 or more have been abused. These staggering figures suggest that we might indeed like Britain have a crisis coming up!
So what is to be done? How about our government and the church? First it appears we need to ask, “what is the problem these young folks have?” They will not tell you for they do not know. But if they are honest they will tell you that they are full of fear they are scared! Who can they look to, to like or trust? So they go out in the streets where there are others who are full of fear; joining together they get into a rage and that ends in a riot. That might seem to be a cheap answer but it is telling us they have “never been loved.”
This is getting down to a problem that is as ancient as this world. About 25 years ago there was someone who had a song that rose to the top of the charts, about only one thing “the old world needs is love.” To that we need to add, PARENTAL love; which takes us back to the Gospel where several times it is reported that mothers brought their children to Jesus asking Him to bless them. See Matthew and Luke. Each time the disciples try to stop these mothers Jesus rebukes them. The background leading up to this incident is that the Lord is on a hurried trip to Jerusalem where the clash with the religionist and Jesus would be finalized. The Son of David, the King, would be crucified and thus would be opened the doors of the Kingdom of heaven for all ages and times to know “for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” This is the Kingdom of God that Jesus says “Children are “of” or “belong to.” It is the Kingdom when God reigns. The rule is His love. And it is a sacrificial love that comes from the cross.
It is this love that we need to turn to again and again. We cannot seem to hang on to it for long since we are “cracked pots.” It is going again and again to the cross to learn that He daily and richly forgives us. We are “cracked pots” that have inherited this leak from that pear on the ground in the first garden. So it is truly a great accomplishment to hang on to love and use it as a parent in dealing with our children.
Our government has sponsored many Foster homes. It is interesting to note where parent possess a love as they deal with these children there have been some very interesting success stories in many orphans lives.
How about the church? What could it do about this problem? Many churches seem to have a problem in keeping young people. Maybe part of the problem is not enough parental love. And maybe a couple of sermons now and then about parental love would help.
So this matter really gets down to parents. Being a parent is one of the choicest blessings one can have in this life. If it isn’t, it ought to be! Like the young mothers in the Gospel, we bring them to the Lord to be blessed and as such they are of the Kingdom of God where the rule is love. Sounds good
even easy but it turns out to be tough! When you endure the struggle of the “terrible twos” and later deal with rebellious behavior or suffer times when children can’t seem to hear or when they just refuse to listen, it’s extremely difficult to hold on to the love. Sometimes a child has a handicap or is crippled or has a learning disorder with which it takes special patience to deal
and the love is sometimes lost and you get no results and you lose it! You say things and even do things that just are not acceptable as parents. So we have to go back to the cross and hear “He daily and richly forgives” and the love we lost is restored. And we can return to the daily business of parenting with love. And then before we know it, we find we are once again dealing without love with our children. Why are we so often dealing without love? Why? Because we lose it
we lose it because we are “cracked pots.” It is a part of the nature we have inherited from our parents.
So the problem in Britain we started with and which we find in America will be always with us. Our mission is to “hang in there” with the sort of parental love that comes from Him who blessed the children saying such are the Kingdom of heaven.
So we do and wait for the day when He will wipe away all tears, and parents and children will see each other without fault, going about the business of going on missions in the realms of the “greater hereafter.”
P.S. This turned out to be a rather serious article so permit a bit of light heartedness. A young family in Del Rio, Texas had a beautiful young daughter whom they taught to imitate some animals. What does the cow say honey? She answered, “moo.” And the dog? “Bow-wow.” And the cat? “Meow.” What does Daddy say? “DON’T!”
To our great surprise Daddy did what? He did it! He divorced his wife. But the young girl grew up to be a fine young lady.
So in spite of us, most children grow up “better than we think.” THANK GOD!