Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross
The American Academy of Pediatrics, who most would not consider a politically-driven entity, shared their findings and concerns about children not being able to return to school this fall. Reasons they advocate for a return to the classroom include risk of social isolation, abuse, untreated mental health disorders, food insecurity, less physical activity, racial and social inequalities, and developing diseases. Then, there’s the academic reasons. There’s a great risk right now that they might catch and/or transmit Covid-19, but the AAP, along with so many others, is suggesting weighing that risk against these others (Dr. Sabina Bera, 7/10/20, “Why Pediatricians Are Pushing For Kids To Back To School In The Fall,” ABC News). To do so, there would need to be changes to protect everyone involved–physical distancing, hand washing, face covering, altering how class changing is done, temperature checking, testing, and enhanced cleaning and disinfecting, etc. (healthychildren.org). But our children’s future, their development, and their needs, make the unavoidable risks necessary.
The greatest need every child (and adult) has is spiritual. Within each child is a never-dying, eternal soul. They need to learn about and know about God’s Word. There is such benefit to getting back to sitting in a Bible classroom, with their friends, and having their faith built in God and Jesus, learning about the importance of the church, and being shown how to live lives that will please God. The case could be made that this must be prioritized over anything else (Mat. 6:33). While the same virus-related precautions must be observed, consider these reasons why we should give thought to getting our kids back in Bible school as soon as we can.
- Children need teaching that is at their specific level. While Paul was making another point with this observation, children speak, think, and reason differently than adults (1 Cor. 13:11). They need more basic and simplified teaching about many biblical subjects, and the Bible school supplies this need.
- Children need to form the good habit of being in the Bible classroom. There are trying moments with our little ones under the best of circumstances. They can be more trying when children have been out of the habit of sitting in class. Teachers and parents will probably need to remember that once classes resume.
- Children need the stimulation that comes from each other’s presence and their teacher’s presence. While this happens at a different level for children, they are stimulated to love and good deeds through their assembling for classes (Heb. 10:24-25). Just watch how excited these little students often are at seeing each other.
- Children need their enthusiasm for the Bible stoked. Children’s classes are a formidable foundation for future faith. Our job in the church and in the home is to do whatever we can to increase their zeal for spiritual things. Perhaps no one outdoes a child for honestly and enthusiastically exclaiming, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD'” (Psa. 122:1).
We cannot afford to be dismissive or reckless. We must be vigilant in physical precautions. Balanced with this, though, we must understand how essential the spiritual education of our children is! The home has the primary role in this, pandemic or not. But, the church is a frontline partner. Let’s pray that we will do all we can, when we can, to get back to serving in this role! They have no greater need!