36 Seconds

We named the 22:6 Academy after Proverbs 22:6, which reads, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (ESV)”

Of course, the Proverbs were written mostly by Solomon, with additions from Agur and Lemuel.  They were meant as encouragement for the people of Israel, guidance in life and the practice of their faith, so there were no promises from God attached to them.  But as we all know, following these words of wisdom leads us in the right direction, and more times than not we will be successful in our endeavors.

It is not guaranteed that our children won’t stray from the path.  I have spoken with some who attended a Christian school who now claim to be atheists.  But I have also spoken to many more who, after straying when they were young, returned to the church because that stone was always in their shoe.  Eventually, that stone bugged them so much they had to do something about it.

The world was a big, scary, unpredictable place when I was in my twenties.  I cannot imagine what it will look like to our children when they reach that age.  It is much larger now, with instantaneous access to information from around the globe.  It is much more frightening because of constant news reports that put such horrendous acts seemingly at our own back doors.  And unpredictable?  Well, none of us could have said five years ago that things would look like they do right now.  What will we see and experience when 2020 rolls around?

Much of what our children deal with in their day-to-day lives is a direct result of the myriad changes our culture has experienced in the past twenty years.  The explosive growth of media access has left many in my generation baffled, but our 10-year-olds can code their own video games.  Multiculturalism has convoluted our culture’s values, and public policy has trotted along right behind it like a puppy begging for a treat.  Society has learned to over-value diversity to the point of absolute confusion.

Is there any reason why anyone over 40 is seen as a dinosaur with outdated values when values change seemingly overnight?  If it surprising that our kids’ vocabulary and likes and dislikes change at a whim?

I no longer wonder why we are seeing so many of our twenty-somethings leave the church.  Let me use a football analogy.  One of the stats you see on every game broadcast is time of possession.  Every game is played in sixty minutes of clock time, so if you see a team has had the ball, let’s say, forty minutes, then you can come to a reasonable conclusion that team won the game.  That’s two-thirds of the game, so the losing team had the ball one-third of the time.

There are 168 hours in the week.  And let’s say the average child sleeps eight hours a night and fifty-six hours a week.  That leaves 112 hours during the week of waking activity.  Take thirty-five hours away at school.  Now take another fourteen hours for the average amount of TV children watch during the week.  Factor in music, Internet, and phone activity and that’s another ten to twelve hours.  We’re at fifty-one hours, or essentially the weekend.  Chores, clubs, sports teams, the struggle to get them in bed and out of bed, all will take a large chunk of that time.

Now, we’ve come to church.  Most congregations meet for about four hours a week.  Only about 20% of families attend every service.  The primary reason is the lack of time.  So let’s say they walk through the church doors for two hours a week.  Two.

Do you see where I’m going here?  That means that our children are spending time in church 0.018% of their waking time.

Now let’s revisit our football analogy.  That percentage translates to – wait for it – thirty-six seconds.  Let me write that this way: 36 seconds.  Do you expect that team to win?

Then how do we expect to win our children’s desire for God in 36 seconds?

We must take control of much more than a couple hours a week.  We need to immerse our children in God’s Word and a Christian worldview as much as we possibly can.

You have that opportunity.  Will you take it?

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