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Spring Semester (2021-22)

Sanctified Moments of Childhood and The Lions on the Beach

Parents, I praise God everyday for your decision to educate your children at home and would argue that this decision is one of the most important decisions of your life. Though there are still good schools and wonderful school teachers in our country, the school system, along with much of American society, has abandoned God and the absolute truths found in His Word. When pastor and author Francis Schaeffer surveyed the cultural landscape of America in the sixties and early seventies, he saw a troubling shift away from the absolute truth of God’s Word. He warned that cultures which reject the truths of Scripture will inevitably decline into chaos, despair, and absurdity.

To paraphrase Schaeffer, this rejection of God’s absolute truth is the reason—and not a less basic one—why our schools are unsafe and children in many schools in our state will begin next school year by walking through a metal detector. There is a created order to this world, reveled in the Bible, and living in accord with this order is the only way to establish a society that can provide both form and freedom. As Schaffer notes, “the freedom brought forth in Christianity is titanic, yet with the forms given in Scripture, the freedoms do not lead to chaos” (Schaeffer, 204).

In choosing to educate your children in a Christian home, you gave your children something of inestimable value: a childhood. This semester we read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and Old Man and the Sea by Earnest Hemingway, and both authors conveyed how the sanctified moments of childhood are of profound importance. Mrs. March, in Alcott’s Little Women, reminds her daughters that “children should remain children as long as they can,” and at the end of Santiago’s heroic life and epic last hunt, Hemingway writes that the old man “no longer dreamed of storms, nor of women, nor of great occurrences, nor of great fish, nor fights, nor contests of strength… He only dreamed of places now and of the lions” which he had seen on the beach when he was a child (Alcott, Loc. 885 & Hemingway, Loc. 195). This sacred childhood moment that Santiago experienced brought him joy in his old age: Lions, who had fought with incredible power and strength, now at peace, resting and playing in a idillic setting, like young cats in the dusk.

To the Young Lions of 2022, as you move on into the challenges and delights of manhood and womanhood, and contemplate the many storms, great occurrences, and contest of strength ahead, don’t forget to praise God for your parents and for the sacred places and moments of your childhood. Your parent’s fidelity to God and the absolute truth of His Word bestowed on you the blessing of living, growing, and maturing in an atmosphere of clear form and great freedom. I will miss you, and I pray that your senior year in the log cabin, which is the home of the Woman’s Club of Cayce, proved to be one of the cherished sacred spaces of your childhood.

But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls (Hebrews 10:39).

Knowledge and Wisdom in Submission to God,

Chris M. Blackwell

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