Stopping the Momentum of Hand Grenades and Pre-schoolers
When I was a little boy I watched a movie about the Vietnam War called The Boys from Company C. One scene in this movie portrayed a young Marine throwing himself on a grenade to save the lives of those around him. As I watched that scene I was amazed at the man’s level of sacrifice. Though I was amazed at his selflessness, I was more amazed that this man could stop the explosion of a hand grenade (How sentimental could I be? I was only nine years old). It was beyond my young mind to comprehend how a man's body could block the destructive power of a grenade.
In high school I learned the answer to the question. The marine who threw himself on the grenade did not stop it from exploding, but he did cut-off the momentum of its explosive power and redirected it into the ground. If you want to stop a grenade from being destructive, block its momentum before it begins. When the explosion of a grenade has already begun, it is impossible to stop the momentum of the blast from destroying everything around it. In other words, stop the blast before it gets started.
Modern American society is full of children, teenagers and adults whose moral and behavioral blasts were never cut-off in the beginning. Parents of teenagers sometimes come to our student pastor or to me and say, "HELP!!" Adults often complain of the moral decline of our youth. The media highlights the "out-of-control" actions of teens and young adults. Has it occurred to these areas of society that we must cut off the explosion before its momentum begins?
Scripture says it like this, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." The wording of the original Hebrew text literally says to "start" a child in the way he should go. This verse provides the idea of starting a child very young and directing him or her along all of his life. In other words, cut off the momentum of that explosion and redirect it when they are young, and they will not destroy society when they get older.
How do we redirect the moral explosion we see today? Scripture also has that answer in Deuteronomy 6:6-9. "These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." We are to immerse our children in God's direction while they are young, if we want to cut-off the moral explosion of their older years. Parents are called to take God's word and learn it, live it, model it and teach it to their children.
Because of the corruption of society, even good families and good kids sometimes succumb to the pressure of moral corruption. However, it makes sense for parents to redirect the moral momentum of a child early. While there may still be those cases where kids fall to the corruption of society, the moral destruction we are seeing today will be drastically reduced.