By REV. DR. BRIAN GIGEE
“TRAIN UP A CHILD—a never ending task!”
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” -Proverbs 22:6
Here’s the two-edged sword that gets pulled out of the closet every so often. Its blade cuts through the thick of life and helps us see what lies deep inside… you know the good stuff… the way life’s supposed to be and then we put it back on the shelf and over time the good stuff gets covered up with the things that separate us… the actions which keep people divided so the finger pointing and the name calling can captivate the TV and newspaper headlines distracting us from treating each other the way we’d prefer others treat any one of us. That double-bladed sword stays hidden longer than we’d like, and it seems lately it’s time to put it to good use again!
What am I talking about? A real sword? Or a power far greater? Let’s go with the latter.
In the Letter to the Hebrews in the New Testament, we read… “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12). Whoah! Words have power! The double-edged sword can both destroy and assist. It can maim and it can trim wounded flesh to allow better healing. Yeah, ok… the Bible does do that….
Read again carefully these ancient words. Most scholars date the Book of Proverbs to about 1000 B.C. to the days of King Solomon. They also agree the proverbs themselves go back even farther to a time of oral tradition when people began to pay attention to the words of the wise in order that the dumb things humans can do would be suppressed… or so it seems. Either way, whatever a child is taught early on… over time that child will live more deeply into… for better or worse… or even worse… a child is taught nothing at all settling for adopted ways of those nearby to their own benefit or demise. Don’t believe me? Ok… like you never heard one of your parents or grandparents say to you… “Well if someone told you to jump off a bridge, you’d jump right?” See. Children get raised up… one way or another.
Then those children grow up and have children of their own! And then they do as well. And the more things change the more things stay the same. Riots in the streets of Cairo in 4000 B.C. to riots in Minneapolis in A.D. 2020 and I’m old enough to remember this is the 50th anniversary year of four dead in O-hi-O when the National Guard turned on the protesting students at Kent State University. Generations come and go; but the teaching must be done from one generation to the next… Or… this is what we get.
I shared with a friend last week… this is not a new thing… but it’s our thing… this is our time… this is our watch… and someone has to say, “stop it.” At least for now. The double-edged sword needs to be hauled out again to cut through the thick so that we can see who we are supposed to be… and it’s really a simple lesson… to see my own face on the face of everyone I meet and ask myself before I act… “would I do this to me?” And if the answer is, “NO” then under no circumstance should I do it to someone else.
What are we teaching our children? Did we forget something? The school term is over, but in the school of life, teaching and learning have no summer break. It’s a never-ending task!
Rev. Dr. Brian K. Gigee is a long-time resident of Pearland, having served four congregations over four decades in Texas and in New Orleans. Follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/Friend2theRabbi Your comments and/or questions can be sent to [email protected].