Thinking Christianly (January 24, 2019)

“Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it,” (Proverbs 22:6; NASB).

In 1762, the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau published his book on child rearing entitled Emile. The irony is that Rousseau had been a notorious deadbeat dad. Though he had fathered five children, he left them all to be raised by the state in a Paris orphanage. In his book on child rearing, then, Rousseau’s advice is predictably destructive and dangerous. He suggests that all children are born naturally good and that they only become corrupted over time as they are acted upon by society. Thus, the best think one can do for his or her children is to drop them off on a deserted island at a young age with a copy of Robinson Caruso to discover life for themselves.

As we read this theory today, it sounds absolutely absurd. Afterall, we live in the age of the helicopter parent. Parents today don’t dare let their kids out of their sight for five seconds without having a panic attack. Yet, if Western society has proven anything it is that we are a cult of contradictions.

On the one hand, we are a society that hovers over our kids and seeks to be involved in every minute detail of their development, lest they have an unguided thought or action. On the other hand, we are a society that has largely decided to leave catastrophic decisions up to children at younger and younger stages of their lives. In a recent article by Fox News, actress Kate Hudson described the approach she has decided to take in raising her daughter:

"‘I think you just raise your kids individually regardless — like a genderless [approach],’ she continued. ‘We still don’t know what she’s going to identify as.’"

When saying that she raises her kids “individually regardless,” she is actually drawing a contrast between her approach to raising her two older sons and this new baby girl. Her approach has changed with the gender, and now it is one in which she is clearly seeking to push an agenda. The claim of the transgender movement is that children ought to be free to choose their gender, but peer pressure and parental guidance will always have an impact on young minds.

Hudson goes on to say that her daughter currently exhibits “feminine energy.” Of course she does. She’s a girl. The biology of that fact is undeniable, except that we live in a world that is insane and increasingly anti-science in the name of creaturely autonomy.

We can expect in the months and years to come that their will be an increase in the cases of parents neglecting their duty to train up their children in the way they should go. They will do this evil, and they will call it good. As Christians, we must lament the state of the culture around us. We must weep over our society as Christ wept over us in Gethsemane. Only then will we be struck with the urgency necessary to compel us to bring the only remedy we have for this lost and dying world: the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“Did Christ over sinners weep,
And shall our cheeks be dry?
Let floods of penitential grief
Burst forth from every eye.
Behold, the Son of God in tears
The angels wondering see.
Hast thou no wonder, O my soul?
He shed those tears for thee!
He wept that we might weep,
Might weep over sin and shame.
He wept to show His live for us
And bid us love the same.
Then tender be our hearts,
Our eyes in sorrow dim.
Til every tear from every eye
Be wiped away in Him.” - Henry Lyte and Benjamin Beddome