The Children are Not Our Future: They are Real People

Anyone raised in the 80’s and 90’s remembers the phrase, “The children are our future.” They may even remember that song that sounds really powerful and affirming: “Teach [the children] well and let them lead the way; show them all the beauty they possess inside; give them a sense of pride … ”

That sounds great. Almost biblical (“train up a child” and all that). But when you actually hear all of the lyrics, you realize that “the greatest love of all” is inside of yourself. Really, check it out. I would summarize the song as saying, “Everyone lets me down, so I will just love myself. Teach the children that they can’t rely on anybody. ” Sorry Whitney, rest in peace, but your hit song is stupid and dangerous.

Of course there’s a lot to be said for teaching children to rely on themselves. That’s our duty as parents: to work ourselves out of a job. But to say that the greatest love is the love you have for yourself is … wow. That is the source of everything wrong with the world right now. If that is the greatest love, then the future is doomed worse than I thought.

If you are teaching children to love themselves more than anything, then the first phrase, “Children are our future,” could not be more sinister. If I love myself more than anything, then children are commodities to be used for a better future—for me. So I use them and abuse them for a better life for myself. Are grownups so selfish that even the laudable goal of teaching self-esteem and integrity needs to be twisted around to benefit me?

Yes. Yes, they are. I have to get this off my chest:

I took two of my kids to the doctor today for a wellness checkup. My oldest said she was feeling a little off, so I flippantly said, “Good thing we’re going to the doctor.” Right when they started her weigh-in, height, etc., she asked for a garbage can and yarfed. Huh, I guess she was telling the truth. It happens from time to time. (She’s fine, by the way. Just a stomach bug. A little chicken soup and TLC is all that’s needed.)

THEN the nurse double-checked with a doctor and said, “We can’t see her today.” I said, “What?” She said, “She’s sick; we can’t examine her.” I said, “But … this is a doctor’s office.” She said, “Yes, but she threw up.” I said, “Yes I know. At a doctor’s office. Why can’t the doctor see her if she’s sick? The doctor. At a doctor’s office.” My temper was quickly rising, and maybe she could tell. So I kid you not, she just shrugged, said, “C*vid,” then left.

I had to deliberately calm myself by the memory that the doctors and practitioners at that office have always been kind, confident, and informative. So after exiling my daughter to wait in the car, the PA came in to see my son. I said, “Help me understand what just happened.” She helpfully explained that all the wellness visits are in the mornings, and the sick kids come in the afternoon. “That makes sense,” I said, and meant it. It’s a good policy to have normally, because kids get sick all the time. So why didn’t the hero taking temperatures tell me that?

Because children are our future. My future. I can cover their faces to “protect” them from a deadly virus that is probably less harmful to them than the seasonal flu. I can shame them with every restriction I can imagine, destroy their educational wellbeing, pump them full of fear, cause potentially irreparable psychological harm, create anxiety disorders, and teach them that if you are sick—actually sick—no one will help you and you have to go wait in the car. *Shrug* Because “C*vid.” Nothing else matters anymore. Now where did you reset those goalposts today?

Children are not our future. They are people. They have their own future. My future is watching them grow up and live their own lives. Hopefully they like me enough to come visit once in a while, maybe show me a grandkid or ten, then I’ll rest in Jesus. Our job is not to control them. Our job is to teach them right from wrong, to instill them with self-esteem and integrity, to let them fall and get back up and learn. Our job is to provide for their needs and fill them with love. Real love. Not love for myself, but love for my neighbor through Jesus Christ.

Greater love, the greatest love, is that a man lay down his life for his friends. Jesus’ words are better and truer, and they are not only epitomized in the self-sacrifice of Jesus, but lived out in the call to discipleship.

If at this point you are going to argue (irrespective of actual danger) that forcing children to adapt to this new world order of antiviral paranoia is a part of teaching them to be self-sacrificial and loving, I have only this to say to you:

You do not care about children. You do not understand that they need so much more from us. You are hurting them with your boogeyman obsession. You are selfish. You are sinister. You have no love for them, only for yourself.

And one more thing: if you keep your children out of church for their “safety,” you should tie a millstone around your neck and throw yourself into the sea.

Repent. Before your children grow up to be as selfish as you, deny Christ, and burn in hell. Children deserve a better future than that.