Bear with my foolishness for a moment…I believe in he inerrancy / infallibility of the Bible. I believe in Jesus as the only / single / sole way of salvation. I believe that God of the Bible is NOT the God of other faiths. I believe I am to love my neighbor as myself including those of other faiths, have deep relationships with those precious image bearers and care for those friends with deep affection. I’m a complimentarian regarding the roles of men and women inside of the church. I believe the church is the body of Jesus Christ, and is the community of the kingdom of God. I believe Christians can’t be Christians apart of covenant fellowship with the body of Christ. If it’s in the Bible or an implication of the truth of the Bible, I’m there. I have always believed those things to be “conservative” doctrinally. However, I discovered that some think me “liberal” because I love people from other faiths and want to share the gospel with them in love. Some think me liberal because I work in the public square with governments they may not agree with politically.
My response to this is always, “what the heck?” How? I can’t even begin to communicate how that rubs me the wrong way for right and even sinfully prideful ways. Never pictured my fundamentalist, gun toating, hunting, W loving, southern boy a lib. I’m not, and dang it, it makes me mad when somebody says that trash. Ok, enough about that…
The point of my foolish rambling? Cursed and redeemed creatures alike are all tempted to put people into neatly crafted tribes created by a world system, and we like to label and marginalize the people who happen to be in the minority or the less honored group in the eyes of the dominant group. We all do it, and we are often unaware that we are doing it. Particulary when we were in elementary school.
I was an educator for 10 years. I’ve been in church work for 25 years. One observation I have of people / kids / students is that we are brutal to each other regarding tribes and how we put people into tribes.
I’ve seen students, in sin, get into their social groups and verbally, passive aggressively, and socially destroy other kids. As a teacher, I tried to take great delight in breaking that stuff up and trying to love that kid that others marginalized. I succeeded some, and I failed some. I have deep regrets for not trying harder with some kids. I’m even a product of bad culture myself. I’d probably be a better teacher today than back then. I’m just now learning solid wisdom. Why is that?
I’ve seen that happen to boys, and boys have to fight to gain a place of significance. That’s boys. Boys function that way. Who is(are) the alpha(s)? Everyone else, sit down and be insignificant. If that culture takes on a physical form, your son better be able and ready to physically fight. My sons were and are and have. I know some disagree with that strategy, but alas.
I’ve watched girls slaughter each other with looks that kill, and passive aggressive jabs that cause that precious soul to retreat to places that make my eyes sweat even as I type these words. It’s brutal.
Now, imagine that situation run amok where a child already has significant trauma.
Imagine if the school does not care to know that you can’t teach traumatized kids the same way you teach non-traumatized kids because they don’t learn the same way?
Imagine if that traumatized kid, without the aid of the transforming work of the Holy Spirit, begins to go down roads of anger, bitterness, revenge….
You see what can happen?
I saw on the Twitter this morning a Tweet regarding the young man who murdered 17 of his classmates in Florida last week stating that “he should be hung up by his extra-large ears and stoned to death by the victims families.”
Do you see it? It’s the continuation, under the mask of justice, of what that kid put up with for years at the hands of being a social outcast, made fun of, marginalized…and on top of that, his mother died a year ago.
I’m not saying he should not be properly punished for his crime. What I am saying is that the Tweet by the fool unmasks the real problem if you will have eyes to see.
Is he justified in what he did. Never. Not in a million years.
Was what he did fueled by the way he was treated? It’s debatable. Likely so.
Is it about guns? Some, but not really. If we ignore the hurt and trauma caused by letting kids get marginalized and abused verbally, it does not matter what implement the kid uses to exact revenge on others and on themselves because they learned to hate themselves and blame themselves for what happened. They may choose sexual assault, be abusive to their children and spouse, drugs…you name it, and it can become a weapon for physical or emotional destruction.
Here’s my point: We better start caring about how:
1. We teach out kids to treat other people. Do you practice loving the other? Do you model that for your kids? Are you more concerned they be with the “in” group than they love their neighbor as themselves? If so, that is more Pagan than Christian. Don’t call you social game “Christian” if that’s you.
The days of letting technology raise our kids because we are whatever is producing some negative results. Kids act like their entertainment. That’s a fact. There are studies out on this stuff. Just look for them.
Your kids need to see you love your neighbor (see Luke 10:25-37 for the definition of neighbor, and don’t try to justify yourself like the dude who asked Jesus the question) as themselves, not see you seek to be socially elite. That social elitist mentality is like an invisible gas that makes you sick and you don’t know it until it’s too late.
I’ve seen it as a teacher, and I’ve experienced it while raising my boys. Particularly when one of my sons has black skin. Loved answering the question, “hey daddy, what’s a ni****?
2. We need to care that our schools are more concerned with setting a culture of care than setting a culture of academia. Don’t misunderstand, pursuing excellence in knowledge is important, but not at the expense of a culture of loving and caring and including. Why? We are not mere biological entities that exist to make an “A”. We are souls who can know. We often focus on the “knowing” part and ignore the soul part. And, NO, the soul part is deeper than a bible study. The soul is the whole immaterial portion of an image bearer of God. It’s complex, requires study and effort to know and engage.
3. We need to crush marginalization of people. If you can’t have a civil conversation with someone you disagree with, or you begin to marginalize or ignore others who don’t do what you do, then you have the problem. Civil and healthy relationships happen when we recognize our disagreements, agree that we won’t agree, debate them lovingly, find where we do agree and have relationships in the agreement. Hint: that’s how you evangelize the world, dear Christian. Hint: that’s the key to unity. The powerful gospel will do the converting. You need to do the relating well.
4. We need educational professionals who understand their vocation, are highly trained and highly compensated and can manage a classroom culture. Culture eats strategy for breakfast, and if our “leaders” don’t set a hard edge on culture or even understand it’s importance, we’ve lost the battle for the souls of our kids.
If this happened, we could see a lessening of school violence because we will have less wounded kids.
It’s not THE answer, but it’s an answer and a dad-gum good place to start.
Here is an article you should read and digest. Maybe it will help you understand that it all starts with the soul of a kid early, long before they need a background check, and that this area needs some care and attention.
I’m sure there’s plenty of critique to be done here, but don’t critique until you’ve critiqued yourself and your culture.