Set the Children Free

The other day I saw a video of a circus lion which had never before touched the Earth beneath it’s paws. When released from the cage it eagerly yet tenderly made it’s way to the dirt and grass, where it stretched out to scratch and massage the earth between it’s giddy claws. Seeing one of God’s creatures, who after countless years of confinement, finally getting a taste of “the real stuff,” is enough to tickle the soul. Watch the video below to see what I mean.

It brought to mind another video I had seen before, only this time of cows which after being penned up for the winter, where being released out onto the pasture. Their utter satisfaction (no pun intended), likewise, brings joy to the heart. See below:

(start video at 50 seconds)

What about the Children?

The crazy thing is that in today’s modern society, we not only put animals in long term confinement, we also put children in similar conditions. Most of us have spent at least 12 years, (and most likely our most energetic years) within school walls. Everything from the square-shaped classroom with its symmetrically arranged chairs and desks, to the black & white boards at the front of the room, to the book shelves along the wall, to the carefully timed bell system, to the “highly important” information and charts displayed on colorful wall posters; it all screams “Fit in!” “This is what matters most” and “Don’t stray outside the lines.”

Folks, I think we’re doing things all wrong with this institutional school thing. Children, just like the cows and and lions, were created by God with unique features and needs that just can’t be denied. When they’re young they’re energetic. They are creative. They have a desire to learn and try new things. They want to explore the real world, to touch dirty things, and even put those things in their mouths and taste it. What unbridled curiosity!

And not only did God make us curious, he created us to be unique. Boys are different than girls, and no two children, regardless of gender, are exactly alike.  Boys and girls were created equally in God’s image, yet they possess different physical, emotional, and social attributes and callings.

Boys Will be Boys

God made boys with an innate desire to see how things break, and how to put things back together. They love to see how fast, hard, heavy, sharp, gross, and big things are. And they’re ok with working on things with other people, shoulder to shoulder, regardless if there’s any talking going on or not.

As a young boy I remember the joys of running freely down through the forested hill of my Dad’s property, dodging trees, and jumping over stumps and bushes along the way. Or racing sleds down our snow-covered country road, while chained-up cars slowly made their way up the hill in the lane beside us.

We built bike ramps in the summer, and jumped over willing brothers and neighbor kids; we built tree forts, and fashioned weapons from wood, stone, and bags filled with dog manure. We used BB-guns to hunt for critters that stole from my Dad’s tree seed bed. We made homemade B-O-M-B’s and rockets from the worthless, “safe” fireworks that they sell in the state of Oregon. The creative juices were always flowing, and our guardian angels worked overtime. Life was fun…

Girls Will be Girls

Girls on the other hand are born with a bent on caring for and nurturing others. They cry when we cry. They naturally absorb and take on the emotions of others. They love to talk and play with others face-to-face, and to “get along.” They are artistic, passionate, gentle, thoughtful, and giving.

My daughter Joanna is 2 1/2 years old at the moment, and she just loves to wrap up her doll or stuffed animals in blankets, feed them, put them down to bed at night, and occasionally spank them if they get out of hand. This brings joy to our hearts. At such a young age she’s already in training to be a mother some day.

My older daughters Adeline and Bethany love to help Mommy cook in the kitchen. It gives them a great sense of achievement to create and make things for others to enjoy. They love to draw pictures of princesses and families, and all things girly. I don’t remember ever sitting down with them and saying, “Ok, girls, today I’m gonna teach you how to draw a beautiful crowned princesses, a heart-patterned dress, flowing hair, long eyelashes, and flowers falling from the sky.” That conversation never happened. They just do it instinctively.

What Are We Thinking?

The modern school system is a massive departure from God’s created order. Parents have relinquished their Biblical duties to train up their children (see Deut. 6:5-7, Prov. 22:6, Eph. 6:4) and have fed them through a system which confines their bodies and minds into little rigid spaces with no room for exploring or training for real life. Many children would begin to enjoy learning once again, if only they were brought home to study under the loving eye and care of their parents. If only….

Not only this, all gender distinctions are being done away with in the schools.  The system fervently attacks any concept of gender inequality.  Boys are not taught to be men, and girls are not trained to become women. It’s simply not going to happen in the modern-day, factory-like school system. It’s as if we’re trying to crank out widgets on a conveyer belt, and everything needs to be identical- no variations accepted. Equality at all costs.

Friends, if we continue down this road of life-draining education, divorced from the real-world, in confined rooms with no room for exploration, while learning random chunks of facts that have no regard to our gender-specific callings or the existence of our Creator, then we will end up training future generations that more resemble factory-farmed and caged animals, than they do their Creator. I say, let’s set the children free. Bring ’em home! It’s the natural thing to do.

What do you think? Please let me know in the comments section below.

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