BBC Radio Leicester Thought for the Day pre-recorded

© John Denney 29 July 2004

Things have changed a lot since I was a boy.  In 1960 – OK I was more of a teenager than a boy, except teenagers had only just started to emerge as a distinct species! – there was a survey of the greatest fears of secondary school children.  This was repeated in 2000.  The results were:

1960

2000

Being in a dark room;

High places;

Strangers;

and loud noises.

Divorce;

Nuclear War;

Pollution;

and being mugged.

Isn’t that sad?  Over the years, the world has become an uncomfortable place.  The innocence and security of my childhood has more or less gone for the present generation of schoolchildren.

 

I wonder whether the decline of the traditional family, with a mother and father who stay together through thick and thin, parents who put their children’s interests above their own is part of this.  It’s not a new thing though.  In the 1840s, Charles Francis Adams, a great American diplomat, wrote this in his diary: “Went fishing with my son today - a day wasted.”  On the same day, his son Brook Adams wrote in his diary: “Went fishing with my father - the most wonderful day of my life!” 

 

Maybe what children most need today is time and attention from both their parents.  In the United Kingdom today nearly three million children, staggeringly, are being brought up with just one of their parents.  The honest fact is that it is the father who is most often missing from the lives of these children.  Lack of a good rôle model will cost those children – and the country – dear; for today’s children will be running the country in thirty years’ time.

 

There’s another thing.  Children brought up without a constant, reliable father-figure in their lives are going to find it hard to understand the constant love of our Father in heaven.  If your natural parent isn’t there to show his love for you, how hard will it be to accept our heavenly Father’s love.  Saint Paul said this:  Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that[1].  It’s been said that the trouble with children is that when they're not being a lump in your throat, they're being a pain in your neck.  But let’s cherish our children, and strive for a more loving world for them to flourish in.

 

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[1] Ephesians 5:2 (MSG)