School buses are on the road once again as I “Look Out My Window”. Here it is the first full week of September. Summer is gone and fall will soon arrive and of course with the arrival of September, comes the arrival of the big yellow school buses on the road once again. As a child I remember my parents always saying things like, “Times have changed since I was a kid in school”. Of course then as I had kids of my own, my wife and I soon fell into that same saying. Now that our kids are grown up and I find myself further away from my school days, I can honestly say, times have changed since I was in school.
Back in my day we didn’t have to worry about social media shaming and constant contact from bullies 24 hours a day. Back in my day, bullies were on the school yard and that was it. These days kids are faced with bullies at every corner. Of course social media has also led to a rise of a constant barrage of “drama”. Feelings hurt, name calling and message threads of “can you believe what so-and-so said” abound.
It also seems kids are forced to grow up very early these days. I remember when our youngest – who’s now 24 years old – was in kindergarten. We were called in for a parent-teacher interview where the teacher seemed very concerned. After chatting about overall involvement in the class the teacher suddenly blurted out, “I’m very concerned about your son as he doesn’t know what he wants to do when he grows up and there are days it seems like he doesn’t want to be here!” I must admit it was all I could do to hold back my laughter as I responded to her concern saying, “He’s five! I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up and there are some days I don’t feel like showing up for work either”. It seems we’ve gone to another extreme. In the early to mid-1990’s the problem was extending student years. There seemed to be a push to keep people in school which in turn extended the youth and early adult years. However, now it seems society wants kids to grow into adults long before they even reach their teen years.
A couple weeks ago I wrote about having a child-like faith. Jesus was clear in Matthew 18 that we need to put off our grown-up thoughts and too much logic and come to Him with a child-like faith. I find it very interesting that by the next chapter of Matthew, the disciples had already forgotten what Jesus said about children as the opening verses of Matthew 19 describes a situation where the disciples are trying to keep children away from Jesus. Once again we discover crowds gathering around Jesus. Of course as children will do, a number of kids were obviously trying to get close to the centre of attention – in this case Jesus. The disciples tried to hold them off and I can just hear them saying something like, “Don’t you understand who this is? He’s an adult and remember, kids are to be seen and not heard”. As they quietly tried to re-direct the kids from the Messiah, Jesus saw what was going on and would have no part of it. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me. Do not hinder them for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14).
I often tell people God is always concerned about one generation – the next one. That means we too should be concerned about the next generation, which are of course the children.
Looking Out My Window is a regular column in the Northumberland Today newspaper located in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada.