The life of evangelical churches and their spiritual leaders has been portrayed in some recent films and series. Can they help us start conversations?
What we go through in our infancy is recorded as by fire in our heart.
To say that infancy forges characters and values that shape lives is nothing new. According to a recent study from the Hospital del Mar and the Hospital Parc Taulí (both in Barcelona, Spain), psychopaths show signs of hyper-maturity because of life experiences in their infancy. The researcher who led the study, Jesús Pujol, says: “A psychopath can be the result of emotional stress in the first stages of life provoking the hyper-maturity of brain structures involved in emotions and decision making”.
Of course, these are extreme cases, but they validate what the Bible says. Do you need a quote? I bet you don’t. What we go through in our infancy is recorded as by fire in our heart, and we just have to give a quick glance to some of our memories to realise this.
CHILDREN IN PRISON
This year, in Spain some 70 children under three years of age spent December 25th behind bars, not because they were extremely early offenders of the law but because they were accompanying their mothers who were there to carry out their sentence. A very tough situation that several associations try to avoid with endeavor and imagination. The fact is that from three years on, the children should not stay in jail with their mothers, because experts say that at a later age, the memories leave too strong a mark on them.
What is experienced in our infancy plays a crucial role in our development. One of the memories that remains ever-after is the way we have celebrated Christmas. This is without any doubt the time when children are in the center of priorities, either and sadly for commercial reasons, as Disney Channel reminds us every day, or for more noble reasons, such as the Samaritan Purse initiative or Operation Children for Christmas, which sends every year hundreds of thousands of boxes to children abroad without sufficient income last year.
SPECTATORS OF THE LIFE OF ADULTS
However, this takes place in our time when on many occasions our little ones are spectators of the drama represented by the adults. A show in front of them which they see and assimilate; and of course learn to imitate more than we would wish.
One day we see a football player visiting kids in a hospital and two days later we watch him trying to cheat in the stadium. Today our kids are in the center of our church program, but another day we think they make too much noise.
CHILDREN AND THE GOSPEL
This year, to maintain the spotlight on children and think over their role as part of the Church, the Spanish Evangelical Alliannce proposed the challenge to focus on the first years of our existence. Jesus said clearly that children and adults have the same need to come to Him. And moreover, he also told us adults, to learn lessons from our children, one of these being humility.
Within the framework, one of the major initiatives of this present year has been to gather people and organisations who are working in favor of children. A congress in November, the ‘Min19’, promises to be revolutionary, beginning with the very presence of children in it. In this matter, the families should be the first to take this question seriously: there are many tools and gifts in the churches, a lot of ministries and projects to teach our children, but the privilege to assume this highest responsibility is reserved for the parents.
In the daily walk and growth of our children there will be present Sunday schools, camps, children and youth ministries, schools, churches, and so forth. However, the family remains the fundamental pillar of a child’s development. So, as families we should forge links with those who have a calling to serve our children. We should lean on them and back them in order to support them and be supported by them, to minister to them and be ministered to by them, serve and be served. We need to join forces and seek a common vision for the next generation.