After years of being introduced to the current trends in modern fiction through books that were being given or lent to my children I have come to the conclusion that our children are being fed a reality which is not necessarily real and I decided that in order to be a part of the solution I needed to act on my convictions. I believe that good fiction can be both exciting and realistic but still enlighten and transform a soul from humanistic survival to supernatural striving for our greatest good - a relationship with the God who made us.
Thus I began writing formally several years ago. My first book was a reflection on The Lord of the Rings for I would have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to see the influence this enormous work of literature was having on the hearts and minds of youth all around me. When delving into the history of The Lord of the Rings I discovered that Tolkien was a man of firm and deep convictions and that he had in fact helped to convert C. S. Lewis to Christianity. By a fortuitous opportunity my family and I was actually able to see many of his original writings and drawings in a collection at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. I was also able to pick up a biography of his life and learn many interesting facts about him and his life. Thus my first published work - The Road Goes Ever On A Christian Journey Through The Lord of the Rings is a reflection on the monumental literature which he bestowed on the world and the convictions and insights which informed his beliefs. I also take an intense look at the virtues which make the heroic characters like Sam, Aragorn and Frodo so attractive and the vices which lead to the down fall of the villainous characters such as Sauruman, Gollum, and Wormtongue. I then hold up these virtues and vices to our own modern world to view them through the perspective of our personal lives.
What we read, what we put into our minds, and what we allow our children to feed upon - literally speaking - can either nourish us or poison us. I will write another time about schools and what they can and sometimes do offer our children and how we can help direct our children to their greatest good - a life of valiant hope and enduring faith in God.
Unfortunately not all fiction takes our children to God. Some very palpably draw our children from Him. Our schools have an obligation to introduce our children to the highest quality literature but under the guise of "realism" sometimes some very dark and hideous material is presented to them. I had a rather dramatic episode clearly demonstrate this reality to me this school year. I had my son enrolled in an on-line creative writing class and after a few weeks my son came to me with a disturbing reading selection. It involved a scene with an adult woman in bed with a 16 year old boy, her emotional manipulation of the boy to kill her husband, and a vivid description of the murderous deed. When I protested to the teacher about this selection she said it was a mistake and she purged it from the system. Three weeks later another selection appeared worse than the first in which a young girl was being sexually molested by boys, her repeated rape by her father and then her eventual, vividly described suicide. I again protested, this time taking my son out of the class and I was assured that it was another mistake. The school has sincerely apologized and taken steps to assure me that these kinds of selections won't slip in again though the teacher didn't say anything other than "I respect your choice." My concern here is two fold. One - this class had been going on for some time and the assigned readings had been given, and undoubtedly read, by many students before my son brought it to my attention. Why did no other student feel duty bound to protest? And if they did why didn't any other parent take the simple steps of having this material purged? My other concern is that these selections were taken from a school text book. What in the world are our texts books putting out?
I had another mother come to me recently and tell me she had to pull her daughter out of her freshman literature class because two of the books were clearly inappropriate - one being unashamedly pornographic. She had me look at the book and after perusing it for only a few seconds I came upon a scene in which a man was taking a woman's under clothes off and basically describing what he planned to do with her in vile language. Is this what we are paying for? Is this what we entrust our children to?
I have been a teacher for a lot of years and I have worked in both public and private schools and I have known heroic teachers who work very hard to ensure that our children receive the best of educations but I have seen examples of the opposite too. There is something wrong when students are given such horrendous material and only a few voices are raised in protest.
Are we too busy to see what is being given to our children or are we perhaps fed the lie that "Well, this is the REAL world and we best let our children know the TRUTH." I had to ponder this possibility and I came to the simple conclusion that yes - pornography, rape, seduction, and corruption of all kinds, is the REAL world - IN HELL. But that is not where I plan on sending my kids. That is not what I want them educated in - Elementary Evil 101.
We are a busy people, parents especially so, but we have a higher calling than even our earthly supervisors can supersede and that is to be the authorities and mentors of our children. We must know what they are reading and being exposed to and we bear responsibility when their souls are turned from God because we did not do what we ought to by protecting their purity and guiding their values. Schools can be wonderful places for education in so many ways but parents are the primary educators of their children and as such we must be on guard.
Next time I will discuss other fiction sources in our society and my hope for a better future.
Well, I will keep an eye out for whatever Ann writes next.
I was more fortunate than she in that my kids went to a public school with Christians in place as Supervisor and Principal. When my oldest child (daughter) was inducted into the Junior Honor Society (she was in that during Jr. high and then the normal National Honor Society in Sr. high) in seventh grade, the Principal opened the ceremony with a prayer and ended in the name of Jesus Christ and I knew I had found a school where I could send my kids. I'd tried home schooling and Christian schools, but the local Christian school had a big bunch of rebellious kids who hated it and were very bad influences. Better that my kids go where the Christianity was going to have to come from within them but the school leadership would not try to fight them but would rather encourage faith. Our school had a day every year where they would gather at the flag pole and pray. There were Bible studies organized by students. So I knew I could send all of my kids there and they would encounter challenges to their faith but they would not be punished for it there. That was good enough. In an environment where some of the students and teachers challenged their faith, they learned to stand up for themselves and were allowed to speak their minds. If a liberal atheist teacher was dumb enough to challenge one of my more outspoken kids, they would discover that the teenager they challenged could defend his or her position...because they learned to think critically!
A personal note to commenters
Wilkie Collins wrote a brilliant book entitled "The Moonstone." It is sometimes credited as being the first modern mystery novel. One character (Betteridge) has apparently memorized "Robinson Crusoe" and continually quotes from it as the book rolls wonderfully along. I have studied the Bible like Betteridge did the Daniel Defoe novel. So if you bring in weak anti-Bible arguments, prepare to be shown to be horribly wrong. No more stupid "The Bible teaches slavery" arguments, please! If you are going to talk about the Bible, know it first, okay? I am not the world's greatest Bible brain but I am one and whoever is writing the default atheist "How to challenge Christians" handbook needs to be upgraded or ignored, one.
It is appropriate to end this way, since I found my one and only, my best friend and soulmate for life:
God gave me my wonderful wife and also my oldest son. God has blessed me with a big and happy family.