I Saw a Child
by Leo Rogol (1969)
What I saw was not what one reads about children in story books and poems: It was not the beauty of childish innocence; the simple trusting faith in something big, wide and wonderful; a child roaming the fields with his beloved dog, searching out the marvelous mysteries and wonders of nature. Though I thank my Lord that I can still see these, I am saddened by what I see more and more each day. But these children I am telling about, I actually saw myself.
I saw a girl, about the age of eleven, leaving home dressed as if she were training in the art of prostitution. Cheap, vulgar and sexy standards were permitted by her mother and father. Her clothing was a shame to the very name of "Modesty." Yes, I see hundreds of such going to school, to parties and elsewhere, destroying the God-given beauty of childhood by the cheap and vulgar attire and make-up. I saw an older girl who was the victim of her parents' permissive up-bringing, who was forever ruined by the vicious act of rape, a shattered mind and body through drug addiction, and many other abuses.
I saw a boy, about fourteen, chased by the police because he stole several cartons of cigarettes from a neighborhood grocery. I saw him after he was caught and checked over -- defiant, foul-mouthed, with only ugly contempt for the law officers who apprehended him. I also saw a boy, about nine, with a switch-blade knife and boasting of his skill in its use.
I saw so many young boys and girls living in a lewd manner in a "hippie colony" like a pack of wild animals, stripped of pride and decency, honor and integrity.
I saw a child, of those professing to be Christians roaming the streets while their parents were on the way to services of the church. If these children are not taught to obey God and parental authority which demands they should be brought up "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4), then there is not much authority for which they are taught to show respect. If these children are not taught to show respect for God's authority, which is the highest of all, how can they be expected to respect civil authority (Romans 13:1), or even parental authority (Ephesians 6:1)?
This is not the end of all the tragedy that I saw among these children. This but the beginning. The suffering and remorse -- the lives ruined cannot all be told on this page.
But then I saw a mother, who feared for the lack of respect for law and order in our society. I saw a father, who complained that our government failed to take corrective measure to curb violence, rioting, looting, bloodshed that has swept as a devouring fire across the nation. Yes, I saw parents who were responsible for allowing their children to develop into law-breakers, allowing them to show disrespect for law and order, allowing their children (even encouraging them) to engage in sinful, immoral acts, then blaming our government for their own failures at home! I see and hear church members complaining about church problems, yet allowing their children to develop into undesirable church members. What better kind of church do we expect than that made up of people corrupted by the pollutions of the world?
What I saw can be multiplied by the thousands: What I saw has been seen by thousands of others. When these sad cases are multiplied by so many thousands, is it any wonder that the whole nation become influenced? the basic unit of our society is the home. Destroy moral and spiritual standards in the home and this evil reflects in the whole society. Multiply this type of home environment by the thousands and you have the answer to all the lawlessness and unrest in our nation. No government OF THE PEOPLE can accomplish any more FOR THE PEOPLE than the basic units of its society, the homes, are willing to accomplish. There is always room for improvements in our government, as there is in any area of our lives, but the government cannot substitute for the home. No matter how good a government we have, it can never amend the breakdown of the moral and spiritual standards of the home.
And this same principle is true in the church. How weak or strong is the church depends on the weakness or strengths of the individual members who make up the church. If we complain about the ills of the church, it is, in reality, the cry of a guilty conscience of those who fail to live up to the demands of the gospel, by which and upon which each Christian stands, and by which and upon which the church stands.
Yes, we want to see a healthy society and a strong church. But this will be only when the little girl is taught by her parents to behave as a little girl should; when that boy who was caught stealing is taught, at home, true principles of honesty and virtue; when boys and girls all over the land will have the security of good, sound and proper parental discipline at home. The home, then, is the first place to look for the problems which cause the effects of lawlessness. This is not a political issue to be tossed about by candidates. It is an issue that must be faced at home. The problems of the nation are the problems of the home. What kind of children are seen in your home?