“Mentally diseased.” That’s how Dr. Charles W. Eliot describes young school children in an Educational Survey that was published by the Public School Publishing Company. His article appeared in School and Home Education Devoted to the Interests of the Public Schools (Eliot, 1908, pg. 120). Less someone think I’m taking his words out of context, here are Dr. Eliot’s words: “The teacher is the physician of the growing mind which is liable to attacks of many different diseases. Each teacher is in charge of thirty or forty young souls who are to be properly nurtured, and all of them are more or less mentally diseased.”

So according to Dr. Eliot, a child who spends five years at home with his or her parents is mentally diseased, and it’s the teacher job to fix them. Friends, there are so many problems with this line of thinking. First and foremost, Christian parents are instilling a Christian worldview in the hearts and minds of their children. This worldview is not a mental disease and not something that should be fixed. Second, this approach positions the teacher as a physician and the student as a sick patient that needs to be fixed rather than educated. Lastly, this view of children is grossly in contradiction to the view Jesus Christ had of children.

In Matthew 18:3-5 Jesus admonished, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.” In the very next chapter of that same book we read, “Then the little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for such is the kingdom of heaven’” (Matthew 19:13-14).

The psalmist declared, “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;” (Psalm 127:4-5). Friends, we are God’s archers. Our children are God’s arrows. The problem is not that our children are “mentally diseased.” The problem is we have many archers who do not believe in God and believe it is their duty to launch our children away from God and eternity in heaven.

It is time for us to rise up. Rebuild the walls, protect our cities. And most of all, reclaim our children. It is my prayer that you will use 2016 as a year to inspect and re-lay the foundation for your family. Make sure that your children and grandchildren have a rock solid platform upon which to build a faith that will guide them into eternity. Surround your family with things that are good and pure. Resolve to be more Christ-like. And finally, as you disciple your children, look for others who you can share the Good News of Jesus Christ with.

  As we turn the last page of 2015, I would humbly ask you to consider making a year-end contribution to the work of Focus Press. We are asking EVERYONE to contribute at least $7.00 (or more if you can!) to help produce sound materials for Christian families in 2016. (Yes, we are a tax-deductible non-profit work of the church!). You can make your donation online by clicking here. We thank you in advance for your support of our efforts, and we look forward to working with you for stronger and healthier families in 2016!

Serving Him with you,

Brad Harrub, Ph.D.

Eliot, Charles W. (1908), The Editor’s Educational Survey, School and Home Education, devoted to the Interests of the Public Schools, p. 120.

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