When I reflect on this photo of my father’s class in the 1920s I marvel and tremble at how much our world has changed; culturally, technologically and especially, spiritually. Little did my dad know when this photo was taken that he would he forced to spend many years working in Germany and that later he would immigrate to Australia. One thing that remained strong throughout all this time was the faith of the family. A faith that is still carried forward in our family today.
When I grew up in the 50s and 60s the forces of the world, cold wars and the like, continued their machinations but the faith of the family continued. The first hints of the technological revolution could be seen. I replaced my crystal set with a Japanese made “trannie” (transistor radio). However, at school, the teachers even if they weren’t active Christians still carried a Christian ethic. Some things remained the same – for the moment.
Then came the social upheavals of the 60s and 70s; from the pill to Vietnam moratoriums. The social structures of family, relationships, morals underwent enormous change. That is the foundation of the world today’s young people and children came into but they had the added influence of the IT revolution which has changed the way we interact, communicate, exchange ideas, portray self, acquire, educate and so on.
My point is this: Change has always occurred. None of us is immune, but the nature of change in the last 30 years has been one that very few us were prepared for ( prepared in an educational sense) and even today, very few of us know how to prepare our children for.
For me, the security in the midst of all this has been the certainty of God and His Word. With all this change, one thing is concrete and certain and that is the gospel of Jesus Christ. His claims on me and my children and His vision of a community and kingdom continue on, regardless of any cultural, technological or moral changes that humanity may decide upon.
I suppose the one caveat I have is this: Because the changes in recent times have been so enormous (beyond the wars and rumours of wars), our teaching, revealing and living the gospel to our children needs to be more intentional than ever. More than ever, sound teaching and training, and especially sound example is required for our children to thrive in whatever the future may bring.
How we do that in our schools is a story for another time. As someone once said, “We have a brilliant education system to prepare our children well, for the 1950s. That is for another time.