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David Hegg: Giving our children a solid shot at the future

Ethically Speaking

Posted: June 10, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 10, 2012 1:55 a.m.

The study of how weaponry has advanced through the ages is a fascinating look both at mankind's creativity and ingenuity, and the seemingly ever-present need to kill the enemy.

The earliest battles were fought with sticks and stones, face to face. For many years while the weapons improved, the battle was still done at arm's length.

Then the bow and arrow came into prominence, and war changed forever. Now you could send an arrow into the enemy line from many yards away. The longbow enabled a soldier to shoot his flaming arrows into targets he might never actually see.

In Psalm 127, a wise man likened children to arrows when he wrote: "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth."

I just celebrated another birthday, and with each year I become more reflective on the years I may have left and what remains for me to accomplish. But no matter how diligent my labor, when I die, the work will be unfinished, passed on to others in the hope they will hit the right targets.

The psalmist recognized that the arrows we shoot today, aimed at the targets of the future, are the children we've been given.

Over Memorial Day, all of my own arrows came home and brought the next generation of arrows as well. Grandchildren are an even better gift than children, and as the line goes, "If I'd have known how great they were, I would have had them first."

We spent many hours marveling at the way our oldest granddaughter has acquired language skills and problem-solving skills, and just about the perfect temperament. Of course, I am a bit biased.

But as I watched all my kids and my kids' kids, I was struck with the significance of the psalmist's illustration. These lives will live on to attempt great things and accomplish great things long after I am gone. They are the arrows that I am shooting into the future, and all I can do is try to line them up correctly for the journey.

The scary part is knowing that the world they will inherit is so very uncertain.

I don't have to make the argument that violence and evil seem increasingly prevalent in our day. The daily news makes that argument for me.

I also don't have to persuade anyone that change will be a constant in the coming decades. We see it happening all around us today.

New technology, new financial challenges, new industries and new strategies for just about everything will make certain that the pace of change and the need to find some stability in everyday life will only increase.

Shooting arrows into the future will mean trying to prepare for the gale-force winds of uncertainty.

So what do we do? The answer is that there is only one thing we can do, and that is teach our children the value of values, and train them to be people of integrity with a solid ethical system built on bedrock truth. We can't foretell what the wind conditions will be in the future, but we can build arrows that are strong and will fly straight regardless of the conditions.

When we say children are our future, we are not overstating the case. We must insist that those charged with the education and formation of the next generations not give in to the clamor for compromise when it comes to the foundational values of honesty, kindness, courage, love, patience, truth, and excellence.

Don't sell our kids short. Rather, build them strong, build them good, and point them in the right direction.

David Hegg is senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church and a Santa Clarita resident. "Ethically Speaking" runs every Sunday.




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