My Psalm 34
July 11, 2014
Teach Your Children
It was a picture of a little boy in the park holding a toy grenade. The musician wondered what message had the little boy received upon being given such a toy. Playing in a band, he penned a song based on the photographer of the angry child and feaux article of destruction. Some feel part of the message of the verses were based perhaps in part with the musician/photographer’s own tumultuous relationship with a father often in prison. The song lay dormant and was resurrected when the musician joined another band. Needing a musician to play pedal steel guitar, the new band recorded the song as something along the lines of a barter. The guest musician would play on the recording if the new group would teach his band harmony, how to sing more than just one version and to put the two versions together to amplify the melody.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency daily attempts to serve over one million and two thousand refugees in the Gaza Strip. Years of socioeconomic decline and infighting as well as fighting between Jewish, Palestinian, and Islamic factions have left the region a pitiful place for health care. Psychological trauma, poverty, and environmental degradation have left the region’s children with grave problems that include things seldom seen in children of industrialized nations of the past. However, today, the fear of violence, depression, sleeplessness, lack of motivation, and an inability to concentrate is being seen in children all over the world.
Graham Nash wrote in his song: “You who are on the road; Must have a code that you can live by. And so become yourself – Because the past is just a good bye.” Since June 2007, Israel had maintained a blockade of certain items going into Gaza and this has severely impacted the health and wellbeing of all, especially the children. The availability of clean drinking water is at a minimum, forcing children to drink dangerous, unsafe water. Currently, desalinization plants have reduced output. Groundwater contamination is a problem due to the sandy soil and leakage from sewage systems easily blends into the drinking water.
What are we teaching our children and of what value will faith be in their lives? We teach them the traditions of their culture, pride in their heritage, tenets of their faith and then they live a hell justified by all of the above. In the past forty-eight hours at least thirteen children were killed in the Gazaq Strip. These children were caught in the crossfire of misguided religious practices. Where in any book of faith does it say to devalue our children? Sadly, Nash foretold such events. “And you, of tender years, Can’t know the fears that your elders grew by. And so please help them with your youth, They seek the truth before they can die.”
But Graham Nash wrote a countermelody and it is that which we should loudly sing and live. “Can you hear and do you care and Can’t you see we must be free to Teach your children what you believe in.
Make a world that we can live in.” He concluded his song with a slight change to the chorus. Instead of “teach your children”, he wrote “teach your parents”. We who are the parents need to be aware of what our actions are teaching our children. We need to be aware of how we are living our faiths.
Perhaps the true lesson of the song is in the background of it. The message of the picture could be the warning of future violence and its effect on our future – our children. Knowing that timing is everything could mean that something worth having might need to progress in steps and not be demanded immediately. What about the barter system the two bands set up – the compromise of talents, abilities, and the love of music that made it happen.
I hope someday we can teach our children that they are our greatest resource and that they feel our greatest love. I hope we can someday come together in the spirit of compromise and work towards a future that is healthy for all children, not just those we happen to like or who look like us or who worship like us. Most importantly, I hope someday we give children real toys – not fake weapons of destruction but real objects of joy that delight and bring a smile and giggle to all who play. Mostly I hope we teach our children the value of working together, the wisdom of caring, and the importance of living a healthy life alongside their neighbor. I hope we teach the children that faith is not above bombings and discrimination but love, love which should be respected and sought in the souls of all. I hope what they learn is that the past may be just a good bye but the future is a welcome joyful hello!
My Psalm 34
I praise God in all I do.
My works are for His glory.
My thoughts are in His name.
My words sing forth His glory.
I took God my problems and He delivered me from them.
I gave my worries to the Lord.
His healing balm soothed my soul.
I cried out and the Lord heard and answered me.
The Lord protects His children.
He cares for every soul and those who believe are fed.
Listen to me and you will prosper
For the Lord will not forsake nor forget you.