Teachable Headlines

Posted on August 17, 2009 · Posted in Current Events, Parenting

Your comments are a valuable part of this blog. An example is a recent comment made by Jennifer regarding the news story about the confrontation between the police officer and the college professor in Cambridge, MA. This confrontation made headlines worldwide and sparked charges of racism and profiling. Jennifer and her husband make a good point that is easy to miss among all the sound bites and sensational headlines. Here is her comment:

John and I have been distressed about the scenario with Professor Gates, primarily because both the professor and the president so embodied the characterizations of the fool from the Proverbs. And then they resolved it all with a beer. 🙂 My husband said that if Professor Gates had simply chosen to thank the police officer for coming to protect his property, there would never have been a story to report. A gentle answer turns away wrath.

Excellent point! While you may not be invited to the White House to discuss this matter with the President, you can follow the directive of Deuteronomy 6 and provide your children with stunning wisdom from God’s Word about handling human difficulties. As Jennifer points out, if the professor had followed God’s instruction in Romans 13 about submitting to authority and not provoking a quarrel (Proverbs 15:1, etc.) this incident never would have made the headlines. It would have been a non-incident. And if the professor wanted to make a point to the policeman, he would have been in a much better position to make that point if his first response had been one of respect and gratitude.

This is something substantive that you can teach your children right from the day’s headlines–God’s ways are a better!

By using teaching opportunities that arise in the middle of daily life, in the milieu, it is possible to show how following God really is a good thing. Without being overly dramatic or “preachy” you could say something like this to your children:

What do you suppose would have happened if the professor had said, “Thank you, officer, for coming to check things out and make sure I was safe; I appreciate you service”? Do you think the police officer would have arrested the professor if he had said that?

Can you think of times when you have gotten upset with your brother and fussed at him, when a kind word instead would have avoided trouble? Or, how about being thankful for direction from mom and dad instead of being frustrated and just assuming we are trying to give you hard time?

Events such as this headline provide practical opportunities to show the difference that practicing obedience can make in life. And, most importantly, you can show that responses which are gracious and respectful are not natural. Such responses are the result of the power of the gospel at work. It is new hearts that make new responses. This is how to show your children that it is the gospel that makes the real difference.

Thanks again to Jennifer for sending her comment.

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