I have recently been reading some of the hundreds of “My Little Golden Books”. Admittedly, it has been a long time since I’ve read any of these. It’s not the sort of reading that poses much in the way of cerebral challenge. Lest you be tempted to conclude that I’ve lost my head gasket and am leaking brain cells, let me hasten to explain that I’m not reading these books for my own edification”. I’m reading them aloud and recording them so that my little granddaughter can have them in months and years to come. She’ll be able to turn the pages and listen to Grandpa read to her even when she’s not sitting in his lap! Eventually we’ll graduate to “Tales of Narnia”, “Watership Down”, and other progressively more mature fare, including Bible stories. For now, however, “Dumbo”, “Where Did the Baby Go?”, “Bunny’s New Shoes”, “Meow, Bow Wow” and “Theodore Mouse Up in the Air” are among the titles on this Grandpa’s reading list. And, this literary exercise has been profitable in an odd sort of way, particularly in light of the current public discourse regarding guns, mental illness, violent television/movies/video games, parental irresponsibility, and children/teens. I don’t regard myself as an articulate spokesman in regard to the inter-related nature and effects of any of those, and other, aspects of the discussion. I do know this, however: The voice of those who would point beyond these surface issues to the true nature of the problem … the wickedness of the human heart, is discounted if not out-rightly ignored.
And this is where this grandfatherly literary exercise of mine has struck a chord for me. Reading these silly books isn’t really as silly as it may seem on the surface. Lucy, my 5 month old granddaughter, is an empty vessel eagerly waiting to be filled; a life, the foundations of which are currently being dug and poured. There is no shortage of persons, organizations and entities that are eager to have a hand in filling that vessel and pouring those foundations. And if Lucy’s parents, grandparents and other positive and loving influences do not do so, their place will be filled by less desirable influences. The wholesome nature of these stories with the positive values that they communicate are the stuff of which good foundations for life are made. These stories, and the ones I’ll be doing as she grows and matures will stimulate her imagination and thinking skills while they pave the way for healthy social, spiritual, mental and emotional development. They will do so in a way that could never be accomplished by passively sitting glaze-eyed, for hours on end, in front of a television or computer screen or in other ways imbibing the poison of a “secular village” that wants to possess her mind and spirit and body.
National tragedies, such as the one that occurred last week in Connecticut, seem to cause a lot of temporary collective handwringing over the directional trends of our society. But it will soon be a forgotten, or at least faded memory, and we will quietly return to the pursuit of our self-serving agendas. And our society will continue to drag itself, unheeding, toward the portals of hell. The only way things will be changed is by the power of the Risen Christ through the ministration of the Spirit of God in the hearts and lives of individuals. Moms and Dads, Grandmas and Grandpas, Aunts and Uncles, godly men and women everywhere can make a huge difference if, instead of succumbing to the drug of complacency, we actively, deliberately, faithfully and meaningfully participate in pouring the foundations and filling the vessels that will build tomorrow’s society.