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[personal profile] mituns
One of the things that I learned in elementary school is that the Puritans regarded children as evil. This fact was framed as one of those "absurd facts" that teachers use to try to get kids to remember things, and I suppose that in my case it worked. What I didn't understand then was that this attitude was an extension of Calvinist theology which states that man is totally depraved, and unable to do anything to seek or know God.

Just for the sake of argument, though, if this were the case, then how is it possible that even in the Bible, children are considered one of the greatest blessings, and Jesus himself said that we must all come to Him as the little children do? People "ooh" and "ahh" over new babies, and in a Judeo-Christian society, those who do malice toward little children are considered the lowest of the low. Even in church, small children are often referred to as being "innocent".

However, as most people who have children can tell you, even if they are referred to as "innocent", small children have a capacity for almost anything, from total selflessness to utter destruction - often within the space of a very short period of time. Take Tabitha, for example. Just the other day, she sat down to "read" Asher's favorite book to him. She got frustrated and two minutes later was ready to hit him because she didn't like that he picked up a certain toy. (With instances such as the latter, it almost makes one think that the Puritans were right!)

As parents, the greatest charge that we have been given is to raise our children right. This means loving them, of course, but it also means constantly instructing them and having them practice doing what is right. Children are not born with common sense, nor are they born with any sense of that there are any other needs than their own. They learn things extremely adeptly, not just from being told what they should do but by experiencing the example that others - and in particular their parents - do.

I do not believe that anyone is necessarily born good, nor do I believe that anyone is born evil. I believe that most people are born with the capacity to do either, and most of us probably end up somewhere in the middle. However, a person's experiences as a child will weigh heavily into the choices that he makes whether to follow the good or to do evil. In a culture that rejects God, it is no wonder that there seem to be more people who embrace the capacity to do evil, whether we are referencing the tragedy in Sandy Hook, or the killing fields of Chicago.

Of course, with such an event as Sandy Hook or Columbine, there are plenty who are using it as an opportunity to call for more gun control. To quote a blog, no law can abolish the human capacity for evil. As Christians, not only do we have to pray, but we need to be raising our children in a Godly fashion, and, if we can, giving a little bit of extra support to those children who might not otherwise have a good example of how to go about building a life.
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