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The Weekly Word – Train up a child

By Matt Howlett, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Charles City

Soon our children will be returning to school, after the longest spring break in recorded history.

The school board and administrators have the difficult task of weighing the needs and benefits of returning our children to school, against the health risks of returning to in-person learning.

There are no easy answers during these difficult times.

The Weekly Word - Train up a child
Pastor Matt Howlett, First Baptist Church

As a church, we made the decision recently to host Vacation Bible School, despite the many challenges we faced. We had to weigh the health risks of the children against the difficult reality that our children were not having their spiritual needs properly met throughout this time of isolation.

After much prayer and discernment, with many safety protocols in order, we moved forward with VBS.

It was the right decision for us. We have been blessed in our facilities to have large open areas to allow for social distancing, and trusted that everyone could make a proper decision for themselves and their children if it were appropriate to participate.

Not all churches in our community are blessed with a set-up to allow for such things during this time, but we are eternally grateful for the space we have to do so.

We took the risk because the Scripture tells us in Proverbs 22:6 to “Train up a child in the way they should go; even when they are old, they will not depart from it.”

In these difficult times, we recognize that our school officials have had to make difficult decisions on the best way to address both the physical health and safety of our children, as well as their educational and social needs.

It is easy to criticize decisions we may not agree with, but I would challenge all of those who profess to be believers and followers of Jesus Christ to do better. Rather than criticize a decision, let us recognize the call of all believers to do our part to train up a child in the way they should go.

If you have or know of children who cannot safely return to school in the coming weeks, ask how you can help support and address their needs. It you have or know children who will be returning to school, seek ways to stand and support them, so they and their families can do so safely.

Let us all stand as a united community, set aside our personal differences, feelings, even our own ideas on things like masks and social distancing and recognize the need to raise up and train the next generation in the proper way that they should go.