Pastor Packer has a new post up over at Steadfast Lutherans:
"The goal of all parents, pastors, teachers, and churches should be that they teach their children in such a way they give the children something they can grow into rather than something they will grow out of..."
Two great quotes from the article The Neuro Transformers (here). As I post parts of my research it's good to ask, "How is culture catechising me in ways I'm not even aware? What about my children?"
Culture also affects our brains in less obvious ways. Consider that we tend unconsciously to accept as “normal” that which our culture regards as normal.
Given the way our flexible brains tend to rewire themselves to adapt to our environment, it is easy for us to “catch” the assumptions of false worldviews without realizing we have done so, just as a child learning a language will pick up the right accent without even thinking about it. David Wells grasped this well when he wrote that “worldliness . . . is that set of practices in a society, its values and ways of looking at life, that make sin look normal and righteousness look strange.” The changes in our brains wrought by these societal influences often occur deep below the surface of our conscious awareness, leading us to hold pre-reflective assumptions that are, to quote Herbert Schlossberg. “More powerful than assertions, because they bypass the critical faculty and thereby create prejudice. . . . The simple act of listening to an argument is almost enough to engage it. . . . That bypassed assumption is the pocket of enemy soldiers that was ignored in an effort to engage the main body of the adversary, and it lies in wait to strike from the rear. The false assumption is additionally beguiling because it often appeals to one of the worst instincts—the desire to be fashionable or at least to avoid being associated with the unfashionable or unpopular.
I'm working on a paper to present at the October pastors' conference and I have found this Salvo article (here) extremely helpful. Here are the opening paragraphs:
"One of the themes I’ve been exploring in some of my Salvo articles is how our brains change based on interactions with our social environment.
In my Salvo article ‘The Neuro Transformers’ and also in ‘Sex & the Kiddies’ I explained just how flexible the human brain is and how the messages we are exposed to in our culture actually change the neuro-circuitry of our brains."
Or to put it another way -- you and your children are constantly being catechized by everything that is around you, whether you are aware of it or not. And not only is it catechizing you, it's actually changing your brain.
Here's his concluding paragraph: "Not only can things like memorizing and swimming underwater change our brains, but our brains also change based on the messages we receive from society all around us, and from the cultural environment in which we grow up. This can be a force for good, when the culture around us is wholesome, but it can also be a force for great evil and subversion."
This is extremely important as we consider the environments of our homes and schools. To be continued...
This article has some great information and it should sound familiar since it is what we do here: How to Make Worship Kid-Friendly
From the article: Them: I like traditional worship, but I’ve got kids, so, you know…
Me: No, I don’t. What do you mean?
Them: Well…I’ve got to have them in contemporary worship.
Me: Oh. Why?
Them: (With increasing annoyance) Well…you know…they’re kids!
I must have had this conversation a thousand times. These are parents, who usually for the most honorable of reasons believe that they need to put their kids in contemporary worship. After all, it’s easy, it seems relevant, and it doesn’t ask for much in return.
The motivation may be pure, but the method is short-sighted, and the results can be disastrous.
I think in the haste to see their kids “connected” or “plugged in” to the church, it’s easy for parents to forget a few things about the purpose of corporate worship.
Also check out our What about My Children? section of this website.
I came across two fantastic resources that could greatly help your family with catechizing your children and family devotions.
The first helps you create a family altar board. What's that? Check out the link to find out:
And the second shows you how to easily break down teaching and reviewing the Small Catechism throughout the Church Year:
I hope you are able to utilize both!
A place for Pastor Packer to post articles, links, and his own thoughts.