Ferguson, and Childhood in a Broken World

Young man reading the bible

Like many of you my heart broke while watching the aftermath of a grand juries decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson [1].

There are many things about Ferguson that saddens me, but the greatest is children have to grow up in a broken culture filled with violence and anger [2].

 

Living in a broken culture also means children experiences things like this constantly:

  1. Sadness
  2. Loneliness
  3. Physical Pain or hunger from lack of food
  4. Poverty
  5. And even death

Even sadder is the fact that over time these experiences will create a false view of reality for them that believes:

  1. Justice is getting whatever you think is best, so if you don’t get your way that is injustice
  2. Your need for love and acceptance must be met from outside of the family
  3. There are no real consequences for your actions, after you’ve said sorry everything will be okay
  4. Discipline will always be done in anger
  5. And you must have the best things in life

Oh you won’t catch a child saying that justice=getting whatever you want, but their actions loudly proclaim these beliefs.

  • By becoming incredibly angry when they aren’t rewarded for good work (even though they admit that they didn’t obey)
  • By clinging physically to authority figures whenever possible, or doing whatever they can to entertain other students
  • By not comprehending the idea of consequences for actions
  • By refusing to calm down till a leader loses their temper
  • And by demanding extremely expensive products by name

Of course Ferguson doesn’t teach all of these truths to our children, but it’s an illustration of our broken culture. And a child’s experience of this brokenness frames the way they view the world

God has given me a great burden for children with special challenges [3] who grow up in a world that’s broken. Because they don’t understand everything our culture teaches is a lie.

But following up on that burden, and teaching a proper view of reality is going to take a lot more than a fist-bump and a piece of candy.

It’s going to involve understanding their worldview

I wish with all my heart children didn’t have to grow up in a broken culture filled with war and violence.

I wish they could walk down the street at night without worrying about their safety.

I wish their parents didn’t have to work two jobs so that they could spend more time with mom and dad.

I wish they didn’t have to be so afraid all of the time.

But sticking my head in the ground and acting like our world isn’t broken doesn’t fix anything. It’s time to admit that it is broken, and learn what that teaches.

Visit tomorrow for part two in this series-Culture Teaches Children Justice is Getting Whatever You Want


  1. I will leave discussion of whether or not he should have been indicted to others, this refers to the response of violence and looting after the court’s decision  ↩
  2. Ferguson to me is just one of the many illustrations that our world is filled with this  ↩
  3. poverty, poor family background, lack of structure  ↩

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