“Reclaiming our Children’s Childhood”

Harold Shank
National Spokesperson for CCFSA

Jon Partlow preaches for the Pennyrile Church of Christ in Madisonville, Kentucky. One day, while reading the local paper, he read two unrelated articles about children involved in sexual acts (all under the age of ten) at two different elementary schools. Speaking for him and his wife, Jon said, “Cile and I were horrified.” 
He wrote about his reaction in a piece entitled, “Whose Protecting the Children?” where he cited a local counselor who pointed out that American children act out sexually because they learn about sexual behavior at an earlier age through the media. In the article, Jon urged us to “reclaim our children’s childhood.”
Marva Dawn, in her book Is It a Lost Cause? (Eerdman’s, 1997) raises the same concern. Media exposes our children to too many inappropriate things at too early of an age. She urges churches to teach their parents how to use wisdom in this area. Her chapters on the matter overflow with practical, constructive ideas.
Like the Partlows, we are all alarmed, but as Jon urges, we must not reduce our response to media-bashing. We must, instead, rise up in our churches to teach the kind of parenting skills that reflect the high value that our God places on children. Rather than complain about the media, we must put our energy into speaking up in our communities on behalf of children. Through our support of Sunday school, by our actions in children’s ministry, as believers in youth ministry, by increasing our financial and prayer commitments to our child care agencies, by hosting parenting seminars open to the community, and other creative ways, we can call for and model a different standard.
We all share the outrage of Jon and Cile Partlow. As Jon suggests, we must reclaim our children’s childhood; we must put the energies of our people toward voicing the high value of children.


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