Vladimir Lenin, former leader of the Soviet Union, said, “Give me four years to teach the children, and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.”
He added, “Give us the child for 8 years and it will be a Bolshevik forever.”
Vladmir Lenin Believed in the Importance of Children
Lenin required every school to establish “Lenin’s corners,” or “political shrines” for the display of propaganda about the god-like founder of the Soviet state.” Schools conducted marches, songs and pledges of allegiance to Soviet leadership. One of purposes was to instill in children the idea that they are involved in the World revolution, which is more important than any family ties.
Communist thinking on children, schools and youth organizations included such thoughts as, “We must make the young into a generation of Communists. Children, like soft wax, are very malleable and they should be molded into good Communists. We must rescue children from the harmful influence of the family… We must nationalize them. From the earliest days of their little lives, they must find themselves under the beneficent influence of Communist schools… To oblige the mother to give her child to the Soviet state – that is our task.”
Those children born after the Bolshevik Revolution were explicitly told that they were to build a utopia of brotherhood and justice and to not be like their parents, but completely Red.
The Hitler Youth Movement
Adolf Hitler made no bones about it. His philosophy was, “He who owns the youth gains the future.” He founded what was known as the Hitler Youth Movement, which targeted both boys and girls ten to eighteen years of age.
The Hitler Youth movement was a logical extension of Hitler’s belief that the future of Nazi Germany was its children. The Hitler Youth as an organization was seen as being as important to a child as school was. In the early years of the Nazi government, Hitler had made it clear as to what he expected German children to be like: Hitler wanted to occupy the minds of the young in Nazi Germany.
Hitler Youth was created in the 1920’s. By 1936, they had 4 million members of children and youth in their organization, primarily because, it became all but compulsory to join the group.
Do I really have to tell you the degree to which Islamists are training and indoctrinating the next generation to take up their cause? The entire culture and society is in on it together, from television programming to the schools, and very cooperative parenting in the homes.
Who Cares? That’s Old News!
My intent in relaying this information was not to bore you with a history lesson. Actually, you probably already knew most of this. So why am I bringing it up? It’s because it struck me of how clearly the top leaders of “evil empires” understood that their success and their future lie entirely in how well they trained and indoctrinated the youth of their nations, starting at young ages. It was a key, primary strategy to go after the young, pouring time, resources, and energy into “discipling” their children and teens in their “faith.”
I couldn’t help but compare that to the oft times lackadaisical attitudes of some of us about the children in our ministries. Unfortunately, we don’t give them a second thought unless there’s a crying baby distracting us. We want to believe that our children’s ministries are taking care of them. However, the facts are not too encouraging.
Does it Really Matter?
According the George Barna, The Nehemiah Institute, and Answers in Genesis, Ron Luce of Teen Mania, and other Christian research organizations, there’s a mass exodus of our kids and teens from the local church, upwards of 70% of them, depending on who you read after. This is now common knowledge. In the past we have thought it was high school and college kids leaving the church. But new research shows, a huge percentage of kids actually leave by Middle School age.
Furthermore these young people tell researchers they have no need and nor intention of going back to church later in life. Of course, they’re just kids, right? They’ll change their minds when they get older. After all, raise a child in the way he should go, and he’ll come back sooner or later–albeit marred, mired, broken, and entrenched in sin.
Researchers claim only one out of every ten born-again kids is absolutely committed to Christianity (Barna). That should give everyone who calls themselves a born-again Christian reason to pause.
What Would Happen If….
What would happen if the key leaders of Christianity across denominational lines and from every stream started focusing on our children and youth with even half the passion Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, and the Islamists have? What if they began mentoring and discipling them at early ages, before they had a chance to decide church was boring? What if they began to shape the entire church culture into a new focus on our children and youth, not to make them the center of attention. But to bring them alongside of us, shoulder to shoulder, and train them and equip them in the things of the Spirit like we do adults? What if Christians started focusing in on the children and youth like the Islamists do? Shouldn’t we, like Lenin, also instill in children the idea that they are involved in the World revolution, which is more important than any family ties?
By the way, I am thankful to be friends with several internationally known ministers of large itinerant ministries, who do make kids a focus. They do everything from personally writing cutting edge children’s books, producing CDs, and DVDs, fighting the abuse of children, to even insisting on visiting the children’s ministries of churches when traveling, and talking to the children about the Lord personally. One woman minister actually takes young people on the road with her occasionally and mentors them, giving them opportunities to speak in her conferences! These men and women are my heroes! I can also tell you these ministers have a huge following of young people.
Obviously the oppressive political groups we spoke of earlier are not anything we as Christians would want to emulate. But consider the principle of what they were doing. They knew (and know) the value of training their children. Let’s seek God how, together, we can change the Christian culture to recognize the potential of children as an active part of the Kingdom of God now and not when they turn twenty-one.
Kids in Ministry International
PO Box 549 * 111 Collins Avenue
Mandan, ND 58554