To find out what’s important in the world, sometimes all we need to do is to look where the enemy is focusing his efforts. When as Christians we set our sights on political activism and the places of so-called power as the means to societal change, often neglecting the real locus of the battle for our culture, let us only look to the tactics of wicked men for our correction.
Adolf Hitler knew exactly where the fight for Germany was taking place. Years before a shot was fired in Europe over nationalistic and inhumane territorial claims, Hitler knew he and the Nazi party had far more seminal work to do. He knew he had to instill in the German people a fervent love for the Aryan state and a hatred for every other nation and people that opposed it. So he turned to the children.
“For the remarkable fact about the language struggle is that its waves strike hardest perhaps in school, since it is the seed-bed of the coming generation. It is a struggle for the soul of the child, and to the child is it’s first appeal addressed… anyone who knows the soul of youth will be able to understand that it is they who lend ear most joyfully to such a battle cry” (Mein Kampf, 12).
For Hitler, the “language struggle” he referred to was his quest for a vibrant German nationalism, which he knew could be cultivated most abundantly in children. In hindsight we often wonder how Germany was given over to such evil under the raving madman, but when you study his beginnings, he exhibited an incredible ability to play off a national mood and to heighten the collective feelings of a nation. And it began with the children (for e.g., the Hitler youth campaigns).
I sometimes wonder how we as Christians miss this basic point, since our enemy clearly does not. With good intentions we seek to gain the places of esteem and supposed power for swaying the culture—political office, well-funded lobbying organizations, celebrity statuses, and so on. We think the most powerful Christian is the one who shows up in the papers every time he opens his mouth.
Because of this misguided but well intentioned tendency, we in the Christian community have fought for our “values” but left our children to the state, to teachers who present a smorgasbord of ideological choices, from socialism to communism to evolutionary theory (by the way, evolutionary theory was one of the bedrock philosophies for Hitler, the very foundation for his practice of exterminating the weak in society. Nazi Germany was Darwinism taken to it’s logical conclusions).
We’ve gone off to fight the war and left our children to the enemy. We thought it was off in the trench somewhere, but it was really in our home, the battle for our children’s minds and hearts. If we don’t learn from Jesus that children are the heart of the kingdom, let us at least learn a lesson from Hitler. The greatest battle we will ever fight is for our children.
Lest I be misunderstood, this isn’t necessarily a case for homeschooling or any other specific form of education. But it is certainly a case to wake up as Christian parents and fight for the hearts of our children, to stop handing them over to the enemy. We can’t turn them over to blatantly anti-Christian government schools and then wonder why they become like the ones who teach them (Luke 6:40).
The most important battle we will fight today in our lives, in our culture, is for our children’s minds and hearts. We must make choices and sacrifices as parents that align with that truth.
Education, as Hitler said, is the struggle for the soul of the child. Who is winning the fight for your child’s soul?