"These words I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up, You shall bind them as a sign on our hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead, You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates" (Deut. 6:6-9).
Hey Gang: As a child growing up in Altoona, Pennsylvania, I was blessed to be in that time period before the so called "Age of Enlightenment" covered our earth with a darkness that seems to be rotting every area of our lives. One of the things I vividly remember was a student in Fairview Elementary School, was the opening of the school day.
It was the same every day for the six years I attended that school. We began with the pledge of allegiance to our country and the raising of the flag (which means we moved it from one side of the teachers desk to the other each day). This was followed by the reading of the Word and then a prayer. Every school day, five days a week, nine months of the year.
In the first three year of my school experience I was truly blessed to have a grandmother-type teacher by the name of Mrs. Barnhart. She was like a "mama hen" that watchers her chicks with a loving eye to make sure they were safely tucked away in the nest. Each morning, after the pledge, Scripture, and prayer she would get out "Peanuts the Elephant", a kind of the mascot of the class, and read a story. While reading the story, she would walk up one aisle and down the other until she had made physical contract with every child.
Mrs. Barnhart was far more than a mere teacher, she was a "seed planter" of God's love. There was no big deal made of this planting of the Word into the hearts of all the children who were privileged to learn under her guidance, she just did it. Why, I believe? Because it was her way of following the Lord's command to "Go into all the world and share the Good News that Jesus Christ is the "Way, Truth and Life".
I wonder how many of the little ones, who passed under her watchful eyes, learned eternal lesson about God's love and respect for their country and love for the flag. She certainly was no preacher, not even a teacher of the Word, but she was, as James said we should all be, "…a Doer of the word". I wonder how many noses she wiped or boots that she helped put on, or how many mittens she had to search for in her thirty plus years of sharing her purpose in life - sharing of God's love.
Soooo, The question, are we losing our young people? I’d like to think that maybe the seeds Mrs. Barnhart planted in my heart, in those first three years of my school life, later surfaced in the founding of the Village. I pray that my life has been one of ‘seed planting’. So get your hoe and spade and get about being a Johnny Appleseed with God's fabulous Word!