“In the Beginning was the Word…” John 1:1
One of my favorite teachers is the Christian apologist named Ravi Zacharias. If you have never heard of him, or listened to him, go as quickly as you can and find his free podcasts and give him a listen. There are few in the world today that can defend the Christian faith as logically and powerfully as Ravi.
Recently Ravi observed that God did not say that in the beginning was video! He went on to speak about the power of the written and spoken word to shape and change individuals and culture. He echoed the words of Rudyard Kipling who wrote “(w)ords are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” Of course Kipling existed before the time of Hollywood, the internet, and video.
Ravi goes on to mention a book I would recommend all of you dear readers find, purchase, and read…ASAP! The book is titled “Christ and The Media” by the late Malcom Muggeridge. It was “the most important book I ever wrote” said Muggeridge (in a private conversation he had with Ravi). Muggeridge was a brilliant user of words! Brilliant! He was a radio and TV commentator, a lecturer, journalist, author, and social commentator who often provoked and even infuriated his audience. He wrote, “future historians will surely see us as having created in the (visual, PCC) media a Frankenstein monster which no one knows how to control or direct, and marvel that we should so meekly subjected ourselves to its destructive and often malign influence.”
AMEN and AMEN!
This need not be the case. Creating a love of story, good story, in children need not lead to the devolution and degradation that CAN come. Along with giving children a love for the written and spoken word you must, MUST then give them the tools that equip them to know what to do with words, their own and those of others, so they will never be at the mercy of the words, or imagery, of others.
The late British writer, Dorothy Sayers, observed in her magnificent essay “The Lost Tools of Learning,”
For we let our young men and women go out unarmed, in a day when armor was never so necessary. By teaching them all to read, we have left them at the mercy of the printed word. By the invention of the film and the radio, we have made certain that no aversion to reading shall secure them from the incessant battery of words, words, words. They do not know what the words mean; they do not know how to ward them off or blunt their edge or fling them back; they are a prey to words in their emotions instead of being the masters of them in their intellects. We who were scandalized in 1940 when men were sent to fight armored tanks with rifles, are not scandalized when young men and women are sent into the world to fight massed propaganda with a smattering of “subjects”; and when whole classes and whole nations become hypnotized by the arts of the spell binder, we have the impudence to be astonished.
Words and stories have power. Word and stories have weight. Words and stories carry authority. Words and stories exercise authority. Stories (written and spoken) have the power of imagination. Words and stories can lead and mislead. Words and stories can direct and misdirect. The power of words and stories to influence, inspire, motivate, direct and redirect the course of one’s mind and life (as well as entire societies) is immense.
Read to your children! Give your children exposure to good words and stories. Start them early. Monitor their intake. Use the power of words and stories to your advantage and theirs. Let those words “…influence, inspire, motivate, direct, and redirect…” the course of your child’s life. At the same time instill in them a love for words and stories that are “…true…noble…just…pure…lovely…of good report…virtuous… (and) worthy of praise….” (Phil. 4:8). The payoff in their lives is enormous.