You know that stuff your new TV comes packed in when you open the box and what it has to do with our shifting culture?
There was a story out of Vancouver, Washington six years ago today about foam – that’s right foam – being used as the foundation of the road under construction where I-5 intersects I-205. Geofoam blocks will “help hold up the approaches to a new bridge plus new freeway ramps connecting to it.”
Foam to hold up the approach to a bridge? We’re going to be driving over foam?
The reason for using this ‘packing-material’ is because of the “soft, unstable soil on the site. The ground is Jell-O underneath.”
And, believe it or not, this foam is better than dirt in the event of an earthquake.
Here’s what Andrew Fiske, a geotechnical engineer with the Washington State Department of Transportation, said about the shapeable, foundational foam: “we can dictate the strength requirements.”
That right there, that statement, is so profound, so penetratingly perceptive, so gi-hugically important, here it is again:
“We can dictate the strength requirements.”
On a scale of 1-10 for the importance of history-making and history-changing decisions, nothing surpasses by way of significant preparation undergirding the ability to one day stand rock solid while everything shifts all around, than the quiet, contemplative, never-garnering-headlines agreement of a mom and dad by which they intend, day-in and day-out, to pack and shape their children with strength-dictated material.
Kids who are cut from the same block of Styrofoam that characterized their parents don’t need a Universal Visitation, government-imposed, costly-in-the-extreme, state-parenting program.
Kids who come packaged with the same structural dictates that provided the framework by which their parents were raised, and their parents before them, don’t join gangs; know their boundaries; and confine their graffiti to the art projects as assigned at school.
Personal conviction, principled conscience, and the perceptive-driven capability by which to distinguish right from wrong, are all parentally – not governmentally, nor even academically – instilled.
In fact, it may be legitimately claimed that courage and boldness and endurance and perseverance and the rather radical demonstration of such qualities – are all synonymous.
And are all best learned at home.
When all else around is Jell-0, aka our world today, may moms and dads understand and undertake their most important job – that of raising and shaping their children from such structural, strength-dictated foam-like qualities.
Those who travel over this road ahead are depending upon it.
Joan Campion says
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
Unfortunately that is what is missing in so much of today’s society.
David Anderson says
It’s interesting that the Greek translation of the Hebrew word ‘train’ here is gumnos from which we get our English word ‘gymnasium’. It literally means ‘naked’ which is all to say that from the time a child is ‘naked’, i.e. born, the gymnaseum-like child-raising parental workouts begin.
Frances Rawlings says
David, I enjoyed your thoughts about child rearing and agree completely. A child needs boundries that are secure and safe. They need to learn respect for their parents, elders, teachers and others in authority. I’m not saying that children have to be denied fun in their lives, but the first and most important lesson is obedience. Obedient children are a joy to be around, and it takes hard work and consistency to do this.
Dieter Mielimonka says
David: I think the “naked” refers more to the Greek athletes who performed naked in the gymnasium or the arena or during the Olympics than to a naked child. For that reason women weren’t allowed as spectators. I think that’s what our Greek guide told us when we visited that country.
David Anderson says
In further research, as a result of your comment, I discovered that in fact the LXX – abbreviation for the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament – all the early manuscripts of the Septuagint skip right over this verse. Verse five is there, as is verse 7, but no Greek rendition of verse six.
So, where I came by this notion that gumnos translated the Hebrew word for ‘train’ as “naked” I don’t know.
What I do know is that the Hebrew word for ‘train’ – chanok – means “to put something into the mouth” as a nurse would give infants their food. By extension then the idea of the word came to signify “to give elementary instruction.”
So, while gumnos does mean naked, and could very well refer to the games, it is used several times in the New Testament and each time refers to being laid bare.
The analogy and the truth fits child rearing nonetheless. It starts from day one.
Dieter Mielimonka says
Interesting, thanks. So why couldn’t gumnos have a double meaning as the English word “wind” (one of many). The wind blows while I wind my watch. Innumerable things are possible with languages.