Most anyone who knows me is aware that I could be called a lighthouse enthusiast. I do not remember really being all that interest in lighthouses until I was in college, but ever since then I have been intrigued by the lights themselves, the stories of the people who kept the lights, and the accounts of the ships and lives that have been saved by the beacons on the shore. My fondness for lighthouses developed on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The series of lights along these barrier islands stand upon the shores of some of the most dangerous waters of the world’s oceans, an area that has been called “The Graveyard of the Atlantic.” Lighthouses, of course, were put in place specifically to alert ships to danger, and to help guide them safely through the dangers around them–dangers often unseen to the naked eye.
Today, children have to make their way through some of the most dangerous waters society has ever presented them with. Everywhere a child looks or goes there is another rocky shoal upon which the hopes and successes of their life could be dashed, damaged or destroyed. I do not necessarily buy into all of the arguments that children and teenagers today have far tougher conditions to grow up in than any previous generation. Indeed, along with the challenges of peer pressure, drugs, gangs and premarital sex so prevalent today are also greater opportunities and material wealth than previous generations enjoyed. What I mean, in other words, is that the glass is half full and half empty; it’s not a matter of one or the other.
With proper guidance, children today have the potential and the opportunity to succeed beyond the wildest imaginations of their parents and grandparents. That proper guidance does not happen by accident, though, and it does not come from the government. God’s plan is that it comes from the family–a father and mother who are married to each other, love God, and teach their children His ways. Alongside the family come the church and, ideally, the school. The family, church and Christian school have the responsibility to continually send out a warning beacon to the children of today, showing them where the danger lies and helping them find a safe route through life.
It took special people to be lighthouse keepers, cut off, in many cases, from the rest of civilization and living a lonely life in a simple house beside a tall tower. The material benefits and creature comforts were few. But the importance of the mission kept them doing their job day after day. Likewise, the family, the church and the Christian school must keep facing the salt water, the wind and the storms that life may send the way of our children.
Keep the lights shining!