Good Questions; Bad Timing

The presidential campaign of 1992 was very interesting.

The candidates were: Republican George Bush, Democrat Bill Clinton and Independent Ross Perot. Their self aggrandizement seemed to be without end, and their diminishing opinion of each other had been clearly articulated. In other words it was a typical campaign.

Then came the debates of the candidates for vice president. Dan Quayle represented the elephant crowd, Al Gore was there for the donkeys, but who was that third fellow on the stage? It was none other than James Stockdale, the highly decorated Naval officer who had spent seven years in a North Vietnamese prison camp, and now stood in as the VP candidate with Ross Perot.

Most of us who were listening to the debate would be hard pressed to remember anything about it except James Stockdale’s opening line: “Who am I? Why am I here?”

It seems to me these questions should have been both asked and answered long before he stood before the cameras and spoke to a national audience. I have no problem with the question, just the timing.

Many parents will soon be dropping their children off at some college campus for that great experience of living away from home for the first time. Everything is hopefully in order. They should know how to do their own laundry, should have been instructed repeatedly about the use of the credit card, and should have made all the right promises such as calling home weekly and not getting too involved with friends of the opposite sex. Parents are filled with pride until fear says: “Move over pride and make room for me.” Good questions begin flooding our mind as we make the long drive home without our child.

Questions like:

• Is my child’s faith in God intact? Is it strong enough to withstand the intimidating assault from some faithless professor? This is a good question but hopefully this is not the first time parents have thought of it.

• Has my child embraced the Bible as God’s Holy Word? At this time you may wonder if you even packed a Bible for them to take along. One of the first things that will be under attack will be the Genesis account of creation. If this can be successfully undermined the next obvious questions will be: “If I cannot believe what Genesis says about creation, how can I believe what the Gospel of John says about salvation?” and “If I cannot believe what Genesis says about the earth, how can I believe what Revelation says about heaven?” Good questions! However they might be a little late to ask at this point.

• Have I taught my child the importance of daily Bible reading and prayer? Is this practice important enough to my child for them to continue even among those who do not believe it to be politically correct? Also a good question.

Going away to college places our child on the big stage of life. Will the young adult, like James Stockdale, look like a deer in the headlights, and suddenly ask, “Who am I? Why am I here?” Or will they, though awed with it all, find security in their Christian faith.

It is my prayer that every parent reading this article will have already dealt with the questions I have asked. Thank God for good churches and Christian schools that have assisted in establishing your child in the faith. Even so, I suggest every parent have an occasional sit down with their children and just see where they are in the faith. The only bad time to ask these good questions is after it is too late.

By Dr. James Keaton Sr.