By Beth Groh
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
How many times, as Christian parents, have we clung to Proverbs 22:6?
It offers truth. Assurance. And an admonition that we should be purposeful in how we rear our children.
Who could argue with its wisdom?
Certainly not Adolph Hitler.
Hitler had laser vision on the German youth as he sought to consolidate power, not just in his time, but for generations to follow.
He knew that if he trained children in his worldview—at an early enough age—then they would be loyal for life.
Listen to his chilling words, as recounted in the book, When A Nation Forgets God: 7 Lessons We Must Learn From Nazi Germany, by Erwin W. Lutzer.
“This new Reich will give its youth to no one, but will itself take youth and give to youth its own education and its own upbringing,” Hitler said in one speech.
He once said to parents, “Your child belongs to us already…what are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in a new camp…In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.”
Bans on homeschooling. Bans on religious education. Rewrites of history in public classrooms. Formation of popular Hitler youth camps.
Hitler didn’t just declare a war on Europe. He declared war on the German family and church.
And he did it by driving a wedge between children, separating them from church and family.
His most effective tool?
Public education provided the “gas chambers” for a biblical worldview.
Instead, this Nationalist Socialist dictator fostered and promoted a humanist worldview that, when taken to extremes, led to an evil dehumanization of Jews, the disabled, the mentally ill, the frail and elderly.
German children were taught that they were part of a “pure Aryan race.” Others, particularly Jews, could scarcely be considered human.
For the greater good, the Nationalist Socialists argued, “ethnic cleansing” should be applied to preserve the superior race.
In other words…when man becomes “god,” then man becomes emboldened to make life and death calculations on the value of life. Eugenics becomes logical. Mass extermination acceptable.
“The gas chambers of Auschwitz were the ultimate consequence of the theory that man is nothing but the product of heredity and environment,” wrote Victor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor.
Ultimately, that evil empire collapsed—thanks to the Godly sacrifices of blood and treasure from Americans and countless others.
But have those ideas—and the calculated targeting of the hearts and souls of our youth—disappeared into the dustbins of history?
You be the judge…
Are there powerful voices seeking to control—or eliminate—homeschooling, which is now once again banned in Germany?
Is there a stated “cradle to grave” approach to federal government influence on education?
Does it take parents—or “a village”—to rear a child, according to the government elite?
Is most public school curriculum centered on “God created” view of man or a “molecules-to-man” evolutionary process?
Does public policy support a protection of life in all stages and ages?
No matter how you answer, certainly it’s a leap to conclude that America today is in the same position as Germany in the early 1930s.
But Dr. Lutzer admonishes us not to get too self-righteous by thinking, “Oh, such things could never happen here.”
Instead, we should study history—and our Bibles—always remembering that Proverbs 22:6 can cut both ways. Yes, we can train up our children with a Godly, biblical worldview—or we can relegate our rearing to the government and simply trust that its purpose will always be good, not evil.