PP 15

O is for Opportunity

• Jun, 19 2024

In this episode of "Preschool Pioneers," titled "O is For Opportunity," we explore how every moment is a gift from God, emphasizing the critical role parents and teachers play in shaping the future. Through scripture, real-life examples, and insightful commentary, we discuss the importance of utilizing every opportunity to instill godly values and discipline in children. We highlight the consequences of neglect and misguidance, urging listeners to focus on their local responsibilities and personal influence to positively impact their children's and students' lives. Join us as we delve into the profound impact of seizing opportunities to build a foundation for success and moral integrity.

Hosted by
Rev. Jeremy Walker

Husband, Father, Pastor, Teacher, Podcaster, and Christian Education Advocate

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  • Series: Preschool Pioneers
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Speaker 1 (00:13):

Welcome back, everybody to Preschool Pioneers. This episode is entitled, O is For Opportunity, How every opportunity is a gift from God and how parents and teachers can make the best of every moment they have to influence the future.

(00:30):

Well, today we're going to get started guys, and I want to start with our scripture reading from Deuteronomy 6:4. "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children and shall talk with them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes, and thou shall write them upon the posts of the house and on thy gates."

(01:19):

The reason why I think that this passage is one of the greatest passages in the Bible for parents and for teachers to give them direction is because it explains about our opportunities. And that's what this episode is about, us realizing that our opportunities are not just given to us by accident but are given to us on purpose as a gift from God, and He hasn't left us without direction.

(01:44):

He's also given us his commandments and told us what he wants us to do, and if we do what we're told, he promises to bless us in our de. In particular one part of that is with our children. So many people today look around at the world and they say, "What went wrong?" Well, the problem is, what did they do that was right? It's a much better way to look at it. What did people do that was right?

(02:15):

They put all the focus on the results but not how people got there. If you ended up in the wrong state and if you were traveling as an example, you'd have to ask yourself some fundamental questions about what happened that we were traveling the wrong direction for so long and didn't notice? Why should we be surprised that for some reason we're in the wrong state if we had been traveling for hours, if not days in the wrong direction?

(02:44):

It says more about our direction and where we travel each and every day, every moment of the day, than it does about the actual destination itself because you're going to arrive somewhere in life. That's what's going to. Here on Preschool Pioneers we've talked about before, the concept that has been floating around in the ethos and it was called the Preschool to Prison Pipeline. And the reason why they did it, they said that it was a very good indicator to see where somebody was going to end up based on where they were in preschool.

(03:20):

But I would say that's not exactly a fair bet, I would say from preschool, from young children, ages two, three, and four, and then all the rest of their life up to prison, all of those moments, all of those opportunities mattered. And people just did not pay attention or worse instead of doing the right things, they were doing the wrong things.

(03:47):

Now, I was watching social media this week and it goes along with opportunities and there was, what used to be I think, a childhood kind of idol of sorts. I think her name was Jo-Jo and she was on stage. Now she's much older now, she's now an adult. She's no longer a child and she is dressed provocatively, very little covering her body up in rainbows, in face paint, drinking vodka on stage while she dances and was even touching herself under her clothes in a suggestive manner.

(04:24):

And she was doing this not just in front of adults, but was also doing this in front of children. So the question has to say, how did a person like this get there? There were a lot of little choices that led that person to this part of their life, where they would be on stage drinking in public and touching themselves in a manner which was unbefitting public access to the people to see and specifically children to watch.

(04:51):

But this is what this individual did. There was a whole lot that led up to this performance and them thinking this was the right place to be. But once again, kind of like the people who land in prison, it's wrong for us to say, "Well, this person made a bad choice right there and then." No, it's lots of choices, lots of bad directions you've been going your entire life.

(05:18):

I saw another clip, which was a young child and being in childcare as I have been, my wife and I run Christian preschools here in southwest Florida with our family, and watching this little clip showed a young girl and she was in a preschool and she was having a tough time. She was yelling, she was screaming and she began to throw things around the room destroying property.

(05:43):

And the teacher, the person who was filming this, I'm not sure why they were filming it, but the person that was filming it was talking a very soft voice about, why would you do this? Because the sad thing is not only does the state teach that parents are not supposed to be authority figures, they also teach that teachers are not either. So every tone is this little Mary Poppins tone and I'll take that back. Mary Poppins was actually a very stern disciplinarian.

(06:11):

So we've gotten to the part in society where even Mary Poppins is not even allowed to take care of children anymore, because why? We'd give them structure, we'd give them discipline and would give them order. Well, the sad part was is people were trying to talk about this subject and was this bad parenting, has this led this child to destroy a classroom and has it led to the teachers not doing anything about it?

(06:35):

The short answer is, yes. There are good parents and there are bad parents and it depends on what you do. Good people, bad people. There are the honest people who are hardworking and there's the thieves and the liars. And we have to start really thinking in these terms because every single opportunity that we have can either lead us in the right direction or it can lead us down the wrong direction.

(07:01):

And once again, you don't arrive at a destination by one little action. There are lots, and lots, and lots of actions that lead you where you're at. Now, the little girl we're talking about probably may be about three and a half years old, which is very common. It's also very common for children to want to destroy things just out of defiance to show that they're upset and mostly just to destroy things so you have to clean it up.

(07:30):

I actually saw a video and it was of a woman who was in, I think it was a McDonald's or a Burger King, and she was with her child. The child was older and for some reason she was upset about the service in which she had gotten at the fast food place. And what did she do? She began throwing things, grabbing napkins, throwing cups, pushing things on the ground.

(07:52):

One of the employees accused her of destroying property and said they were calling the cops and it's the first time ever heard somebody voice it out loud. She says, "I'm not destroying anything." She says, "I'm making a mess that you are going to have to clean up."

(08:09):

Now, that was some very good honesty and I have not heard, at least an adult, say it before, but if you wanted to put your finger on it, why would a little child destroy the environment as was in the short video of the three and a half year old? It's very simple. They are making work for you. They are showing disdain for you. They're showing just how much they hate you and hate your guts and are trying deliberately to make things harder for you. You upset them so they are now going to mess things up for you, it's their way of getting back to you.

(08:46):

Somebody else on the internet because the internet is what it is. People were asking, "Well, where does this type of behavior lead if we don't young children from acting in this manner? This lashing out, the temper tantrums, the destruction of property, what does it lead to?" And well, somebody very cleverly on the internet, they put videos of people going into convenience stores, into Targets and other places, Walmart's, and whenever something doesn't go their way as an adult, and we see them all the time I know you've probably seen them on the internet, people destroying things, throwing things, knocking things down, just destroying the environment, kind of like the woman in the McDonald's.

(09:31):

And what happens is all their life, they never learned to respect other people. They never learned respect for other people's property. They never learned not to want to hurt others. They never learned to control their tempers. They never learned that these things were inappropriate.

(09:50):

Now the question has to be asked, why did they not learn them? That's a very important question. Why did they not learn these simple lessons about self-control? They didn't learn them because as we went through Deuteronomy 6 and the verses that followed, we found that every opportunity you have as a parent and as a teacher needs to be pointed in the direction of shaping and molding the child for the future. If you want to get to the right destination, you have to travel in the right direction and on the right path. Otherwise, you're not going to get the desired result.

(10:28):

You can't sit back later as a parent and say "What went wrong?" If you did not take every single opportunity that you had to be a positive guide to your child and to the children that are in your classroom if you're a teacher. See, one thing we have to remember is we cannot focus, I think, too much on the things you cannot control. That's what a lot of people like to do. They tune into the internet to hear about what's happening in the world because now that we have the worldwide internet, we hear about things all over the world that normally you would never hear about because it's nowhere near you. It's not in your community, it's probably not in your state. It's probably not even in your country.

(11:08):

But these are the things we focus our attention on throughout the entire day. And instead of focusing on the things that are our responsibilities, instead of focusing on the things we can change and affect, we like to focus on the things that we can't and we bypass and ignore the things that are sitting right in front of us.

(11:29):

Now, God might give you the opportunity to affect things in other states or around the world, but for the most part he's probably going to keep your responsibilities more local, much more local. So that's one thing we're going to have to do as parents is focus on our responsibilities, not talking about somebody else's failures or how the world needs to readjust itself.

(11:52):

How about you focus on yourself, your family, and maybe even your students, and then you might be able to shape them as they are moving throughout life and you can be a benefit to those people. So we have to appreciate our spheres of influence and we have to really kind of make the best of them because most people, as I'm mentioning here, just don't do that. If somebody is going to fail the biggest, it's not going to be with strangers, it's going to be usually with themselves, with their spouse, with their children, or if you're a teacher, your students, you will fail.

(12:32):

I also ran across an article because I like to keep my ear to the ground about what's happening in the world as far as education is concerned. And there was an article that said 13 high schools in Baltimore have zero students proficient in math, so they can't do basic mathematics. And one of the things that's happening throughout the entire world, and locally, is that education has taken a backseat to moral teachings or rather immoral teaching and of course to politics, people trying to gain power.

(13:06):

They're not educating people anymore because they don't want educated people. Educated people can kind of think for themselves and they would also start to question what they're being told. Right now in the United States, we have video cameras, we have all this stuff, and you can see something on live television and then people will tell you, "Well, that did not happen."

(13:28):

You can't even trust your own eyes because that didn't happen. We're going to lie straight to your face and you are supposed to believe it. This kind of stuff has happened most recently even from the White House where people can see that the current sitting president has no capabilities to actually do the job that he's sitting in the position for. Everybody knows it, but from the White House Press Secretary, they will tell you, "Well, this is all false information. These are deep fake videos and images." Even though people have seen things again, and again, and again, with their own eyes.

(14:02):

But once again, people that are uneducated, people that are being taught just to obey government authorities, they don't want people like that educated, "Just listen and do what you're told." Well, they're doing a very good job of it and parents are the biggest problem. We as parents are the ones supposed to teach our children, as teachers to teach our students.

(14:26):

See, every single opportunity impacts the future. It has a ripple effect of cause and effect. If you want to end up with a good product to not have your child in prison as an example from the Preschool to Prison Pipeline, then you're going to have to start early and then you're going to have to do everything you can to lead and guide and direct away from a life of criminality.

(14:49):

Not very difficult if you don't want your children to be immoral in everything you do, everything you say and every direction you give to your child, we are leading them down a moral path and then ended up with a desired result of a moral child, an obedient child, a disciplined child, a hardworking child who is now an adult and can take care of themselves.

(15:13):

See, a lot of problems that parents have is that they are always waiting for kind of a perfect plan. This happens in the field of education and parenting. They seem to think they have to understand everything before they do anything. And the thing is you don't because everything adds up. Every little thing matters. And so if you're talking about child-rearing, like in Deuteronomy 6, when you rise up, when you lay down, when you're walking by the way, everything you're doing is molding the child in a certain direction.

(15:47):

Every opportunity you get with another individual is an opportunity that if you don't squander it, can be used to promote your child and your students, propel them into the future of success. Because understanding the invaluable influence you can have that God's given you is very important. No one, absolutely no one has as much influence as you do over the people that God has given you to influence.

(16:19):

That's right. There's a lot of people out there fighting to influence your child. There are people in the music realm, the movies, the TV and all the rest, but nothing compares to the influence of a parent. This is the number one reason why the family is under attack. They know that the family is the number one, the number one promoter of religious faith. That's right. Before they can destroy somebody's religious faith, they first have to destroy those that are promoting it, those that are teaching it.

(16:56):

And of course that starts with the family, with the parents, the father and the mother. And Deuteronomy 6 as we read, that is the primary goal of the family is to promote obedience to your children, to God. And if people hate God as our normal, right now, tyrannical state does, it doesn't want children to grow up thinking that God's commandments are something that they have to keep or anybody else because they're going to get the idea in their head they will that not only do they have to obey, but other people do too, and not just them, but also institutions have to as well. Schools, businesses, even civil governments.

(17:40):

"It's wrong for me to steal. It's wrong for my friend to steal. It's wrong for my police officers that are in my local county to steal. It's also wrong for the federal government to steal as well." And this is why you have to guard your influence as much as you can. But mostly you just have to understand that your influence is stronger than anyone else and parents just don't utilize it.

(18:12):

They put their kids in front of TVs, they put their kids in front of iPads, they refuse to teach their children. When they're throwing tantrums, they don't stop them. And then all of a sudden you're getting kicked out of preschool and you never learn how to teach your child, never learn how to restrain your child. You put your child on drugs which are mind-altering drugs, child abuse, chemical child abuse, that is promoted by people who want to hate the family. Because they don't want the child to listen to the parents because if they listen to the parents, then the parents influence grow stronger.

(18:46):

And then they might teach them God's commandments, and then they might teach them how to build a godly family, and then they might teach them how to influence their community, and then their communities might influence their nation and we just can't have that. As a parent and as a Christian teacher, you have to understand that you're just unvaluable in certain areas. In other words, you don't have the ability to influence certain things, so don't even worry about focusing on that. Stop focusing on the things that you cannot affect and spend your time focusing on the things that you absolutely can affect.

(19:24):

And not only that, God has given you a gift of responsibility, a sphere of influence that he wants you to use, starting primarily with yourself, then with your spouse if you're married, and then definitely with your children and then going out from there, becoming a Christian teacher, if you can then do that as a Christian parent to a Christian teacher, and then your influence can grow even more and you can impact way beyond just your family.

(19:50):

Now, if you want to know what makes our enemies shiver in their beds, what nightmares that they have, their nightmare is that you just might listen to God. You just might take the gift of opportunity and responsibility you have with your children and take that seriously. You just might take the job of evangelism seriously and start discipling the nations. You just might do that because your influence is not a waste of time.

(20:25):

That's something we all have to kind of grasp. Your influence is never a waste of time. Everything that you do, every opportunity that you do, every time you point somebody in the right direction, every time you lovingly discipline somebody with positive and negative consequences just like God does to us, you're helping shape the world and how your child sees the world and how your students see the world and every moment, every moment is going to matter.

(20:56):

It's going to be pregnant with meaning, and eventually it is going to lead them in the right direction to the right place. And you get a reward for that, parent. You get a reward for that teacher. I just can't describe how fulfilling it is to be a parent and to see your children succeeding. I now have 11 children. My children are now getting older. My oldest one is now 22, my youngest is now seven. They're now getting married. They're having their own children. It's just a wonderful thing to see.

(21:32):

To see that your children are ending up in the right place because as God tells us to have faith in what he has told us to do, if you just utilize your opportunities, the ones God gives you, follow his commandments, do what he tells you, and you will be a positive, positive influence on your family, on your children, on your students, and yes, on your community and on your nation.

(21:58):

Don't worry. Do not worry for a second about all the terrible things out in the world that you cannot control, that you cannot influence because God has given that to someone else. The wonderful thing about God's army is that it is vast. I was reading a book by RJ [inaudible 00:22:17] this week, and he was talking about from the first century when the Christians began to be converted and the vast spread of Christianity and how quickly it was that Rome fell.

(22:30):

Rome was the world power at the time when Christ came on the scene. Where is Rome now? Rome is gone. Every nation has come and has gone, but Christianity continues to march on. All the evils of our world today will soon be forgotten. But not your good deeds. No, not your good deeds. Your good deeds will not be forgotten. If you, in good faith, do your job and influence people as a Christian parent and as a Christian teacher, your reward is not going to be lost.

(23:06):

However, you could also suffer the opposite fate, and that is a lack of reward, a loss of influence, a loss of opportunity, and you'll look back with regret instead of success. I encourage you not to do that. I encourage you not to be a person who looks back with regret on your own family, with regret on your own spouse, your own marriage, your own students that you could have helped and didn't because you are too distracted to be influencing those that God gave you as a gift to influence instead.

(23:40):

So I want to encourage every Christian parent and every Christian teacher not to squander the opportunities that they have and to use them properly so that God can properly use your influence to help others and to build his kingdom. Don't forget that. We are in a war and in this war we are going to win, and you can get reward for doing that.

(24:06):

Well, I want to thank everybody for joining me again today on Preschool Pioneers discussing opportunities that we have and the gifts that God gives us and how we should see them and utilize every moment to be a positive influence in our children's lives and in the lives of our students.

(24:27):

Well, thank you again for joining me for Preschool Pioneers. Hope to talk to you very soon. Thank you and God bless.

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