I was talking to my daughter, yesterday, catching up on the kids and all their goings on. Now that Valé (my oldest granddaughter) is in first grade, they’ve had the addition of homework enter their world. Trying to make sure they do their part on the school nights they have her (she splits time between her parents’ homes), Emmie was pulling her hair out, not just over the sheer volume of homework, but the difficulty of the homework itself.

“Mom, they’re using words I’ve never heard of to refer to the numbers, and these are supposed to be addition problems, but they involve multiplication AND subtraction! Where are the flashcards? Why aren’t they taking each number and learning it through before moving to the next? You know, like learning the 1’s…1+1=2; 1+2=3; 1+3=4?”

Honestly. Where ARE the flashcards??

Later, she shot me a picture of Brody. He had started crawling the day before, so I was expecting it to be a video of his cruising skills, but when I looked, this is what I saw…


Um…SERIOUSLY? The little guy is only 6 months old, and he’d been crawling for less than 24 hours! What happened to perfecting the crawl, or pulling up on the furniture first, for crying out loud??

I went to bed last night thinking about them, my little first grader with her “addends” and my stand-alone 6 month old, both with knowledge beyond their age, but lack of knowledge for their age. They are a picture of our society today. We move so fast in this world, now, that we seldom have time for the basics. They are implied through more complex conjectures to help us handle life as we know it, but if someone asked for an explanation of the basic idea, we likely couldn’t give one.

And the next generation? A teenager can quickly hand you change when the register’s working, but can’t manage if it breaks down. They can give you the answer to a complicated math problem with a calculator, but if asked to quickly tell you what 8 times 7 is, you’d probably get a blank stare. They are bombarded by imagery and media that is miles beyond what they are cognitively and emotionally equipped to handle, or even understand, and they are acting out on those concepts as adults without the benefit of learning the basics of being a child.

Basics, in anything, build the foundation for what comes next. If you try to do what comes next first, it might work for a little while, but there is going to come a time when you’ll need to step on a firm foundation of knowledge and your foot will go right through the floor. It will have no substance. Trust me on this, because I have a tendency to run ahead, especially in my faith. You set aside the basics to jump into the deep end and get ahead of God, you’ll find you can tread water for only so long. Better to stand on the firm ground He’s provided, so when the water starts to get choppy, you’ll have firm footing.

Yes, in a world where more is better, and most is best, the ones who really win out are those who can grasp first things first.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m got to go make a set of flash cards and get them in the mail. Not sure what I’m gonna do about that baby…

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40 NIV

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 ESV