# X Commandment… For the Children’s Sake

X: Never forget passing on what is good doesn’t happen by chance.

Did your mother read out loud to you and encourage you to do  creative art projects by filling your house with books and art supplies and music?

Pass it on!

My mother and sisters read terrific books out loud to me. I passed that on — thank God — to my kids. Dad played classical music and I’ve played it for my children and grandchildren.

We’re not going to pass on what was good about our childhood to our children by magic. Just because your grandfather took you museums, and gave you uninterrupted no-cell phones attention or just because your father took you to work with him, then took the afternoon off and took you to the art museum, doesn’t mean your daughter will have that same blessing.

Literacy of any kind ends with each generation unless the blessings are passed on, on purpose.

Did you grow up knowing Bible stories and Greek mythology or Roman history? Will your children have that gift? Not unless you read them the Bible and Greek mythology etc.

Whatever good shaped you that seemed “normal” at the time wasn’t normal at all. The good, the beautiful and the true you experienced won’t become part of your child’s life unless you make certain choices and stick with them.

Remember: they’re starting from zero and won’t inherit the good done to you by osmosis. It’s up to you.

(to be continued in this space tomorrow…)

To book Frank Schaeffer to speak at your college, church or group contact him at Frankschaeffer.com 

Frank Schaeffer is a writer and author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back .

About Frank Schaeffer

Frank Schaeffer is an American author, film director, screenwriter and public speaker. He is the son of the late theologian and author Francis Schaeffer. He became a Hollywood film director and author, writing several internationally acclaimed novels including And God Said, "Billy!" as well as the Calvin Becker Trilogy depicting life in a fundamentalist mission home-- Portofino, Zermatt, and Saving Grandma.

  • http://patheos Threeten2yuma

    Tru dat ! Love how you also snuck in the Bible. ;)

  • James Jarvis

    One of the great joys of my life was my mother reading to me and my brothers and sisters. I still love to read, as do my children and grandchildren. I always give them books for Christmas, and I put a lot of thought into choosing what I hope will be just the right book. The most valuable thing I have to give them is my time.

  • http://Patheos threeten2yuma

    “Boys aren’t like girls. See, you have all your plumbing hidden. Ours is right out there swinging in the wind. You can pretend you don’t have anything down there at all, but that’s not true. It just makes you hypocrites feel more holy, as if you have the right to look down your nose at men. But a penis is a fine, stand-up sort of thing. No fakery about it! I mean we all know where we stand. Right, Calvin?

    . . . .

    “But I ask you girls: Who was the man after God’s own heart?” Dad waited. No one spoke. “I’m talking to you, Elsa,” snapped Dad, and he stopped smiling.

    “King David,” whispered Mom.

    “Ha! And was he some kind of eunuch? Did he talk about his ‘Little Thing’ and his ‘Precious Seeds’? No! Damn your stupid euphemisms! He charged, dick out straight into the Philistine throng, then speared himself everything in a skirt that moved! They were still bringing him virgins to warm his bed when that horny old bastard was a wrinkled geezer and lay dying! And Solomon was just like the old man. What did he have, Elsa, a thousand wives and concubines? Don’t forget the concubines, Elsa! We’re not talking about chopped liver!”

    Please, oh please, Frank, tell me that this wasn’t all just the fiction created from your own wicked imagination! Please tell me that a conversation just like this one at least once . . . just once, oh please . . . took place around the Schaeffer dinner table! Because I have to know, Friend . . . I have to know that I’m not alone in this world!

  • http://Patheos threeten2yuma

    Oops, sorry. I forgot the attribution for the above quoted material: Zermatt, Frank Schaeffer (2003)

  • http://Patheos threeten2yuma


    Unless you’ve got something really super-duper for Commandments XI and XII, how about we just call it a day at number X. I mean, for one thing, why the hell should you get two more Commandments than The Almighty, Himself, anyway. And, besides, with all due respect, I think that you’re kinda running out of steam here, Pal.

    When I was a young man, newly minted as a “Born-Again Christian” at age twenty, and, even later, as a man of the still young twenty-something married to a beautiful and godly Christian woman, and, later still, as a should-be-mature-enough-to-know-by-now young father of two children who my bride and I hoped to raise to become godly Christians, themselves, I tried, but always failed, to live up to even my own ideals of what a “godly Christian” should be, let alone to live up to the principles and prescriptions found in Holy Scripture . . . and never mind the surrounding church culture with all of its alternating encouragement and hypocrisy in which I was both an active member and participant. Basically, in raising our own children and now helping to raise our grandchildren, we did and do the best we could and still can. And, by God’s Grace, that’s been enough so far. But who knows, because “it ain’t over ’til it’s over,” is it?

    I believe I’ve learned something in the intervening 36 years . . . basically the Bible’s got us all pegged; i.e., we’re all wretched sinners damned to Hell and on the fast track to Perdition . . . unless Somebody does something to save us! My sources for this conclusion are: 1) my own introspective observations (I’m enthralled watching myself, as is any good narcissist); 2) my experiences in positions wherein I get to see “behind the scenes” of the lives of other people (leadership in a church and also a profession that requires my reading police reports day in and day out are two such positions I’ve had in my life); 3) my reading the Bible (“Truth” with a capital “T”); and 4) my exposure to great art of all kinds (all real artists tell the “truth” with a little “t,” as best they can).

    I have a good friend who assures me that “it is in our striving that we are perfected.” This thought has provided me with some measure of comfort, and, who knows, it may even be true, but I doubt that it is. It seems to me to be what the Bible calls “a way that seems right to a man, but the end, thereof, is the way of death.” No, I think that I know myself well enough by now to know that no amount of even eternal striving is ever going to perfect me . . . or anyone else, for that matter! But I have found one passage in all of scripture upon which I hang my everlasting hope.

    And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew:


    Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

    And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

    (Luke 23:38-43)

    I think that it’s real important, vitally important even, for our children and grandchildren to be seeing us striving for the best that is in, and also all around, us. Hopefully, they will emulate that. But it is even more important that they see how we deal with sin, which is both our natural state and our deadliest danger. Do they see us admit our own wrongs and seek forgiveness from the one(s) we’ve wronged? Do they see us readily extend forgiveness to those who have wronged us, even if those wrongdoers never seek our forgiveness nor ever “deserve” it? And, finally, do they see us look to the Lord Jesus Christ in a sincere hope of both His Resurrection and our own redemption?

    In all of Scripture, it is only to the wretched and utterly vile so-called “thief on the cross,” who apparently looked upon Jesus with what must have been the essence of “saving faith,” did Jesus ever utter the words, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” That fact right there has to mean something. I believe that it does. I know that I want more than anything else to one day hear those words spoken to me. I believe that I will.

    Love, -3:10