Chuck Terrill: Protect children from fear with good memories

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Growing up in a small town will imprint you for life.

Approximately 25 percent of the man or woman you are today came from your environment. The rest of you is comprised of the people you have met, the books you have read, and the emotions you have experienced. So, being from a small town is an important part of who we are. 

When you grow up in a small town, you have small town memories. Good memories. I remember riding a bike. Flying a kite. Playing little league baseball with your friends. Going to the library. Fishing in the Little Arkansas River. Getting a soft drink at the counter at Rexall Drug Store. Looking in the window at the Buster Brown Display at Barney’s Shoe Store. Watching a domino game at Mike's Barber shop. Hanging out at Preston's Pool Hall.

In my mind, my childhood is like a Norman Rockwell illustration. The scenes are vivid with Americana. There is love, community, fun, and safety. I do not remember fear. As children, we were protected from fear.

My grandchildren's memories are not going to be like a Norman Rockwell painting. They also live in small towns, but they are ever cognizant of fear. They will remember the Boston Marathon bombing. They have the names of devastating hurricanes etched into their memories. They will recollect theater and college campus shootings and stabbings.

They have heard of mosque, church, and synagogue shootings. They know about radical extremist Muslims and U.S. Embassy bombings. Global warming and Gulf oil spills pollute their minds. Violent video games occupy their leisure time.

We can protect our children from fear. Turn off the T.V. Go outside and play with your kids. Take them fishing. Fly a kite. Visit with your neighbors. Climb a tree. Read a book. Ban violent video games. Go window shopping in your own small town. Have fun. Have faith.

And please, introduce your children and grandchildren to Jesus. Sunday school is still a place that is right out of a Norman Rockwell painting.

“Perfect love casts out all fear” (1 John 4.8)

Chuck Terrill, who has doctorates from Master Theological Seminary and Trinity Seminary, is the senior minister at First Christian Church in Cassville. He may be reached at 471-847-2460.