There is a video circulating the internet in which a four-year-old Texan boy demonstrates his ability to associate each letter of the alphabet with a Biblical scripture. It’s impressive, and if you’ve ever attempted to memorize scripture, it’s humbling to see a kid knocking it out of the park.
There is of course many people who would find this video not cute, but sad, and maybe even upsetting. They would say that the boy’s parents have brainwashed him, and I would agree. They have, but so what?
Brainwashing is not necessarily a bad thing. Stigmatized as the word may be, American society already allows for many forms of brainwashing that align with our societal beliefs. We believe education and self-actualization to be important, so we repeatedly tell our children to stay in school and pursue their dreams in hopes they’ll adopt our worldview. That’s brainwashing, and that’s okay because it’s normal.
The boy is a byproduct of a family that clearly believes it ought to be normal for one to know the truths of the Bible. So, they have equipped their son not that he would be restricted, but that he might be prepared for a life free from the lies of this world that would pull him away from God’s truth.
If you are not a believer, consider for a moment how immeasurably cruel it would be to believe that after this life exists an eternal life in which we will spend forever, either with God or without, and then consciously choose to raise up your children without an awareness of this reality. Nothing would be more hateful or potentially harmful.
And if you are a believer, consider the example of this family. You may be reluctant to pass on your beliefs to your children lest you should be accused of brainwashing and religious force-feeding. But if you really believe what you say you believe, then how does it make any sense to consciously allow your child(ren) to stray from the good and safe path of Christ? You teach your child was is important. You teach them that which you believe will equip them for success, happiness, and the like. Why then would you not teach them to honor, obey, and trust God if you believe He is honorable and worthy of our trust and obedience?
It’s not brainwashing if it’s the life-saving truth.