Now that this blog is a little over a year old, I have many prominent tags of men and women that I am especially devoted to listed in the far lower right. But I can scarce believe that so much time has passed without a single mention of my absolutely favorite scientist of all time, Dr. George Washington Carver. His memory has recently returned to me as we profile famous events and persons of the twentieth century in our little home school study of the last 500 years.
Carver is often covered in the public schools, especially during black history month in February, but he is portrayed merely as the African-American scientist who invented peanut butter and thousands of other uses for that famous legume. “Whoopty doo,” says the average student who either gets too much PB & J in his lunch box or may even be allergic to this great invention. But Carver was so much more than just a peanut scientist because his faith in the Creator caused him to seek the answer to perplexing agricultural and scientific problems not just in the laboratory, but on his knees. My favorite children’s biography of him attests to this and another one speaks of the cause he gave for the murder of our innocent children which will surprise the modern audience even more than his prayers.
We have grown numb in the 21st century to the legions of talking toys, violent video games, and the endless barrage of button-powered electronic distractions posing as educational talismans set to create virtual baby Einsteins out of our little darlings. Well, I’ve got news for you toy companies: NOTHING replaces the taste, touch, hearing and seeing of the mother or the subtle sounds of the natural world as the things which best bring up a child to be intelligent but also and more importantly LOVING toward his fellow human beings and the creation that God made.
We are rightly shocked at the deaths of innocent children from the hands of terrorist gunmen or insane madmen. But we have yet to make the connection between the growth of substitute, electronic baby-sitters and the rise of disconnected, unfeeling young people who become prey to equally disconnected and unfeeling ideologies that consider killing other humans as the ultimate destiny in life. The answer is not merely in limiting or boycotting the more violent ideologies, but in uncovering the deeper root cause.
And the root of this violent pandemic among children is literally in the roots, or rather our lack of roots, both spiritual and physical. In running our children around in metal boxes and engaging them with electronic surrogates of ourselves, we have hermetically sealed them off from an encounter with earth, the very stuff from which we were made. And wise men like George Washington Carver have this warning for us:
Thy murder a child when they tell it to keep out of the dirt. In dirt is life.
Yes, dirt. The ground that we trample on and misuse. The land that we fill with our broken electronic devices and depleted power sources. The earth that the meek are supposed to inherit. In dirt is our curse because of sin, but it also contains the secret of our life because of Christ’s resurrection:
To me, my dear young friends, nature in its varied forms are the little windows through which God permits me to commune with Him, and to see His glory, majesty, and power by simply lifting the curtain and looking in.
— quote in Carver: A Great Soul
Good ecology then, is not just good for the planet but a necessary ingredient in our soul’s salvation. May we teach it to our children before it is too late for them to learn it.