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Your children’s children

WORLD | It’s time for us to build a new “Grandkids’ Media Legacy”

Issue: "2014 Books Issue," June 28, 2014

I wouldn’t exactly call it a panic attack—but I have to admit that it goes way beyond a merely casual concern. 

I’m worried, you see, about my grandkids. Implicitly, I’m worried about your grandkids as well. I worry about what they’re all going to be thinking, a generation from now, about foundational issues. 

How will they describe their faith? What will their concept of God look like? How will they define “family”? What freedoms will be important to them? What economic systems will shape their lives? How seriously will they hold the Bible? The U.S. Constitution?

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When I say I worry about my grandkids, and yours, it’s because I’ve been forced to confess that my peers and I are past the point of having our thinking very much shaped or changed. At 72, I’m almost as likely to see my peers’ names in the obituaries of my local paper as I am to bump into them at some event.

Even my five children, all grown and married and parents themselves, are beyond the years when I’ll do much more to affect their thinking. We chat about significant issues, I suggest things I think they should read and watch, and I pray for them, often and fervently. But changing their most important thoughts? That will probably be minimal.

But our grandchildren? It’s time, I say, to go for it.

That’s why, in the years the Lord still gives me, I intend to keep pouring myself into three major agencies of idea and heart formation. I urge you to do the same. Our churches, our schools, and our media all have a constant and pervasive influence—either encouraging or discouraging our grandsons and granddaughters to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.”

WORLD’s reader demographics suggest that you are likely to have been significantly involved through the years with your local church. Don’t stop now! Keep strengthening the witness of that body, especially to the young people who hear its message. WORLD’s statistics also suggest to us that you take seriously the God-centered education of the younger members of your family. Don’t quit! Help make those schooling enterprises strong and vigorous.

But what about the media your grandchildren will inherit? Will WORLD still be providing frequent and up-to-date news and analysis, helping readers and listeners and digital customers sort out the day’s news from a keen, Christian perspective? Or will your grandsons and granddaughters just hear about some effort in the distant past where such an effort flourished for a generation—but then fell by the wayside?

A significant number of you who are reading this column are men and women who have been part of the WORLD family for a number of years. A few of you have been with us from our earliest issues in 1986. Some of you, meanwhile, have come along more recently, but identified quickly with our mission. 

Of everyone in those several groups, I ask: Will you join a new cadre of front-liners who are trailblazers for a unique kind of journalism? Will you lend me a hand now in both clarifying and funding what we do for the generations behind you? I’m calling you the backers of a new “Grandkids’ Media Legacy.”

In exchange for your commitment, I pledge to send you a monthly newsletter focused on this whole topic of passing the Truth on to our children’s children. In discussing some of the practical issues we older folks regularly discuss—issues like healthcare in our later years, downsizing our homes, moving into a “second career,” helping our children with debt, participation in short-term missions, etc.—we’ll establish and work through a pattern of thinking and talking to each other in a God-centered manner.

If 50, 100, or even 200 of you will join such a group, I’ll pursue a fresh variety of ways for us to listen to each other’s ideas. If WORLD is to be a genuine help to the coming generations, we need such an exchange—including your best thoughts on funding such an enterprise well into the next generation. We’ll steer a careful course. We’ll avoid the “mission drift” that so typically pushes even strong-minded efforts toward the left, but also the rowdy-on-the-right mindlessness that speaks only to the choir and fails to convince anybody at all. 

Will you join the discussion? Jot down a couple of ideas—briefly—and send them my way, either to my email below or by regular post. It just might be an important first step in earning a deep-down expression of gratitude from a few of your grandkids.

Joel Belz
Joel Belz

Joel, WORLD's founder, writes a regular column for the magazine and contributes commentaries for The World and Everything in It. He is also the author of Consider These Things.

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