That same day our history lesson suddenly jumped forward a few hundred years to World War II. The teacher said she had a surprise for us. “In the war, soldiers had to wear identification called ‘dog tags.’ While we study this section, you will get to wear your very own dog tags just like they did.” And there they were, my own shiny silver dog tags hanging from a chain, with my name, my daddy’s name, our address and phone number (Cypress 3-3363, if I remember correctly), my birth date, and something odd up in the right hand corner that no one ever explained, O+.
I suppose the strangest part of this whole World War II study was the “You are there” experience. The teacher said she wanted us to know what life must have been like for those poor people who lived in the war zone, so from then on, whenever she shouted, “Plane!” we would all dive under our desks with our hands clasped behind our necks until she gave the “all clear.” Far from being frightened by all of this, we were thrilled. As it happened, a couple of television series about the war were running that year, and it was like playing a part in it. None of us had ever been touched by the horrors of a real war, so it was just a big game to us.
After a few days, our war study ended. We were instructed to leave our dog tags at home, and, for some reason, the poor people no longer needed the food, so we all took our cans back home. Why none of us questioned any of this is beyond me. It was a simpler time, I suppose, when children just did as they were told without asking why.
I gradually forgot about that odd experience, but when I was a teenager studying American History I suddenly figured it out. On October 14, 1962 American satellites had just discovered Soviet missiles carrying nuclear warheads on the island of Cuba, and the Cold War was on the brink of becoming the hottest war ever fought.
We lived on the west side of Orlando, about halfway between Cape Canaveral and Strategic Air Command at MacDill AFB in Tampa, two prime targets. Should we be attacked while in school, the dog tags identified us until a family member could be located, the blood type expedited care if we were injured, the food fed us a few days if it took that long to find us a place to go, and all that “war” practice was to keep injuries at a minimum—from the normal things anyway. There was not much they could do about radioactive fallout.
I cannot imagine how it must have felt to send your child out alone in times like that, but, as I recall, no one stayed home. We sat every day with our dog tags jingling as we jumped up and down to the shout of “Plane!” My parents went to work every morning and so did the neighbors. Life went on, but we took some pretty elaborate precautions—it would have been foolish to do otherwise.
Things are not really that different now. We’re not afraid of bombs falling at any moment, but there are much worse things out there to harm our children. Are you taking any precautions? Do they know who they are and where they belong? Do they know what to do in case their faith is attacked?
Send them out well-armed. The doctrines of Satan, most notably humanism, lie between the lines of practically every school textbook. Look through them the first day they cross your threshold. “Values clarification” is just a fancy way of saying “situation ethics.” You need to know the teacher who is teaching it, and her own moral code. Talk to your children every night about things they have heard from teachers or friends. Start doing this their first day of school. If you wait till they are teenagers, it is too late.
The Cuban Missile Crisis lasted just a few days, but look how carefully the parents prepared “just in case.” You have a crisis today that lasts far longer. You need to prepare even more than those parents did. The “just in case” is a whole lot more terrifying.
Give ear, O my people, to my law; incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generations to come the praises of Jehovah, and his strength, and his wondrous works that he has done…that the generation to come might know them, even the children that should be born, who should arise and tell them to their children; that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments, Psa 78:1-4, 6,7.