Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Editorial: Curiosity and Wonder are Gifts From God

Glen Milam is director of Mt. Aetna Camp and Retreat Center Glen Milam is director of Mt. Aetna Camp and Retreat Center

It’s possible to take a good thing too far. Over the past decade of interacting with Outdoor School students, our staff has noticed that two well-intentioned mantras, “stranger danger” and “safety first,” have caused our young people to be fearful. I’ve seen students afraid to walk through a meadow under the canopy of a thousand stars, afraid to try a fresh raspberry that they just picked, afraid to sleep on a top bunk or dip their toes into a mountain stream. It is such a sad way to live while surrounded by the glories of God’s creation.

If you focus on the media, you would think we were in the middle of a major crime wave, but Department of Justice figures show crime rates are down 40 percent since the 1990s.

As Christians, we often add a third mantra, one that is somewhat contradictory to the others and an obvious misrepresentation of Scripture. We take a verse like, “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them” (Ps. 34:7), and tell the children, “As long as you trust in God, nothing bad will ever happen to you.”

At Outdoor School, we take safety seriously, but bumps and bruises are part of life and we shouldn’t stop living for fear of them. With the intelligence and desire God has given us and the guidance He provides, we are empowered to explore the world and all His wonders. Fear and darkness can often interfere, but we can still say with confidence, “Follow the Lord and, in the end, you will be on the winning side.”

--Glen Milam


Photo by Tom Hall via Flickr

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