By: Frank L. Hoffman
On 30 May 1998, in a rural newspaper, this photo and a short story appeared. This 3-1/2 year old boy is shown with his "catch", a 13-1/2" brown trout, which he caught in one of his father's "secret fishing spots". The article says that he is very proud, and a broad smile can be clearly seen on his face. He has been taught well. He has received praise and notoriety for his accomplishment. He has learned a very tragic and life-scarring lesson: "If I kill another one of God's creatures, people will continue to praise me for it." He has lost all sense of love and compassion for the fish, and probably for other lives, too. The fish's life is of no value. It is all right to cause it severe pain in the process of catching it. Or, he has been lied to, and told that the fish doesn't feel any pain. He has also learned that it's acceptable to allow the fish to suffer the agony of suffocating to death. Another young sensitive heart has been hardened against feeling the suffering and pain of others.
In Isaiah 11:6-9 we are told:
6 The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.
7 The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest.
9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.
Unfortunately, the child of our newspaper story can no longer be the child of whom Isaiah speaks. We all need to recognize the life-long harm we are causing our children as we sanitize violence in our society, and then teach it to our children in this manner.