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A Rural Christian’s Reflection on Left-behind Children

A Rural Christian’s Reflection on Left-behind Children

The home of a left-behind child The home of a left-behind child (unicef.org)
ByCCD contributor: Shen Gao May 24, 2017
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The issue of left-behind children is one of the most common and crucial issue in modern Chinese society today. Some suggest that the rural church should do something about it. Well, in my opinion, the only thing the rural church can do at this point is to change the parenting ideas of rural parents.

If the church could do something, here are things you need to consider first:

First of all, the rural church is incapable of changing the current situation. Even if rural believers hurt their children, let alone foster the issue of the left-behind children, don't expect the church to do something at this point.

Secondly, the rural church can do a few things for left-behind children. Moreover, it's too late for the urban church to open kindergartens since community-run nurseries spring up all over the countryside. The education the nurseries provide would be unqualified since their main purpose is just to offer care to children. It's improper to set up foreign kindergartens in the rural areas.

Third, I find it unrealistic to establish enterprises in the countryside despite the fact it can promote the return of rural parents from cities. In addition, the church is required to have conditions to do that. I think that it can only help certain regional places because it seems to be impossible to move all the companies across China to the villages.

Fourth, preaching the right concept on family is the most urgent thing the church should do for this special group and it is also a key to the problem. What's more, it is within the church's reach. The right concept is that what children need most is their parents, who ought to put their children in the first place before work. The church should provide the motivation to parents to change themselves. If there is a shortage of motivation, children will still lack paternal and maternal love even if their parents are with them. Start with transforming the church to change society. Truth influences the church, then the church influences the society.

The issue of left-behind children primarily stems from family concepts. Although it is generated by the economy, the major cause lies in that parents don't have the motivation for change. The issue is pressing but it is unlikely to be changed immediately. The change in the current situation of the children begins with the change of the concepts of their parents regarding their parenting.

Translated by Karen Luo

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