The Pied Piper: The Impact Of Children On Culture

What an influence children have had on our society. Throughout world history, the impact children have had on our world has been impressive. Just ask the mythical town of Hamelin.

The Pied Piper

After a town is infested by rats, the city council had to do something. Nothing worked. They tried construction, noise, poison, and harm to the rats. But, they couldn’t get rid of them. At their lowest point, a man came to the council and told them he could fix their problem. He had done it before in many places. After talking with the musician, they agreed to pay him $1000. And so they hired a Piper to play his sound and to hope that the rats would leave their town. And, of course, they did.

But, now rid of the rats, the council decides to go back on their word. Ungrateful of their new found freedom. They decided not to pay the Pied Piper. And so, the Piper returns to town with a different tune…

'And as he played, through the streets, there was a sound heard so sweet. Into the enraptured air of the town was a magical musical call to the children. Little hands clapping, and little feet dancing, and little voices laughing. Out came the children running, skipping, and dancing and following after the Piper and his music. The Piper led the children out of town and into the mountains. And no one in town could see the children; their running, their skipping, or even their dancing. Gone was the talking and laughing, gone was the joy and the little one’s prancing. The Piper played until every last child followed him to the mountain. Out of town. Out of sight.

But, not out of mind.

With the children gone and no laughing in town, nor running and dancing or joking around. The faces were sad, the shoulders were shrugged, the people were looking ahead for some love. The flowers seemed gone, the birds too were few, nothing seemed right from everyone’s point of view. With the children gone they were thinking to self, ‘why didn’t we think to love them ourself’.

Alas, as the council sat wondering and thinking and glum, someone came up with a plan to ease the situation they were in. A popular phrase came to them quick, that heaven’s gate is opened to those who would give. The council sent east, west, north, and south, to offer the Piper by word of mouth, silver and gold to his heart’s content, if he’d only return the way he went ,and bring back the children for their payment.

But when no Piper or music or children returned, the towns people realized they had been burned. They learned that price is not found or bribe ever able, to bring back the child and cure what now ails. And so in the place where the children had left, talking and playing and dancing on feet, the council made a decree that the place would be called, The Pied Piper’s street.

And opposite the place of that street was a church, whose windows were painted with the story of the peoples lost worth. A reminder of the reason they all were so down. How all of their children, each of their children, every last child was stolen from town.

Lessons From Hamelin

What can we learn from this great folklore story? What can we learn from this powerful story about the impact of the loss of children on a city? There are many lessons for the church as we apply the lesson of The Pied Piper of Hamelin. Here are 7 of them:

*By children, I am speaking of Infant-Teens
There is no greater influence upon a culture than its children. Asking the following questions and applying the following practices to the church can help safeguard it from losing our children. A strategic and proactive plan is critical to the future of the church. But, it should not take loss to learn this. We have a responsibility to raise this generation. If one generation loses its values and voice, where will the next generation get theirs?

When we lose what attracts children, we lose our children. Laughter, joy, spontaneity, and relationship are the things that attract children. The parking lot, the lobby, the hallways, and the ministry centers of the church should be filled with these. Lose these in the church and we lose our children. What is the church doing to attract and retain children? What we get them with, we keep them with.

At any cost we must embrace and promote the Word of God in our children. Great care must be taken to charge the atmosphere of the church with the Word of God in a kaleidoscope of doctrine in their language. Bring the bible alive in children's programming with human video, drama, skits, monologues, hands-on involvement, community application, and as much abstract art and fine art that you can. It is much easier (and less costly) to build spiritual children than it is to fix unspiritual men.

Learn to discern the many things that can steal away our children. Todays children are drawn to colors, stories, and sound. How about a new paint scheme? Change the décor? And even getting the right leaders in this crucial ministry is critical to organizational success. Who are the 'Pipers' leading our children? Training our children's directors and workers in the art of storytelling is a must. This is called sociology: understanding the times and knowing what to do about them.

Music is a powerful tool for reaching our children. The church must get better at music education and inspiration. Our energy and creativity in music will aid the church in teaching and inspiring the next generation with the message of Christianity. We cannot escape the presence of music in culture. Sure, we must use varied methods to reach them. But, to miss the power of melody would be a great tragedy. Music is the bridge that reaches into a young persons life. And the gateway for them to reach outward into the lives of their peers.

Invest in the things that create a culture for children. Leadership, programming,  curriculum, training, equipment, buildings, and budgeting must be a top priority in the Next Gen departments of the church. Look at the annual budget. And put your money where the children are. Because if we invest in anything else, there will be no children to enjoy these other investments. The surest way for the church to impact the culture and our society is to impact the families and children in the church first. Healthy families. Healthy church. Healthy culture.

Our culture will become oppressed when children are removed or devalued. Maturity and experience can be over-valued if there is a lack of passion and practice wed to them. We must have the wisdom of the aged and the passion of the young in an inter-generational movement of all time. This generation doesn't want to hear about the past. They want to see it. The older a society gets, there is a void of laughter and a play deprivation. When is the last time you played a game? Played with a ball? Made up a story? Dreamed a dream? When our memories have become more important than our dreams and visions, we lose our passion.
The transformation of our society begins with the formation of our children. Planting trees is a sure way to growing forests. And raising children is a sure way to build societies.  Mother Teresa said that if we want world peace, it begins with our children. Pope John Paul II said that the way of the world begins with the way of our children. Even Jesus spoke some very important words about children. Equating them to the Kingdom of God.

What an influence children have had on our society. And if we are wise, we will be careful to learn these simple principles from this mythical story of The Pied Piper. And assure the future of our nation will not end up like the mythical town of Hamelin.