I’m not going to take the time to lay out all of Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development
. But a brief synopsis is that most people go through 4 stages:
1. How do I avoid punishment? Or “I do good because I might get punished for doing bad.”
2. What’s in it for me? Or, “I do good because I will be rewarded.”
3. What does society expect of me? Or, “I do good because I fit in that way.”
4. What does the Law expect of me? Or, “ I do good because it is the best way to keep a functioning Society.
Why this idea of “Discipling” kids strikes me as very ominous, is that it takes advantage of the stage of moral reasoning that kids are in. The punishment is derived from God's word. When someone becomes a lesson leader for these groups they sign a pledge to adhere to the group’s lesson plans.
This group keeps their lesson plans secretive, and in several recorded cases has refused to allow parents to see them. In other accounts, when parents have started to ask questions, they are no longer allowed into the classrooms. Granted I only have empirical evidence of these claims. But they are repeated from several parts of the country in different local news papers. They do teach kids to recruit other kids. They give them interesting toys and direct them to play with those items where other kids can see them and ask questions, and they are told to encourage those kids to join up so they can have the toys. In several cases, teachers are handing out fliers to children and encouraging them to join. They advertise in school announcements. These things give every appearance to a child that they are approved of by the school.
There are parents who have joined up solely to gain access to the training materials. Some of the lessons being taught are that:
1. No matter how much good the kids do, they will always be dirty in the eyes of god.
2. They deserve ‘infinite punishment’.
3. They deserve death and punishment in hell unless they accept their version of the savior.
4. They teach total obedience to the scripture.
It appears that they are using every tool available to recruit kids in what they call the 4/14 window, because they know that habits ingrained in children throughout that age are more likely to stick with them throughout their lfe.
Right-wing-crazies like to talk about a “New World Order”, this group holds classroom meetings in 3400 schools in America. They open new groups every week in schools in communities here. This is a recruitment tool for them, and there is something in the back of my brain that just screams that this is sinister, and needs opposition. I a not a parent, and I never will be. I am an uncle to seven kids, and those kids are precious to me. I worry about their futures, and the idea that fundamentalists are trying to create a theocracy by instilling their beliefs in those kids while they are at those early stages of development, the idea that this group is using fear and marketing persuasion techniques on these kids, is troubling beyond what I have words to express.