Aim Small, Miss Small

By: Phil Williams

I had a discussion with a pastor recently about the weight of culture being pressed down upon our kids. At every turn it seems that kids are being led to values, lifestyles, and decisions that are in direct contrast to what parents want for their child. In the course of the conversation, my pastor friend said, “We must do a better job at equipping our kids for the fight that they are already in. Staying neutral is not an option.”

As the conversation unfolded, the pastor likened his point to the movie, The Patriot, starring Mel Gibson. With a storyline set in the time of the American Revolution, Gibson’s character, Benjamin Martin, is a plantation owner and a member of the Continental delegation from South Carolina.

In The Patriot, war is brewing and South Carolina’s leadership is debating whether to urge the Continental Congress to declare war on Great Britain. Martin is a veteran of the French and Indian War. Still jaded from his time in battle, he is a widower raising seven children on his own, and determined to stay neutral and to keep his sons from joining the fight.

At this stage in the narrative, Martin is a man with a proven record of being willing to fight. But he sees his own children and determines to stay neutral and take no stand one way or the other, believing that by doing so his children will be safer. Over his protestations, Martin’s oldest son leaves home on his own and joins the Continental Army, while his next son begs to also be allowed to do so.

There is a pivotal moment in the movie when his children can hear the sounds of battle not far from their home. The flash of cannon fire can be seen in the waning light of day. It is scary but the fight is still “out there”…until it isn’t. Martin’s oldest son stumbles into the house bleeding from a wound he has suffered in the battle just over the horizon from his own home. By morning, the front porch is covered in wounded soldiers, both British and American.

When British dragoons arrive, they kill Martin’s second oldest son and lead his oldest son away into captivity. The enemy torches Martin’s house and barn, leaving him and his remaining children to grieve in the ruins.

Suffice it to say, the war that has been kept at bay by staying neutral comes to Martin’s house anyway.

Here’s the first point of this amazing analogy. There is a war going on all around us. It is a culture war. A war for our values. Some would say it is a war for our very way of life. If you are a conservative, if you are a Christian, then you are a target of the most strident and avaricious liberalism ever allowed to gain a foothold in our country.

Truth be told, that war is targeting our kids, our homes, and our way of life. You may want to stay neutral and quiet. But sooner or later the sounds of the cannons in the distance will be on your front steps because the enemy doesn’t care a whit for your neutrality. They only want your surrender. If you won’t fight back, and stand for what you believe, they will try to take your children anyway.

Later in the movie, Martin is discussing the state of things and the loss of his son with a woman who looks at him and says, “You have done nothing for which you should be ashamed.” Martin replies, “I have done nothing. And for that I am ashamed.” Though he has intentionally not taken a stand, the war has come anyway. Staying silent has actually resulted in the loss of one child and the captivity of another.

My pastor friend pointed out that what comes next in the movie is key. With his house on fire, Martin comes to himself and runs into the burning house and up to the attic. He drags out an old chest and begins to retrieve his weapons of war. Then he grabs up rifles, powder, and ball, and runs back outside to his children.

What Martin does next causes some liberal heads to explode in modern America when he arms two of his sons. He reminds them what he had taught them about shooting; “Aim small, miss small.” He then leads his two sons to fight for the life of their older brother. His boys have been raised with key values, and taught some skills. He arms them, he leads them, and he takes the stand that perhaps he should have taken all along.

My pastor friend’s point was this: Not an actual call to arms, but an understanding that there is nonetheless a fight going on. A cultural fight that demands that we capitulate and move to the left. It is all around us, and some of you have likely already suffered some losses in that fight. But we cannot stay neutral.

We need to give them an example of an adult who cares enough to stand in the gap for them and to tell the world that they will not bring the fight to our homes because if they do it will go badly for them.

Yes, The Patriot is a great movie. But it is perhaps more so an analogy for our times. Let’s not be that man or woman who feels shame later for having done nothing.

We need to equip our children to understand what is right and wrong, with the tools of faith, character, confidence, love, assurance, and values. We need to teach them the culture war version of “Aim small, miss small.”

By: Phil Williams