Before I decided to name our second son Simon, after Simon of Cyrene, I had briefly considered naming him “Casper” in honor of Casper ten Boom. (When I say “briefly”, I mean to say that it was a name up for discussion for about 10 seconds. After that my husband either laughed or immediately said “no” and life went on.)
Never-the-less, I love Casper ten Boom, and I would love to have been his neighbor. I would love to have been given the opportunity to wander into the Beje any old time and bend this dear man’s ear. You see, Casper ten Boom was the father of Corrie ten Boom. If I could ask Casper anything, it would be about how he raised the amazing children that he did.
What I find intriguing about good ole Casper, isn’t simply that he raised children who faithfully and courageously helped to hide Jews and then themselves ended up in German prison camps. Rather, what amazes me is that Casper raised kids, such as Corrie, who said that “Jesus was as much a member of the ten Boom family as anyone”. Corrie once said of her childhood years, “It was just as easy to talk to Jesus, as it was to carry on a conversation with my mother and father, my aunts, or my brother and sisters.”
I want this for my kids.
So how did Casper do it? Did their church have an amazing children’s ministry? Vacation Bible School? A rockin’ cool youth group?
None of the above, actually.
By all accounts, Casper and his wife took their children to a traditional liturgical church with no extracurricular programs. That would hardly make it to the top of anyone’s preferred church list these days. And yet these days, kids are often falling away from the faith of their fathers in spite of all the circus-like energy we spend trying to get them excited about Jesus. Perhaps we would do well to reconsider simplifying and authenticating our efforts again. Perhaps we would do well to start this at home.
It sure seemed to work for the ten Boom’s. If I were to ask Casper how it was that he managed to raise four faithful kids, I imagine he would start by inviting me over to the Beje, first thing in the morning. That is when he, his kids, his wife, and his sisters-in-law (because they all lived there too) met in the kitchen to read scripture and pray together every day. They started the day with the Lord. They ended their days with Him too. Casper’s kids were raised on scripture and an undeniable sense of the tangible presence and love of Christ in their home.
If I took Casper up on his invitation and showed up early one morning at the Beje, I imagine he would smile kindly at me, and remind me that ministry can be quite simple, actually. Then he would gesture towards a chair at his table and invite me to join them. “Faith begins at home,” he would say.