Needless to say, the Standard Bearer is always interested in new readers.
No, I am not speaking now of subscribers, which we also like to obtain: for new subscriptions always help to ease the financial problems of the RFPA. But I am interested specifically in readers, and still more specifically: new readers.
At the risk of being called an idealist, I will assume that our magazine finds its way into all our Protestant Reformed homes. This ought to be the case, at any rate; and pastors and elders do well to look into this at the time of family visitation.
At the risk of being called a dreamer, I will assume that all the adults in our Protestant Reformed homes make it a practice to read our Standard Bearer, and that too, from cover to cover. This surely ought to be, a habit with us adults. Our magazine does us no good merely by adorning the magazine rack and eventually ending up in a paper drive. It purposes to instruct us in the truth; and this purpose it cannot reach unless we read it. But, as I said, I will assume that the Standard Beareris read regularly and thoroughly by the adults in our homes,—well, by almost all of them.
But who are the new readers?
Our children, potentially!
No, I do not refer to our little children: for they are not of an age to digest meat as yet. They must be fed with milk.
But I have in mind our bigger children, our teenagers, especially from, say, fourteen and fifteen years old and up.
As a general rule, I dare say, our magazine is read very little by them.
Yet what sound reason is there for such a situation?
Our young people have Beacon Lights. To be sure, they should read their own magazine, perhaps more faithfully than they sometimes do. Yet this is no reason to exclude the Standard Bearer from their lives. For our magazine offers a different kind of reading material. Besides, it is meant for our families. In addition, no more than the reading of Life is a reason not to read The Reader’s Digest, no more is the reading of Beacon Lights a reason not to read theStandard Bearer.
Secondly, beginning to read our magazine is necessary for the formulation of good reading habits on the part of our youth. It is not reasonable to expect our young men and young women suddenly to pick up and I read the Standard Bearer when they reach adulthood or perhaps establish their own homes if they have never read it before. On the contrary, it will take an abrupt change of reading habits to make adult readers of those who never were teenage readers.
Thirdly, our teenagers not only become capable of reading and digesting our magazine as they grow up; but the Standard Bearer also has much to offer them by way of instruction that will stand them in good stead as they prepare to take their places as adults in the churches. Especially in this day of rampant error and doctrinal indifference and spiritual laxity it is important that our young people imbibe all the sound instruction available, both for its present and its future benefits.
Hence, I offer these suggestions:
1. Young people, pick up this magazine and make a beginning at reading it regularly. It will surprise you what dividends, both of instruction and of increased interest, this will pay.
2. Parents, make it a point to urge and encourage your young people to become readers of our magazine. They need not begin by reading everything. But let at least a beginning be made,—say, one or two articles from an issue. And make it a point to-discuss something that was written in your family circle.
3. Pastors and elders, make it a point to inquire into the reading habits of your young people and to suggest the reading of the Standard Bearer as one phase of forming good reading habits.
4. Teachers, society leaders, catechism teachers, encourage and stimulate the reading of the Standard Beaver by bringing some article or some subject under discussion in our magazine into the class work or the after-recess program; or make the digesting of an article that is pertinent to your class work part of an assignment.
And above all, parents, do not fail to teach by example. If you do not read the Standard Bearer, you may expect that your children will follow your example.