Pumsy, The Magic Dragon

Five-year-old Stephanie sat absolutely still, her hands folded, her eyes closed. For a lively little girl, this was unusual behavior, and her mother was puzzled. "Stephanie, what are you doing?" No answer. "Stephanie, what are you doing?" "Stephanie!" Finally, the little girl opened her eyes. She explained that it was something she had learned at school. And she went on to describe what her mother recognized as classic Eastern meditation. It turned out that Stephanie was in a program called PUMSY: In Pursuit of Excellence. But it'd be more accurate to call it In Pursuit of of Hindu Philosophy. The techniques taught in PUMSY have all the elements of Hindu-style meditation, dressed up with cute fairy-tale characters. There's a dragon named Pumsy, along with a guide called simply Friend. Friend teaches Pumsy that her mind is like a pool of water: There's a muddy mind, which tempts her to think negative thoughts, and a Clear Mind, which can solve all her problems through positive thinking. The funny thing about this Clear Mind is that, the way it's described in the story, it doesn't sound like a mind at all. It sounds more like some separate power, or person. Friend tells Pumsy, "Your Clear Mind is the best friend you'll ever have.... It is always close to you, and it will never leave you." This sound suspiciously like religious language: I will never leave you nor forsake you. And a few pages later in the story, we read "You have to trust [your Clear Mind] and let it do good things for you." This "mind" sounds like some kind of divine power. And that's exactly what it is. The Pumsy story is just a fairy-tale way of teaching Hinduism. Hindu doctrine teaches that the human mind or spirit is part of God--a spark in the divine fire, a drop in the divine ocean. The Clear Mind is a euphemism for the divine spark within. What we're seeing here is New Age pantheism in education. It's not sold to teachers that way, of course. It's marketed as a way to teach self-esteem. The rationale is that teaching kids to look within to solve their problems makes them more self-reliant. PUMSY teaches youngsters to chant slogans like "I can handle it," "I can make it happen," and "I am me, I am enough." There's that religious language again--like God's name in the Old Testament: I am who I am. What PUMSY teaches is not self-esteem, it's self-worship. Educational programs like PUMSY are popping up all across the country. The cover may say it's a program in self-esteem or drug education or whatever. But at the core of so many programs today is a thinly disguised message of New Age pantheism. Most schools adopt these programs in good faith. Teachers often don't even recognize the underlying philosophy. So it's up to you--as parents and pastors--to find out what your children are learning; to teach them to discern true from false religion; and to equip them with spiritual weapons to fight the spiritual battle. And yes, that means children even as young as five-year-old little Stephanie.


Chuck Colson


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