Back to school, back to God
The lumbering yellow behemoths are loose on our streets again, winding their way through the country side taking captive all the children between five and eighteen to deliver them to eight hours of certain drudgery.
Fortunately after the hours of forced attention, with a benevolent gesture of mercy, the once free and clueless urchins of summer return to their homes burdened with the chains of homework and deadlines to fill the next 10 months of their learning process. Thus are the visions of a six grade boy facing the middle year of his sentence, not out of the beginning years quite yet, but facing a seemingly endless routine of educational endeavor and to what end?
I look at my grandson and have some of the same question in my own heart. The education he will receive in today's educational system is far different from the one I received and much removed from the days when his great-grandfather walked the hallowed halls of school. But the question is whether or not this education will adequately prepare him for the challenges he will face in life? Are the skills he will receive adequate for meeting the type of career demands which will be required of him?
Will the math teach him how to make a budget, balance a checkbook, or figure out the mileage his car gets, or will he simply rely on a computer for answers, never really knowing the process of the calculations required? Will he truly learn of the sacrifice of George Washington and the brave men of Valley Forge, or will he just "Google" the date of Washington's crossing the Delaware without any sense of the danger, of the ice, of the fear, and of the mighty purpose and result of the battle to come? Maybe he will just find the specifics of Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze's painting of 1851 and never know what really happened on Dec.25, 1776. Or maybe he will someday find the disheartening news that there were other presidents before George Washington under the Articles of Confederation.
There will always be a struggle to determine what our children should be taught and the skills they will need for life, all too often we put our emphasis on success in the educational process of our children. We want them to be smart, to be powerful, to be leaders, to achieve great things, but we fail to teach them to be faithful, thoughtful, compassionate, good people and give them no foundation for the beliefs which will make any success have meaning. In a parable Jesus asked the question: "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?" Matthew 16:26 (ESV)
Before you blindly consign your child to the yellow behemoths serving the machinations of higher learning, maybe it would be wise to ask yourself what is important and involve yourself in the shaping of your child's future. Would it not be better that your child receives a well rounded education including the values of faith and belief, skills of heart and soul, in addition to facts and figures which the local system offers?
On Sunday morning put them in the car and go to your church school, make sure they are taught stories of faith and love, the truth of God and his purpose for their lives. You have a responsibility to make their wisdom complete, do not dare fail them.
Rev. David Turner is the pastor of Barnwell Presbyterian Church.
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