The gods of Education
- Wednesday, August 16, 2006
"Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus." Acts 4:13
Will it be said of me, "She has been with Jesus." Would I rather they say, "she is bright, witty, fun, strong or capable?" Peter and John were unlearned men. The rulers and elders were disturbed and came to accuse them. Yet they had to admit a power demonstrated by two ordinary men. This power comes from being with Jesus. This power allowed the rulers to see Christ in Peter and John.
An even harder question, will it be said of my children, "they have been with Jesus." While math is important, and grammar skills well and fine, reading the classics enriching, and high SAT's nice, they are no substitute for being with Jesus. Educational success will impress others. Never will it be more important than Jesus.
Is our quest for God priority? What school subjects do we skip on a busy day? Bible? Do we serve each other in love and attempt pleasant service, or have a chore list our children must meet to win our approval as part of their educational training? Do we come along side them as a helper in their work? Do we marvel at the creation of God during the zoo field trip, or do we only tell our children about the characteristics of pachyderms? How much time do we allow our children for their personal study with God? Do we allow them the time necessary, a time that works for them? Do we go in our room and shut the door? Do we show them we need and WANT to be with Jesus? Are we only careful to exercise their mental muscles with drills and tests? Or do we allow our children the freedom of failing spiritually and learning to press on? Do we find ourselves reminding ourselves or others how much better academically homeschoolers fare? Do we find ourselves prideful about the homeschool movement because of academic achievement? Do we spend more time praying for our children's spiritual growth or preparing lessons for their academic achievement? Are we smug in our intellectual understanding of the Bible? Arrogant because of the verses we have memorized? Are we critical of others intellectual ability, and base their worth on their test scores? Do we model first our loving Savior or a teacher with an academic agenda?
Recently a mama wren discovered the little birdhouse my children made. Perfectly situated outside of our bay window, we were able to observe mama wren building her nest. Sitting on her nest, day after day, she became our sweet friend. Some days she would calmly sit, as we opened the bay window and talked to her. Some days daddy wren brought her food. Each morning I checked for signs of her brood hatching.
The last morning I checked, there the birdhouse lay, lopsided in the branches, the nest partially torn form the home. The small, lifeless baby birds lay on the ground below. For days it bothered me. I understand about nature. But we delighted in that bird family. And mama wren had invested so much care and tenderness day after day. In an instant her chicks were lost despite her preparation. Because I felt sad each time I passed the window, I asked the Lord what he could teach me through this.
Immediately I thought, despite mama wren's nurturing care, the enemy was lurking. Her babies were defenseless. They could not fight the predator. The birds had not yet grown a feather, and could much less fly. I am sure I love my trusts more than a bird loves her children. How can I protect my children day after day?
I can give them spelling practice, diagramming, water colors and Italian opera. I can give them great novels even before they lose a baby tooth. I can teach phonics at an early age. I can use the best products. I can hire tutors and on line help. I can hold them accountable. I can study with them. I can encourage them. I can be proud of their research papers and mathematical formulas. I can ready them for the time of college or career. In fact, the god of education would tell me it is the most important thing I do.
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