Thursday, August 26, 2010

Educating Children Pt 1: The Goal of Education

In this, my first post on 'Educating Children', I thought I'd start by asking the question, "What is the goal of childhood education?", then giving what I believe the bible says is the answer to the question.

How we answer this question will set the course for how we will go about educating our precious gifts from the Lord. And remember Men (and Ladies reading) we only get one chance to raise and educate our little ones. When it's done, it's done. You can't start over!

To preface my answer let me first turn to scripture, as this is good to do being a Christian!

Let's see what the bible says about education:

Genesis 1:1 1 ¶ In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 2:16-17 16 ¶ And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat;
17 "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 4 ¶ "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!
5 "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
6 "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
7 "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
8 "You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
9 "You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (emphasis mine)

Ephesians 6:4 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (emphasis mine)

So why all the scripture on a Christian blog you ask? Good question. Let's try and answer it.

Obviously, if this were a sermon or lecture, I could systematically expound on each verse, support it, sustain, etc., etc.. This being a blog, I don't have that liberty. But let me at least say that I chose these from among the whole bible because they begin the process of laying a foundation for the the fact that God cares deeply how we as parents think and act and how we as parents teach our children to think and act. This is called orthodoxy (what we believe), and orthopraxy (how we act based on what we believe).

We see from the very beginning that God had an ideal in mind for his creation when it came to right belief and right conduct. He wanted them to obey Him and see the world as He sees it. When they didn't and that ideal was compromised, the result was mankind's loss of God-consciousness and him becoming self-conscience. One minute he's eating fruit in his birthday suit with his lovely wife Eve, the next minute he's hiding from God with leaves covering up his nakedness that only became an issue after he became a sinner, then began blaming his wife for his sin. Sharp contrast and poor headship!

So what about us and this post? OK, here's my answer. I believe the goal of childhood education should be to help our children see the world as God sees it, and help our children to act in this world as God intends for them to act. Any educational system that doesn't lead our children toward this goal is leading them down the wrong road in the wrong part of town and only the most diligent of parents will be able to overcome what is being taught to their children. It's Eden revisited; "Hath God really said?"

Can children who are being taught at Government Schools grow up to be Godly individuals? YES they can, and I know many who have. In fact, I'm a product of the Chicago Public Schools educational system myself. But more importantly, I'm a testimony of God's grace as well! But does this educational system make raising Godly individuals more difficult? The answer again is YES! I'm just being honest. If we Christians can't speak openly and honestly on these vitally important issues, then who can? If you don't hear this from someone who loves you as a brother in the Lord, then who will you hear it from?

As Christians, we cannot, and I repeat, we cannot separate education from our faith. A good education will help to strengthen our faith, not weaken it! All that we do in this world is an act of worship unto the Lord, including how we educate our children. Consider this question: Is acceptable worship rendered when we educate our children with an educational philosophy that at it's core, teaches that God is irrelevant and that all gods are equal? I'll let you wrestle with the answer to that. But remember, God doesn't stand at the top of the list of acceptable gods. Besides Jehovah there is no other God!

So let us consider whether or not the method we've chosen for our children to receive their education will in fact accomplish the goal of educating children. Regardless of what method you choose for your children; government schools, private schools, home school, or some other, God will still hold you as the parent, and Father's especially, responsible for how your children turn out!

So let us think deeply on this issue, and when we've all made our decisions, let us pray for one another and seek to help one another in raising up a Godly generation of young people!