Buses are running, empty halls are now filled with the hustle and bustle of schoolchildren, while mothers and teachers are trading places so far as “vacation” is concerned. Yes, school days are upon us. In other homes throughout the land, the start of school means children and parents sitting down together to learn at home.
We all have our views of what school should be—what should be taught and who should teach it. Some say that a teacher’s personal choices or the curriculum that is used shouldn’t matter; but it does! It’s impossible for a teacher or curriculum to remain neutral because our actions betray the belief of our heart. Regardless of your ideas regarding curriculum and what it should point to, there is no denying that what is taught to this generation will be lived out in the next.
One can follow the changes that have taken place in education throughout America’s history; its evidences can easily be seen in society and in the church and in our government. The seeds which were planted in the classroom continue to grow and bloom into the beautiful flowers or the nefarious weeds that were intended.
The school classroom is not the only place teaching occurs. Much is passed on—intentionally and unintentionally—in the church and in the home. Unfortunately, many churches and homes have stopped being intentional in what they teach. No longer are current events discussed in light of the Bible; America’s people are no longer being taught the difference between the holy and the profane; and if the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom (which it is), then the church and the home are largely responsible for the mess that we are in. If we are not intentionally teaching the fear of the Lord and we are allowing the public schools in our area to reject the fear of the Lord, where else should the blame be laid?
It’s vitally important that we know what our children are being taught; it transforms them into the “flower” or the “weed” that they will become. It’s imperative that we speak to them from a Biblical worldview, explaining the rightness or wrongness of various situations. It’s important that we remind them that they are not accidents of an evolutionary nature; but rather, they were created in the image of God and their purpose is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.
Noah Webster,Father of American Education, reminds us of the purpose of educating our children and the importance of how it is done. “Every civil government is based upon some religion or philosophy of life. Education in a nation will propagate the religion of that nation. In America, the foundational religion was Christianity. And it was sown in the hearts of Americans through the home and private and public schools for centuries. Our liberty, growth, and prosperity was the result of a Biblical philosophy of life. Our continued freedom and success is dependent on our educating the youth of America in the principles of Christianity.”
I am not so naïve as to believe that every student will become a Christian or believe in the principles of liberty and virtue; however, without the solid base of true Christian principles, our nation will continue down the path it is currently and speedily taking. That path is one that is headed to self-destruction.
It’s like the man who goes to the doctor and hears, “If you don’t stop smoking, it’s going to kill you,” only to smile politely then light up another one in the parking lot as he heads to his car. The fact is that if we continue on in willful ignorance and self-indulgence instead of getting back to the basics that our country was founded on; if we don’t learn both the negative and positive lessons from history and act on them; if we neglect to “educate the youth of America in the principles of Christianity;” we will live out the title of Os Guinness’ book A Free People’s Suicide. We will have carried freedom to its demise as we march America to its extinction.
History is important; the Bible is always pointing to the past and asking people to remember and to consider. Journalist Bill Moyers candidly stated, “We Americans seem to know everything about the last twenty-four hours, but very little of the past sixty centuries or the last sixty years.”
Tocqueville warned, “A people with no memory of its past is like a mature man who has lost all recollection of his youth.” It’s sad but Americans from every generation today seem to have no sense of our history.
Winston Churchill wisely observed, “The longer you look back, the further you can see forward.”
And finally there’s Patrick Henry’s exhortation for learning history. “I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging the future but by the past.”
In a day when colleges offer history majors but don’t even require a U.S. history class and with so much rewritten history, we need to be ever diligent in seeking out the truth from primary sources and close secondary source materials. History for history’s sake might make you smarter than a 5th grader; but history for the sake of learning about failure and success, for knowing about who you are nationally and how that affects you personally, for understanding and appreciating what freedom is and why it’s important—that’s why we must help our children to enjoy history. Do yourself a favor and watch this 15 minute clip about history, liberty, and how it ties to God and our country.
We—you and I—must be a roadblock to the destination that many schools and curriculums are leading our children to. It’s our job to teach our children truth regardless of where they go to school. In an effort to securing the heart of our children we must show that we are interested enough to be involved in their lives, their thoughts, and their education. American parents have abdicated the throne of influence in their children’s lives long ago by relegating their education to the public schools and their spiritual instruction to the church.
Maybe homeschooling isn’t for you; you’re still responsible for what they are learning and need to speak into their lives. Perhaps you feel more Biblically inept than adept; take time to learn the Word of God and to know its Author. Spiritual, world, and national histories will affect our future; take the time to help your student understand its relevance. Truly these things will take devotion, both to our children and ultimately to our Creator.
“Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey. Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”
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