It was Mark Twain who once quipped, “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” Obviously, Twain was recognizing that there is far more to education than learning to “read, ‘rite, and ‘rithmatic”. Education is far more than the passing down of academic mechanics—it is the transfer of a way of life. Stop and think about that. Let that sink in. The education of your child isn’t simply how to factor polynomials, diagram sentences, or parse Latin. It is communicating to them a set of morals, ethics and spiritual values and realities. It is showing them how to respond in the face of challenges, crises, hardships and heartaches. It is showing them how to be honorable in victory and defeat.
The modern education system has largely failed to prepare young people for life because it has treated academics as a system to equip them for making money – not for successfully navigating the ups and downs of life. Education should make a man or woman, boy or girl, truly happy, for it should touch on the things that are most near and dear to the most important realities of life. Of course, we need skills that provide the goods and services that humanity needs. Learning a trade or skill that one can exchange for money is very important. We must have such if we are to provide for ourselves and our families. But this is an extension of our education, and not the fabric of it.
1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us that whatever we do, even if it is eating and drinking, we are to do ALL to the glory of God. Not to man. Not to ourselves. No to the gods of convenience and ease. Everything we take action for or against, pursue or set aside, as believers must be in this one context: is what I am doing, and the way I am doing it, being done for the glory of God?
Our idea of education needs to be expanded. Our idea of “parental influence” on our kids needs to be more fully understood. Education is NOT the mere passing down of academic facts. It is the passing down of a way of life. I hope to unpack this in the context of academic and life excellence in this area of the blog. As well as asking the question – “What kind of life are you passing down to your children or encouraging in your siblings?” The quality and quantity of life – not money or material possessions– is the basis of true education and happiness.
Let’s set up an accurate end goal, and then find how satisfying God’s way is when we view education as a passing down of a way of life that includes academic knowledge but is not totally defined by it. Rather, such is only a subset of fare greater and important realities that reach to the root of our being made in the image of God.
Let us not find, like Thomas Chalmers, that we have thought too much on the magnitudes of math and too little on the magnitude of eternity. In so doing, we will have both save ourselves and those little ones that have saved us. For this is the end and goal of all education – that those who sit under our tutelage would become wise unto salvation.