Parents and Education
Our surrounding culture is changing and the current health crisis is a window of opportunity to reflect on parental responsibilities towards the education or their children. Forty years ago, my wife and I realised that we should take responsibility for the education of our six daughters, then ranging from six to fourteen years old. Added to this, Benjamin, our four-year old son, was severely brain injured and totally dependent on us. Although having qualified as a teacher in 1961 and taught in Australia, PNG, as well as the U.K., ten years later I was full time in local church leadership. My mid-life educational crisis forty years ago has resulted in untold blessings for our family and our sixteen wonderful grandchildren. God led me back into education with the starting of faith schools and the company Christian Education Europe. I present three points that parents should consider with regards to the education of their children: scholarship, sociology and spirituality.
We respect people of intellect and learning who have gained expertise in different disciplines. Modern education has a bias towards Greek and Roman philosophy. Contemporary education has embraced a humanist ideology that conflicts with the Judeo- Christian ethic that once characterised universities. God was once considered the source of wisdom and knowledge and creator of all things. The right of parents to raise their child according to their own beliefs is undermined, despite that right being enshrined in law. This is evident in the control of curriculum content by the state. Education can be information centred and exam focused, not catering for individual gifting. Personalised learning is the better way. The goal is that the child’s life should glorify God. This is accomplished by integrating truth and learning. The parent’s responsibility is to guide the child’s learning, whilst protecting them, at a vulnerable stage, from damaging input. This can be accomplished, in certain cases, through good faith schools and especially with home education. These are matters to fight for as a minority, as those who oppose us are intent on robbing us of our rights.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Proverbs 9:10.
The proper authority and learning within the home will provide, protect and prepare the child to encounter the surrounding world. A baby begins at conception within the safety of the womb, then the safety of the home. This is followed by local community exposure monitored by the parents. The tragedy of today is that children’s rights are politicised. The concepts of sexual freedom, gender issues and the value of the unborn are misrepresented. The traditional view of marriage is neither endorsed nor promoted in many schools. We now have a situation where liberty is confused with licence.
When our twelve-year old girl was expected to travel from Sydney to Queensland on a school exchange and stay in a home that we had no knowledge of, we did not consent. The teacher, then pointed out to our daughter that we were behind the times. The outcome confirmed our decision to start our own school. Not all socialisation is good and that is why we care about who our children have as their friends. Peer pressure is powerful and social media brings these pressures right into the home. The exposure of the children to societal changes which ignore absolutes and makes all things relative must be responded to. This battle is about influence.
The right of parents to be the primary influence as the child is growing up is critical. The timing of allowing the child to make its own legitimate choices is a matter of maturity. A thought to ponder is the separate role of the mother and father in the education of their children. In the ten commandments we read, “Honour your father and mother.” This respect by children results in promised lifelong blessing.
“He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.” Proverbs 13:20.
I am coming from the view that there is a spirit world and human beings are meant to be linked with God. There are also evil forces of a spiritual nature. What we know is that education cannot be just secular – it should recognise the spiritual realm. As a teenager in a state school in the 1950s, each morning as we filed out of the corporate act of worship, we sang the song. “God be in my head and in my understanding.” This was the school assembly finale! The nation has profoundly changed since then. Increasing diversity, culturally and spiritually, is a problem for a state system that says one size fits all. The natural world displays the glory of God. To sever all the beauty and intricacy and wonder of the creation from the Creator damages the mind of the child. A child’s potential in creativity and comprehension reflect a spirituality which is derived from God Himself.
The only book that demonstrates the way to salvation of both soul and spirit is the Bible and it does so by revealing prophetically and historically a perfect child who grew up under his parents’ authority, lived a sinless life, and then voluntarily died to provide forgiveness and relationship with God for whoever believes. His was the antidote to the sin virus. The lockdown has given many families time to ponder on the significance of education and the timeline of history. Great changes are ahead, but the godly family is still the bulwark and foundation of any country’s destiny.
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“Blessed is the person (child) that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly… nor sits in the seat of the scornful… his delight is in the law of the Lord…whatever he does shall prosper. Psalm 1.
Founding Director, Christian Education Europe
Other articles available for free reproduction include.
“Five basics to Help in this Educational Emergency”
“Scripture and Education”
“Why should a curriculum be Christian?”