In his book “Dumbing Us Down” John T. Gatto provides us with an insider’s perspective on the educational system of the United States. He highlighted that our educational system is designed in such a way that teachers teach everything out of context; where nothing seems to relate or connect to each other.
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He argues that our children are taught by a strangers with the “thinnest relationship with each other, pretending, for the most part, to an expertise they do not possess”.
In centuries past, the time of childhood and adolescence would have been occupied in real work, real charity, real adventures, and the realistic search for mentors who might teach what you really wanted to learn. A great deal of time was spent in community pursuits, practicing affection, meeting and studying every level of the community, learning how to make a home, and dozens of other tasks necessary to becoming a whole man or woman.
Education to Gatto has become more about facts and theories rather than satisfying the human search for meaning, in other words education has lost its connection to life and real meaning.
To put things into perspective the systematic provision of learning techniques to children such as literacy, has been relatively a recent development of the last 200 years, or even 50 years in some countries.
The word “Education' is derived from the Latin roots, 'educo' and 'educare'. Educare means 'to rear or to bring up'.
This reminds me of the what the scriptures employ parent to do “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”
This proverb and other scriptures that I’ve included in this article, counsels parents when it pertains to child rearing to assist each child to clarify his or her own values in recognition of God’s sovereignty. It charges parents to take responsibility using due diligence to apply the laws and principles of the kingdom of God in the rearing of each child, with consideration to the individual traits of each child. The challenge for parents is to “help each child recognise and sharpen his or her particular abilities, and use them to God’s glory”.
The bringing up of a child from a believer's perspective is an immense challenge because of the societal indoctrination of our children not only at school but also through different forms of media. I am not saying that schools are not needed or that education in term of state education is not warranted. The issue is with the type of education our children are receiving from the cradle to when they are able to make a decision about which field they would like to master. Many parents leave this critical period to the state to do on their behalf. I know that most parents would not leave their child in the hands of these strangers called teachers if they truly could help it. The problem that most parents face is the feeling of powerlessness and where to begin. In addition to this, parents are not helped by economic-political-social constraints.
The scriptures command the fathers to teach the commandments that God gave “to their children” as part of the rearing process so that they would have a kingdom perspective. It is our responsibility to take the bull by the horns and make sure that the type of education our children are receiving is grounded in the King’s laws, commandments, statutes and other such things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. Regardless of feeling powerless, having economic and social constraints we are employed to fulfil our duties as parents.
The school we must establish for our children is one that empowers parents to have an active part in the rearing process and that connects everything to meaning. I would like to challenge us to look into other forms of educations that will help us to fulfil our duties such as home schooling, living and maintaining a connection with a community that has the same perspective. In parting I leave us with this scripture that puts the responsibility for rearing of our children squarely on the parents.
These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
We must remember that education is on going and doesn’t stop at the classroom, we must embrace this holistic mind set and explore ways to realise this responsibility.
He who has an ear, let him hear.