August and September are traditionally the time of the year when “School” begins again. This month we consider the reason for the ongoing education of our children.
In Proverbs the 22nd chapter, we hear these words. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (NKJ) Contrary to much popular thinking, this text is not speaking to schools or school teachers, but to parents. Here the human author of Proverbs under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, reveals God’s plan and purpose of the family as the core place where children learn and are instructed.
In former times, children often followed in the footsteps of their parents in terms of work and vocation, because their training took place while working with their parents.
At the time of the Reformation both Martin Luther, and Phillip Melanchthon, advocated an “education” for young girls as well as boys. This radical idea is now almost universally accepted as a right in most but not all, of the world today.
Why might children need instruction? Children need to be instructed so that they might be useful and productive citizens of the country. In this way they might serve both their Creator and their neighbor, each according to their needs.
Because the Government has a vested interest in having well educated citizens, it sees the need for “good” education to be available to all of its citizens. However, the primary responsibility for the child’s education still belongs to the parents.
Both public school and “private school” educators serve God and the office of parent which He has gifted to His creation, as they carry out the educational task. Both serve the parents and the children entrusted to their care through their vocation, and in so doing serve God’s creation.
The unique difference between teachers in the public realm, and those who teach in Grace Lutheran School, is not location, or subject matter, nor is it the fact that one is Christian or Lutheran, for in fact both may be. The unique difference lies in the ability of teachers in Grace Lutheran School to openly speak of the Love of Christ that constrains them. Because of where they teach, teachers at GLS may witness the Gospel, openly speak of Jesus, and practice the forgiveness of sins for His sake.
This brings us to the last part of Proverbs 22 vs. 6: “and when he is old he will not depart from it.” To some this could mean knowledge or skills gained through education. To Christian parents it brings comfort knowing that their children have been baptized and instructed in the Christian faith, even though they may currently be in a state of rebellion (teenagers). To educators, whether in the public or church arena, this passage reminds of the many opportunities that God daily provides to give evidence to those children entrusted to their care “of the lively hope that is in them.”
God keep you faithful always,