Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Please, no one call DCS. This is a picture of BT enjoying an 1850's schoolhouse re-enactment. We visited Westville today with our homeschool association and watched as local school children and historians demonstrated how children were taught in the 19th Century.
I have to say that I was not impressed with 19th Century pedagogy. What did impress me, however, was that school began with the Lord's Prayer and a reading from Proverbs. The story for the day was a Christian one. It was written with the obvious intent of training little hearts, pointing them directly to the only true and living God, Jesus Christ.
During a spelling drill, one naughty little boy (all a part of the act, of course) drew a picture on his slate of the teacher with a cockroach. Her rebuke was immediate and to the point. She told the boy how wrong he had been and sent him to the corner to sit with the dunce cap on his head. I am not advocating calling a child a dunce; however, what happened next is worth considering.
After some time, she came to the boy and asked him if he had repented. She led him to confess his sin and ask for forgiveness from her and more importantly, from God. She sought reconciliation. He apologized, and she warmly forgave and allowed him back into her good graces.
I couldn't help but to feel pain for our nation as I watched today. There was a time in our history when children could go to school, start their day with prayer, and be instructed from the Bible. But more importantly, there was a time in our history when educating a child was more about training him to follow Christ than it was about filling his head with information. The heart, mind, and soul were all considered valuable, and the teacher saw it as her primary duty to train her students to love the Lord their God with all three. Sin was not taken lightly but was taken to the Throne of Grace. Discipline was not a means of the teacher maintaining her sanity but a means of imparting wisdom.
Today I was reminded to put first things first. "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, " says Prov. 9:10. And so I pray that as I teach my children I will be faithful to do as the Lord instructs us in Eph. 6:4 and bring them up in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord."