And we're back!

"And we're back!" That's what they say to hosts of live broadcasts to let them know that the commercials have they can be seen and heard by their viewers. The Christmas holiday break has ended and now we're back - back to the business of school, working to finish the second quarter, to bring the first half of the school year to a close. Tomorrow may be one of those, "We interrupt this broadcast" kind of events, better known here in Baltimore during the winter as a snow day. The forecasters are calling for a few inches of the frozen white stuff, so regularly scheduled programming may be preempted by sledding and other snow day activities.

I am preparing to teach a Bible college class called Essentials of Teaching. My first class is on Monday, and I am still waiting for the "Eureka!" moment of revelation when God tells me exactly what he expects me to teach that day and all the Mondays to follow. In my mind, I hope to give my students the most essential equipment they need to get started as a teacher. The trouble is, it is likely that most of my students do not see themselves teaching in the future, so they may not be eager to learn. But I think that most believers are called upon to be teachers eventually, since that is part of the Great Commission, and if my students plan to be parents (or already are parents), teaching is a huge part of being a parent. As our church revamps its youth ministries, there is the need for more teachers to serve in those ministries, If I can help prepare some folks to be these teachers, that will be awesome.

One thing that we are discussing in the school and the educational ministries as a whole is the vital importance of parental involvement. I notice that students of all ages need their parents to be involved in their education. Parents set the tone for education in their homes. Some parents set the tone that education is important and that they expect their children to do the very best they can to develop the minds that God gave them. They encourage their children to learn all they can, they provide what they can to help their children be the best students they can be. They are like good coaches who push their players to practice and stretch themselves to do more than they think they can do. A good coach believes in his or her players, gets them into the game, and lets them play. As a parent or a teacher, we want our students to succeed. We do our best to make them ready, to get them "into the game," and we we let them play - we don't play for them. Parent involvement doesn't mean doing a child's work. It means taking an active interest in what the child is doing in school, making sure he has time and a place to study, the resources she needs to do her work, and parental support - the belief and reasonable expectations that the work can and will be done well, to the glory of God.

As a math teacher, I saw so many students who did not give much, if any effort, to their studies, because one of the parents had said, "You got my math brains, so I don't expect you to do very well, because I didn't." The student now has the parent's blessing not to work hard to try and turn a weakness into a strength. I think we need to be very careful about the messages we send to our children. A home where there are no good books, where parents do not read, send the message that reading is not important, and so when the child is confronted with all the reading he must do in school, he avoids it as much as he can, because he sees no value in it - his parents don't do it, so why should he? A child who sees her parents live out their faith through daily prayer, Bible study, church attendance, tithing, evangelism, etc is more likely to become a disciple of Christ than one who has no parental role model of a Christian believer in her home. What is valued in the home, what is encouraged and discussed in the home is what the home teaches to the child.

As a Christian educator, I have a mission to carry out. I have the responsibility to teach children academic knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will enable them to become productive, thoughtful members of society. We take the teaching of math, reading , writing, speaking, science, social studies, physical education, computer, art, music, Bible, and other subjects very seriously at GGCA and we want our students to be as successful as they can be. I also have the responsibility to assist parents in the spiritual education of their children. The primary responsibility for the spiritual education of children lies with the parents - the church and the Christian school are there to assist and to complement the home's teaching, not take the place of it. 

I believe that as Christians, we are to do whatever our hands find to do with all of our might. We need to be the best teachers and the best students when we enter the classroom. I believe that loving the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength transfers into my studies, and that I honor and bring glory to God when I go after scholastic excellence with the same fervor that I love the Lord my God. I believe that this same fervency should manifest itself as I practice with my athletic team, as I work for my employer, as I soul-win on the streets of Baltimore. I should not be looking at my flesh and excusing my children because I was never strong or disciplined in a certain area of my life. That's just plain wrong. My limitations, my shortcomings should not be projected upon my children, my students. God can and does do anything He pleases. If he can make stones sing his praises, he can help me learn math. I may not be the next Einstein, but I can work hard and pass the class.

Okay. I am feeling a little too preachy right now, so I'm going to get of my high horse and go eat some lunch. 

We need to stay involved in our children's lives, even when they say they don't want or need us to be. We all need people who love and care enough about us to disciple us and help us be successful members of God's family.

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