Do you remember the excitement and anticipation of the first day of school? Yes, I am talking about the parents as they dressed their little ones and rushed them out the door in their new tennis shoes and jeans. Of course, the first day of school for the students offered a mixed bag. On one hand, there was the dread of the easy days of summer—sleeping late, no home work and an open schedule but on the other hand being around your friends at school is a nice change from being trapped with mom and dad most every day with the rules and quirks.
I must admit, going off to school to-day has changed. I marched off to first grade with my “Big Chief” tablet and a number two pencil. Today stu-dents show up with smart phones, tablets, lap tops, and a wide array of high tech gadgets to prepare them for the world of today and tomorrow—a rapidly changing world. Some experts have suggested that human knowledge is doubling every eight years so by the time a first grader graduates from col-lege, knowledge would have doubled twice! Who can keep up?
If there is an unsung hero in the edu-cation journey, it has to be the class-room teacher. I hope most of us have fond memories of teachers who poured their hearts and lives into us as students. I know I am who I am today because of teachers like Mrs. Yeats, and Coach Stephenson just to name two.
In El Paso, public education has been under tremendous scrutiny and often harsh criticism in recent days. I fear too many wonderful educators have been hurt and discouraged in all the mudslinging. Having lived in many places across our nation, I can attest the education my youngest daughter received at Franklin High school pre-pared her well for her future. If you know a teacher, who teaches in the public schools, in a private academy or even at home say “thank you” for a job well done.
I recently saw an editorial cartoon com-paring the world of yester year to today. In scene one “Johnny” came home with a failing grade and mom and dad are clearly upset with “Johnny.” In scene two representing today, “Johnny” comes home with a failing grade and the parents are screaming at the teacher. It appears we have forgotten that edu-cation at its best is a vital partnership between mom & dad, teachers, and little “Johnny” and “Janice.”
The writer of Proverbs wisely observed: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 KJV) The key part of this wise statement revolves around the phrase “in the way he should go.” It may infer indoctrination, but I would suggest the “way he should go” reflects the wonder and glory of each child. You see education is not a “cookie cutter” industry—one size fits all. No, every child reflects the image of God in his or her face, but also each child has been created with a unique blend of gifts, talents, passions, and abilities. Parents and teachers would be wise to study the child as much as the curriculum.
Whisper a prayer for our teachers and students as the school bells ring that the hand of God will be at work in the hearts and minds of the next generation in the home, the school house, and the church.