Christianity and the Academy (5)

Education Must Have Legitimate Goals
Education without the Bible is useless- (Noah Webster, 1758-1843)

All Christian education, regardless of the age of the student, should have goals. These goals must be in harmony with scripture, and be achievable. Goals should be both general and specific. The general ones should be those that should be applicable to any course, whilst the specific ones should be specifically oriented, around a course of study. Ideally, a student should have general and specific goals, that he is working to attain. The general goals are our focus here.

1. Growth in godliness: this should be the object of every Christian person, but especially the student. The Bible says that “godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment” (I Tim.6:6). Furthermore, “the real measure of godliness is how well we control our tongue” (Derek Prince).

2. Conformity to the image of Christ: the Bible says that “it is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master” (Mat.10:25a). The Christian person seeks to live out the character of Christ, through his individual personality. We can trust, that this is what God is developing in our lives too. In this, we are co-operating with the Holy Spirit (II Cor.3:18), as He develops the fruit of the Spirit in us (Gal.5:22-23).

3. “That I may know Him” (Phil.3:10): this was one of Paul’s goals, and it should be ours too. Everything for the believer, comes from knowing Jesus Christ. Jer.9:24; 22:15-16.

4. Growth in accountability (Luke 16:1-2): Any supervisor wants to be able to leave his premises, and be confident that when he returns (in hours or weeks), his staff will have been diligently applying themselves to their tasks, in his absence. This is exactly what Jesus wants of His people, too (Luke 19:11-27). If we believe we have been “bought with a price” (I Cor.6:20), this should be evident in all of work, as we show that our time belongs to the Lord, not ourselves. Punctuality is an aspect of accountability.

5. Diligence (II Thess.3:8, 10; II Tim.2:15): The Puritan Benjamin Wadsworth, advised parents that in relation to their children, “if you’re careful to bring them up diligently in proper business, you take a good method for their comfortable subsistence in the World (and for their being serviceable to their Generation) you do better for them, than if you should bring them up idly, and yet leave them great Estates.”

6. Competency and professionalism in all things: It is no disgrace to not know how to do something, but something that is an aspect of a professional’s work needs to be mastered. “The man who knows how will always be at the mercy of the man who knows why.”

7. Growth in Christian service: the individual should hope that he is doing a better job for his supervisor, his other staff-members, and his customers that he was last year. Why? Because he is growing, in terms of his attitude and experience. He should be able to function more independently, and at the same time appreciate what others are able to do, in making his organisation more effective for the customer. This point is a summation of the previous six.

8. The dominion of Jesus Christ in the earth (Ps.110:1-3): this should be the ultimate goal of all education. This is what He has placed us in the world for; not merely to have pleasant children, a nice house, riches or a good retirement. The education of every person, whether it be the mechanic, the professor, or the housewife, is to be with this in mind.

Christians are to become the predominant people in the world, in terms of their influence; this is how everyone is to be educated, so that this can take place, and the gospel can be proclaimed both by word and deed. Jesus said, “Do not be afraid little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). A godly education is a huge component of the Great Commission (Mat.28:18-20).

Conclusion:
Christians in the context of education, regardless of what level, are obligated to consider carefully the challenge posed by Elijah to the people on Mount Carmel: “How long will you hesitate between two opinions?” (I Kings 18:21). The Lordship of Jesus Christ applies to every area of life, including the intellectual area. Our negligence in the area of the intellectual education has cost us greatly now for generations, and we have lost a lot of ground.

Thus our stewardship in this regard is vital, if we are to give a good account, that we did in fact “love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your might” (Deut.6:5).

How are you and the children God has given you, being educated?

Christianity and the Academy (4)

Education must be Independent

Place the lives of children in their formative years, despite the best convictions of their parents, under the intimate control of experts appointed by the state, force them to attend schools where the higher aspirations of humanity are crushed out, and where the mind is filled with the materialism of the day, and it is difficult to see how even the remnants of liberty can subsist. Such a tyranny … used as the instrument of destroying human souls, is certainly far more dangerous than the crude tyrannies of the past.[1]

I have found that one of the hardest things to do, is to convince Christians that the State will only harm their children’s education. It is a matter that most Christians are reluctant to consider, and find even more difficult to accept. Why? It is linked to the fact that we have all grown up with State controlled education. It has been part of our culture for about 150 years, and thus is considered to have de facto legitimacy. It is one of those things that, because of the compromise of the church in the nineteenth century, has come about with the passing of time, and seems to be here to stay.

But it is essential that Christian people submit to the Word of God, and allow it to direct them in all things. In the case of education, there is no Biblical warrant to permit the State to have any responsibility, as education is a parental responsibility (Deut.6; Prov.22:6; Eph.6:4).

Where responsibility rests, authority lies. To permit the State’s participation in the task of education, immediately leads to a shift in authority from parents to the State. The State then immediately requires taxation to carry out its responsibility, and it has to set up a massive bureaucracy, purchase land and buildings, employ staff, etc. But this is just the beginning of the problems.[2]

The Bible speaks very firmly to people who undertake a task, independent of the Word of God: “Woe to the rebellious children,” declares the Lord, “who execute a plan, but not Mine, and make an alliance, but not of my Spirit, in order to add sin to sin; who proceed down to Egypt without consulting Me, to take refuge in the safety of Pharoah and seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore the safety of Pharoah will be your shame and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt, your humiliation” (Isa.30:1-3).

The question can be asked, “What happens when the State controls education?” Putting aside for the moment the obvious issues of inefficiency and huge expense in all State systems, there is an even more important issue: indoctrination. A child spends some 14,000 hours over 12 years, being indoctrinated in a hostile world-view which is communicated through the curriculum, through teachers and by other children. This has been admitted by humanists for a long, long time. Charles Potter, a signatory of the Humanist Manifesto in 1930, wrote that

Education is thus a most powerful ally of humanism, and every public school is a school of humanism. What can the theistic Sunday School, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teachings? [3]

Education departments and their schools are not religiously neutral, benevolent institutions. They are always involved (implicitly or explicitly) in the process of indoctrination. Because all education is founded on a religious foundation, this will be humanistic, because the premise of State controlled education is itself humanistic. Christians who think they will be able to “reform the system,” are deluded. The “system” only exists because of the negligence and disobedience of Christians, and fiercely resists real reform. Parents should take responsibility for everything. They may home educate their child, or delegate the task of education to others, but pay themselves for whatever they choose.

The modern State seeks to steal the legacy of the faithful: the hearts and minds of children. The educational bureaucrats today have imposed a massive system of ideological kidnapping on the voters. This is the inherent nature of all compulsory education, regulated education, and tax-funded education. Education is not neutral. The bureaucrats have built a gigantic system of humanist indoctrination with funds extracted from all local residents in the name of common-ground education. This justification has always been a lie, from Horace Mann’s public schools in Massachusetts in the 1830’s until today. From the late nineteenth century until today, leading American educators have been forthright in their public pronouncements of their agenda. This agenda is deeply religious. John Dewey, the “father” of progressive education, dedicated humanist, and philosopher stated his position plainly: “Our schools, in bringing together those of different nationalities, languages, traditions, and creeds, in assimilating them together upon the basis of what is common and public in endeavour and achievement, are performing an infinitely significant religious work.” [4]

The humanists know exactly what they are doing, while Christians are confused about what they really want. Christians would like to inherit the promises of God in relation to their children, but unlike Joshua and Caleb of old, they are ill-prepared to face the conflict that is therefore inevitable, and so they procrastinate or excuse themselves. This has been an indictment on the leadership of the church for over a century. We have been procrastinating and excusing ourselves on this matter, ever since State education was established in Australia in the 1850’s, and our situation has only got steadily worse.

In the early years of the 20th century, the Fabian Society of England came out strongly in favour of state aid to independent Christian schools. When a board member resigned in protest, George Bernard Shaw rebuked him strongly. Nothing, Shaw held, would more quickly destroy these schools than state aid; their freedom and independence would soon be compromised, and, before long, their faith. Events soon Shaw to be right.[5]

What has been evident for generations, is that State accreditation for education, along with funding by the State, leads to control by the State. “He that takes the king’s shilling, does the kings bidding.”

 

This unconscionable compromise by Christians must end, if Christians hope to have any substantial influence in their society.

Parental control of child rearing, especially education, is one of the bulwarks of liberty. No nation can remain free when the state has greater influence over the knowledge and values transmitted to children than the family…The best way to improve education is to return control to the parents who know best what their children need.[6]

 

[1] J. Gresham Macham,“Christianity and Liberalism,” 1923.

[2] An excellent resource on this, is Bruce Shortt’s “The Harsh Truth about Public Schools,” 2004.

[3] Bruce Shortt, “The Harsh Truth about Public Schools,” 2004, p.54.

[4] Gary North, “Inheritance and Dominion,” 1999, ch.28.

[5] Rousas Rushdoony, “The Roots of Reconstruction,” 1991, p.446.

[6] Dr Ron Paul, U.S. Senator, (www.lewrockwell.com), 2007.

 

 

Christianity and the Academy (3)

Education must be Thoroughly Christian

The kingdom of God must replace the kingdom of Satan in history, which is the kingdom of self-proclaimed autonomous man. Part of this replacement process is the reconstruction of all modern academic disciplines in terms of the Bible. Any attempt to do this is resisted strongly by two groups: non-Christian scholars and Christian scholars. The first group does not want to surrender power. The second group does not want to abandon the fruits of the intellectual, emotional, and economic investment it made by accepting the methodology and most of the conclusions of humanistic higher education…Christian scholars, in their professional work, have preferred to bow to the god of the academy rather than bow to the law of God. This has been going on from the day that philosophical defenders of the Christian faith first invoked Greek philosophy as the basis of their defence. In short, it is an ancient tradition. It is time to call a halt to it. [1]

  1. The Bible does not give the State a role in the task of education; education is an entirely private concern, predominately for families to engage in, in the case of children (see Deut.6; Prov.22:6; Eph.6:4) or individuals for tertiary study, or businesses to consider in the case of their staff. Luther’s advice to parents, “I advise no one to place his child where the scriptures do not reign paramount …every institution in which men are not unceasingly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt,” was valid instruction.

Paul’s language to the Corinthians is significant, in relation to education. He claimed that “the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (II Cor.10:4-5). We can thus conclude that godly education in part, will be aggressive and destructive towards all ideas or world-views that are not in harmony with the sovereignty of God, and the dominion of Jesus Christ in the world.

This approach is nothing new. God had told Jeremiah that “I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant” (Jer.1:10). John the Baptist later warned the proud Pharisees and Sadducees, that they were not to place any confidence in the fact that genealogically, Abraham was their father: he warned them that “the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Mat.3:10).

All godly educational institutions must take this position, out of faithfulness to God. Jesus said that “he who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters” (Mat.12:30). Godly education is an aspect of God’s war against humanism’s foolish ideas and wrong thinking, which lead to sinful behaviour, beginning in the Garden. Paul also spoke of his concern for the Corinthians, that “as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ” (II Cor.11:3).

  1. Some of the manifestations of humanism (such as Gnosticism and Pelagianism) have been with us for thousands of years. Others (such as Darwinism, feminism, Pietism[2] and environmentalism) are a more recent phenomena. Whatever the age, Christian educators must be familiar with what they are contending with, “…so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes” (II Cor.2:11). Historically, the church has had a propensity to absorb ideas from its surrounding culture, which have been destructive and evil. The “wild gourds” of the world, thrown into the church’s pot of stew, have later resulted in someone crying out, “O man of God, there is death in the pot” (II Kings 4:38-40).
  2. For education to be Christian, it must think in terms of absolutes, because God is absolute, and deals in absolute (but not arbitrary) terms with man. “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Ex.20:3), is an assertion of God’s ultimate and absolute sovereignty, for God alone is the absolute commander of man’s being. [3] Only a fully self-conscious, self-existent, sovereign and creating God can save man, because only He can fully control, govern and determine all things. [4]
  3. All Christian education should not begin with the teacher, or even the student, but with God. Jesus commanded us to “come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me…” (Mat.11:28-29). Man has never been consigned to a lonely, onerous pursuit of self-knowledge. On the contrary, we live in the presence of the Creator of all things, who has provided His Word to us, so that human knowledge can be utterly dependent upon the original self-knowledge and consequent revelation of God to man. [5] God’s revelation is the ground of true knowledge.
  4. Because Christian education commences with God, we accept that scriptural belief is a foundational matter. Jesus comforted Martha, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (Jn.11:40) We agree with Anselm of Canterbury that we believe, in order that we may understand. Kepler, Boyle, the Wright brothers and many others made their discoveries and initiated significant human progress out of an attitude of submission to an all-wise Creator and Redeemer, Who after creating all things, described all that He had made, as “very good” (Gen.1:31).
  5. Christian education gives man meaning. The Bible teaches that man is not some undefined, evolutionary accident, drifting at random in a meaningless universe. On the contrary, man under God derives his meaning from his Creator (Gen.1:26-28), and is placed in a meaningful world of people and things, to serve God and enjoy Him forever. Man was endowed with the ability and duty to find both the meaning of life and his own purpose on earth within the will of God.[6]

The command to “rule and have dominion” has not been negated by the Fall. Rather, it has been re-emphasised through the coming of the second man, Jesus Christ, and confirmed in His Great Commission.

The Christian person finds his role as a created vice-regent of God in the earth, described further in passages such as Psalm 8. The Psalmist’s rhetorical questions to God, such as “What is man, that you take thought of him, and the son of man, that you care for him?” open up the whole subject of our function, so that the theocentric person has meaning, relevance and dignity. A scriptural understanding of God’s purpose for us, enables us to “rule and have dominion” (Gen.1:26-28), to “reign in life” (Ro.5:17), be “ambassadors for Christ” (II Cor. 5:20), and to “occupy till I come” (Luke 19:13 KJV). People are recognised in scripture as full-orbed cultural creatures, called by the Creator to go forth and develop the earth.[7]

 

[1]Gary North, “Inheritance and Dominion,” 1999, Introduction.

[2]“Pietism emphasises the heart, the attitudes of man, and underrates the importance of man’s actions. Its roots are in the pagan, Greek and Stoic deprecation of matter as against spirit.” Rousas Rushdoony, “The Institutes of Biblical Law,” 1973, p.635. “Pietism led to a surrender of knowledge to the unbeliever and a withdrawal of the Christian to a purely inner world of experience… the result was a surrender of the world and of education to humanism.” Rousas Rushdoony, “The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum,” 1985, p.12.

[3] Rousas Rushdoony, “Salvation and Godly Rule,” 1986, p.161.

[4] ibid., p.2.

[5] Cornelius Van Til, quoted in Rushdoony, ibid., p.177.

[6] Gary North, (Ed.) “Foundations of Christian Scholarship,” 1976, p.64.

[7] B. Walsh, and J. Middleton, “The Transforming Vision: Shaping a Christian Worldview.”

 

 

Christianity and the Academy (2)

Education: a Vital Part of the Great Commission

Because this is a battle for the minds of men, it involves every aspect of life. There is no neutrality. Each man has to pick sides. Jesus warned: “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad” (Matt.12:30). Christians often are confused about this. They have been sold a bill of goods by the enemies of God, namely, that there are zones of neutrality scattered throughout the creation, and that some sort of common natural law rules these neutral zones. This is a myth. Either God’s law rules everything, and promises to bring all things under His righteous judgment, or else God’s claim of being God is a lie.[1]

David Hocking has written an excellent set of principles which serve us well in terms of forming a basis for a Christian philosophy of education. These are applicable for the homeschooling family, the Christian school, the Christian university, or any other institution naming the Name of Christ.

1. The Christian philosophy of education is based on the authority, authenticity, and reliability of the Bible as the complete and final revelation of God concerning all matters of faith, truth and practice.

2. The Christian philosophy of education is based on the centrality and authority of Jesus Christ in all that is believed, said, or done.

3. The Christian philosophy of education is based on clearly defined goals and objectives that are found in the Bible:

a) The glory of God.
b) The salvation of non-believers.
c) The maturity of believers in doctrine and practice.
d) The training of believers for Christian service and ministry.

4. The Christian philosophy of education is based on the conviction that knowledge of the Bible and of Jesus Christ is essential to the development and growth of the individual in matters physical, mental, social, and spiritual.

5. The Christian philosophy of education is based on a personal commitment to Jesus Christ on the part of all who are involved in the educational process.

a) The “blind” cannot lead the “blind.”
b) Nothing can control the natural desires of the uncommitted teacher.
c) Without Christ, the instructor is impotent (there is a weakness) in his ability                         to teach due to the absence of the Holy Spirit in his life.
d) Commitment to Christ is fundamental to having commitment toward proper goals.

6. The Christian philosophy of education is based on the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

a) The inspiration of the Bible.
b) The illumination of the individual.
c) The involvement of spiritual gifts.
d) The inability of those involved to understand the “deep things” of God apart from              the Holy Spirit.

7. The Christian philosophy of education is based on a proper relationship between the family, the church, and the educational process.

8. The Christian philosophy of education is based on the establishment of proper priorities in an individual’s life.

a) Commitment to Christ Himself.
b) Commitment to the family.
c) Commitment to other believers.
d) Commitment to non-believers.
e) Commitment to a job.

9. The Christian philosophy of education is based on the sovereignty of God in all the affairs of men and throughout all history.

10. The Christian philosophy of education is based on the creation of man in the image of God apart from any so-called evolutionary process.

11. The Christian philosophy of education is based on the moral principles of the Bible.

a) Distinctions between right and wrong are stated in the Scriptures (I Jn.3:4).
b) Man possesses a sin nature which forms the root of all sinful actions and                               thoughts (James 1:13-15).
c) The environment is not to be blamed for man’s sin (Mk.7:14-23).
d) Man is not morally good (Ro.3:10-12).
e) The ethical precepts which govern human actions not specifically covered                             by Biblical teaching firmly rest upon the law of love and the principle of Christian             liberty (Ro.14).

12. The Christian philosophy of education is based on Christian teachers who understand these basic principles of Christian education, who are personally committed to them, and who demonstrate effectiveness in their ability to communicate them.[2]

The Great Commission is certainly a command to evangelise: but its implications are significant indeed; they require over time that social, cultural and legal changes must take place in every nation. This is the normal Biblical procedure (Acts 8:5-8; 19:17-19, 23-27). The Christian educator has a profound challenge, to identify with God’s purpose in Christ. The goals of education will include indoctrination in the truth, training of students and completeness in Christ. Education is a vital part of occupancy. Believers are required to be full-orbed cultural creatures, going forth to develop the earth,[3] and the purpose of education is thus to enlarge the scope and extent of man’s power under God.[4]

Christian education is not a flight from reality, avoiding the truth about man and the world we live in. Rather, it is a requirement to face the truth, from the one individual in history who could legitimately claim to be “the Truth” (Jn.14:6). Sartre, the existentialist was wrong: man is not “a useless passion,” without meaning, but a creation of God with dignity, responsibility and power.

True education relates firstly to God and His kingdom, to the knowledge and implementation of God’s truth in a time-space world. It has as its function, the task of introducing people to Christ’s liberating, refreshing teaching in all its perspectives, which will enable them to enter into the occupying and controlling activities that were the substance of the creation commandment (Gen.1:26-28).[5]

 

 

 [1]Gary North, “Liberating Planet Earth,” 1987, p.21.

 [2] David Hocking, “The Theological Basis for the Philosophy of Christian School Education,” in Paul Kienel (Ed.)       “The Philosophy of Christian School Education,” 1986, p.12-27.

[3] B. Walsh & R. Middleton, “The Transforming Vision: Shaping a Christian Worldview,” 1984, p.56.

[4] Rousas Rushdoony, “The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum,”1985, p.33.

[5] Jay Adams, “Back to the Blackboard,” 1982, p.38-9.

 

Christianity and the Academy (1)

(Editor’s Note): I completed a series entitled “The Great Christian Revolution” in about 2012, of which “Christianity and the Academy” was a part. I’m dividing this up into a number of weekly installments. A Mc)

By Andrew McColl, 12th November, 2019

  Introduction:

The sovereignty of the self-contained God is the key to every field, in that only the God of Scripture makes all things possible and explicable and is thus the basic premise not only of theology, but of philosophy, science and indeed all knowledge. In that God is the Creator of all things, He is their only valid principle of interpretation, in that they derive both their existence and meaning from His creative act.[1]

All intellectual studies must begin with God; they must have a theological base. If they do not, they will inevitably be based on the shifting sands of human reason. That will never be honouring to God, will not result in us pleasing Him, and will be to our loss. As education is a vital aspect of the Great Commission (Mat.28:18-20), Christian people must apply themselves to this task seriously, as a duty before God.

Education is plainly linked to what one believes about God. If God “made the heavens and the earth” (Gen.1:1), “upholds all things by the Word of His power” (Heb.1:3), and has made man in His image, then God is inescapably the prime fact of life in the universe, with man as the pinnacle of His creation (Ps.8:3-8). Because he has been created by God, man has meaning, purpose and responsibility.

Theology must be applied to education, because “it is impossible to understand the educational process apart from God Himself. The Christian begins with God as the Creator and Source of all true education. He believes that the God Who made us has not left man alone in his pursuit of knowledge, but in His lovingkindness has given to man a revelation of Himself and His plans in the person of Jesus Christ and in the Bible.” [2] The Bible says of God, “who teaches like Him?” (Job 36:22).

Applying theology to education will challenge us, that man was endowed with the ability and duty to find both the meaning of life and his own purpose on earth, within the will of God.[3] Thus man through Christ must begin by submitting to God and seeking first His kingdom (Mat.6:33), be trained and educated (Prov.22:6; Heb.5:14), grow in Christian maturity, be “neither corrupt or negligent…” (Dan.6:4), learn to work diligently “as for the Lord” (Col.3:23), and view all of life as a task of Christian service.

Man will recognise his total depravity outside the redemptive work of Christ, but realise that in Christ, he is “a new creation” (II Cor.5:17), obeying the law of God (Ps.119), accepting the command to be an “ambassador of Christ” (II Cor.5:20), as an “heir of the world” (Ro.4:13), with the task to “fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen.1:28).

Man in subjection to Jesus Christ must understand that our historical problem from the beginning, has been in relation to the source and acquisition of knowledge. This revolt against knowledge should warn us, that if one does not begin with the truth about God, he cannot conclude his argumentation with either God or truth.[4] Apostate man’s claim to total intellectual autonomy, away from the knowledge of God, has driven him to a series of irreconcilable intellectual dilemmas.[5]

Human knowledge must be utterly dependent upon the original self-knowledge and consequent revelation of God to man.[6] God alone is an utterly self-explanatory person: “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord (Jer.23:24). If He alone is self-explanatory, then He must be the first and final point in human predication. The Bible as the voice of God must be the central orientating principle around which all knowledge is knowable and understood. When this is done, the teacher makes God the final reference point in all things.[7]

Believers must therefore examine themselves, in our beliefs and acceptance of knowledge, to ensure that we are “in the faith” (II Cor.13:5), and not being carried along in education by forms of secular knowledge with faulty assumptions, constructed upon foundations of epistemological sand.[8]

The Bible says that Christ is the One, “…in Whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col.2:3). This logically means that God cannot be God, if He is not the absolute sovereign, the governing presupposition and ground of all knowledge.[9] The command that we are to be “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ…” (II Cor.10:5), requires the total intellectual submission of the believer to Jesus Christ, not just the giving up of occasional parts, on the basis of convenience or preference.

 Christian education… must renounce once and for all the false separation between secular and sacred truth. It must see that truth in science, and history, in mathematics, art, literature and music belong just as much to God as truth in religion. While it recognises the primacy of the spiritual truth revealed in the Bible and incarnate in Christ, it acknowledges that all truth, wherever it is found, is of God. For Christian education there can be no discontinuity in truth, but every aspect of truth must find its unity in the God of truth. [10]

 

[1] Rousas Rushdoony, “By What Standard?” 1995, Foreward.

[2] A. Kienel (Ed), “The Philosophy of Christian School Education,” 1986, p.7

[3] Gary North (Ed), “The Foundations of Christian Scholarship,” 1979, p.64.

[4] Greg Bahnsen, quoted in North, above, p.217.

[5] North, “Foundations,” p.vii.

[6] Cornelius Van Til, quoted in Rousas Rushdoony, “Salvation and Godly Rule,” 1983, p.177.

[7] Blake, in North, “Foundations,” p.108.

[8] North, “Foundations,” p.vii. Epistemology is the study of how knowledge is acquired.

[9] Rousas Rushdoony, “Revolt against Maturity,” 1987, p.330.

[10] Frank Gaebelein, quoted in Kienel, p.32.

Beginning with Home Schooling (31) – Home Schools and the Tea Party

Gary North

Reality Check (Oct. 17, 2012)

I have just read the best article in National Review that I can remember in the last 40 years. Of course, this is not saying a great deal, because I stopped reading National Review about 40 years ago. I used to write for it occasionally. My introduction to the magazine was in the fall of 1959, when I was a freshman at Pomona College. I read it faithfully for about five years, and intermittently until the early 1970s. After that, my interests shifted.

The article I refer to has a great title: “The Last Radicals.” It was written by Kevin D. Williamson. It begins with this paragraph.

There is exactly one authentically radical social movement of any real significance in the United States, and it is not Occupy, the Tea Party, or the Ron Paul faction. It is homeschoolers, who, by the simple act of instructing their children at home, pose an intellectual, moral, and political challenge to the government-monopoly schools, which are one of our most fundamental institutions and one of our most dysfunctional. Like all radical movements, homeschoolers drive the establishment bats.

I think this assessment is correct. Homeschooling now qualifies as a movement. It is certainly radical, in that it has taken a public stand, with money on the line, against the public schools.

It stands against the only American institution that can legitimately claim for itself this unique position: it is the only established church in the nation. It has a self-accredited, self-screened priesthood, as every church must. It has a theology. Its theology is messianic: salvation through knowledge. But this knowledge must be screened and shaped in order to bring forth its socially healing power.

Massachusetts was the last state to abolish tax funding of churches. That was in 1832. In 1837, the state created the nation’s first state board of education. It was run by one of the crucial figures in American history, the Unitarian lawyer Horace Mann. He believed that the public schools should perform much the same function that the established Congregational churches had performed for two centuries in Massachusetts. The schools would produce what the churches had failed to produce, a new humanity. They would transform sin-bound man by means of education.

This outlook is what R. J. Rushdoony called the messianic character of American education, which is the title of his 1963 book. The book is a detailed study of the two dozen major theorists of American progressive education. In that book, he observed that the public school system is America’s only established church. In the same year, liberal historian Sidney E. Mead made the same observation in his book, The Lively Experiment. Rushdoony opposed this established church, while Mead was its acolyte.

Rushdoony became one of the major spokesmen of the homeschooling movement in the mid-1980s. He testified repeatedly in court cases where the state had brought charges against homeschooling families.

AN OLD TRADITION, FORGOTTEN

In 1987, he testified in the case of Leeper v. Arlington. A group of homeschooling families sued the city of Arlington, Texas. There were over 1,000 districts in Texas. They won. Their attorney said in 2011, “After the victory that God gave us in that case, the prosecutions [of homeschoolers] stopped in all the other forty-nine states.”

Sharpe brought in Rushdoony as an expert witness. “His testimony was way beyond anything I’d hoped for. It was one of the few times in my career that I ever saw a witness destroy the attorney who was trying to examine him.”

Sharpe took a unique approach. He believed that a 1915 Texas law had established parents’ legal right to teach their children at home. The 1915 law was a compulsory schooling law. It exempted private school students. From 1900 to 1920, 60% of Texas families home schooled their children. This had to be the frame of reference for the law’s exemption, not tuition-funded schools.

In his court testimony, Rushdoony made a crucial point: homeschooling was an old tradition long before the formation of the United States.

The basic form of education in much of the colonial period as well as for a long time thereafter was the home school. In the Massachusetts Bay Colony there was an attempt to limit colonization to townships to keep the population concentrated. Some of those did have formal schools in the form of a building where all of the children came. But apart from that, it was private or home schools that prevailed in most of the colonies. There was a limited amount among the wealthy southerners of tutorial schooling, but for the most part it was home schooling. This continued for a good many years thereafter in much of the United States, particularly on the frontier.

There was another major factor. It came out under cross-examination.

You must realize that it was only with the depression that we had in most states compulsory attendance to high school, and it was, I believe, with the depression of the 1930’s that they began to extend compulsory attendance laws through the eighth grade. Prior to that, if you gained reading, writing and arithmetic essentially in the first three or four grades, it was held that you were schooled.

Americans today think that the existing educational system, K-12, has been around for a century. It has, but hardly anyone went through this entire system prior to World War I, and those who did were generally urban residents.

A RADICAL RESTORATION

It is common for every radical movement to appeal back to an earlier era in which its first principles were widely accepted and adhered to. That, surely, was the rhetoric of the American Revolutionaries, 1770-76. They claimed the ancient rights of Englishmen. That did not make them any less revolutionary in the early 1770s.

The author of the NR article remarked that the homeschooling movement “has a distinctly conservative and Evangelical odor about it, but it was not always so.” Then he described the work of counter-culture radicals of the late 1960s.

The movement’s urtext is Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing, by A. S. Neill, which sold millions of copies in the 1960s and 1970s. Neill was the headmaster of an English school organized (to the extent that it was organized) around neo-Freudian psychotherapeutic notions and Marxian ideas about the nature of power relationships in society. He looked forward to the day when conventional religion would wither away — “Most of our religious practices are a sham,” he declared — and in general had about as little in common with what most people regard as the typical homeschooler as it is possible to have.

There was a revived interest in homeschooling by counter-culture activists, but they arrived late in American history. They presented themselves as radicals, but their formal agenda — homeschooling — is older than Mom, America, and apple pie.

There is an astounding loss of memory regarding homeschooling. Those who have written the public school textbooks and devised the ever-changing curricula for the “state normal schools,” as they used to be called — teachers’ colleges for educating young women — have systematically dropped this story down the Establishment’s memory hole.

The author cites some blistering attacks on homeschooling by the tenured radicals who have succeeded in capturing the state-licensed and often state-funded institutions of high education. One of them is a Georgetown University law school professor. Here is a sample of his rhetoric.

The husbands and wives in these families feel themselves to be under a religious compulsion to have large families, a homebound and submissive wife and mother who is responsible for the schooling of the children, and only one breadwinner. These families are not living in romantic, rural, self-sufficient farmhouses; they are in trailer parks, 1,000-square-foot homes, houses owned by relatives, and some, on tarps in fields or parking lots. Their lack of job skills, passed from one generation to the next, depresses the community’s overall economic health and their state’s tax base.

He cited no literature regarding the academic performance of home-schooled children. He did not mention the national geography bee. In 2002, here were the results. Over 20% of the finalists were home schooled. They constituted 40% of the final ten students. At the national spelling bee that year, 27 of the 167 contestants in the finals were home schooled. Yet they constituted only 2% of the students eligible to compete. (http://www.mackinac.org/4364) This kind of dominance has continued ever since in both contests.

This drives public school defenders nuts.

What are the statistical facts? The article cites Brian D. Ray, who specializes in homeschooling. Ray says that

Repeated studies by many researchers and data provided by United States state departments of education show that home-educated students consistently score, on average, well above the public school average on standardized academic achievement tests. To date, no research has found homeschool students to be doing worse, on average, than their counterparts in state-run schools. Multiple studies by various researchers have found the home educated to be doing well in terms of their social, emotional, and psychological development.

Williamson could not resist citing Dana Goldstein, who wrote a piece in Slate. Don’t homeschool your children, she pleaded. Home schooling is “fundamentally illiberal.” It is too individualistic. “Could such a go-it-alone ideology ever be truly progressive?” And homeschooling dilutes the pool of academically motivated students in the public schools.

She said that “poor students do better when mixed with better-off peers.” I can understand this. So, “when college-educated parents pull their kids out of public schools, whether for private school or homeschooling, they make it harder for less-advantaged children to thrive.”

In short, make your kid a guinea pig. I would have added this: “Don’t imitate the vast majority of Congressmen who live in Washington, D.C., who refuse to send their children into the Washington, D.C. school system.” But her logic is surely impeccably progressive. She recommends wealth-redistribution — in this case, academic wealth.

LIBERALS VS. HOME SCHOOLING

The author lists three reasons why liberals hate homeschooling. First, Progressives do not trust individuals. They also do not trust voluntarism. I would have invoked the model: Nanny Bloomberg. He got the New York City health department to extend such a law. Consider this book title: It Takes a Village.

Nine-tenths of American children attend government schools, and most of the remaining tenth attend government-approved private schools. The political class wants as many of that remaining tenth in government schools as possible; teachers’ unions have money on the line, and ideologues do not want any young skull beyond their curricular reach. A political class that does not trust people with a Big Gulp is not going to trust them with the minds of children.

He notes that it is now considered impossible politically or legally to outlaw home schooling. So, the bureaucrats want to regulate it.

The second reason for the hostility is that conservatives and Christians are so numerous. The church is outside government control, and this bothers Progressives. Nothing except sexual activity is supposed to be outside government control. “Progressives are by their nature monopolists, and the churches constitute real competing centers of power in society.”

The third reason is that home school teachers are mothers. This means they are in two-parent families. The husband supports the family. We know what Progressives think of that stereotype! The author is correct: “As its critics best appreciate, homeschooling is about more than schooling.”

It is, indeed. It is a call to return to traditional values of the American past. It is a call to return to old-time education — two centuries before the little red schoolhouse and the McGuffey Readers.

In the background of Christian homeschooling, there is the echo of that most hated phrase in the history of Progressive education: “In Adam’s fall, we sinned all.” Those were the opening lines of the New England Primerof 1686. They still hold up.

RON PAUL AND THE TEA PARTY

The article ends with comments on Ron Paul and the Tea Party.

They comprise conservatives on the verge of despair at trying to achieve real social change through the process of electoral politics and the familiar machinery of party and poll, with its narrow scope of action, uncertain prospects, and impermanent victories.

Some may be on the verge of despair. I do not notice any sense of despair in the Tea Party circles I travel in. That may be because I travel in the homeschooling wing of the Tea Party. There, I find a different attitude: “We’ve got the goods.”

Bottom line: when you take on America’s only established church and can hold your own, decade after decade, you are not humbled by the quality of the Presidential debates between a pair of Harvard Law School graduates.

The author sees the Ron Paul movement and the Tea Party as in need of an infusion of homechool-like confidence.

There is a different model for reform being practiced in more than 1 million American households, by people of wildly different political and religious orientations. Homeschooling represents a kind of libertarian impulse, but of a different sort: It is not about money. Homeschooling families pay their taxes to support local public schools, like any other family — which is to say, begrudgingly in many cases — and the movement does not seek the abolition of local government-education monopolies. (It should.) Homeschooling families simply choose not to participate in the system — or, if they do, to participate in it on their own terms.

This is the result of the system. But the heart of the system remains divided. Some parents pull their children out of the moral and academic slough of despond that public education has now become in fact, and which it always was in principle, which is why it wanted money coerced out of voters. Other parents want to replace the social order through the power of example, what John Winthrop called the city on a hill. He said that on board the Arbella, as it sailed in 1630 to New England. The Puritans had pulled out of England in order to build New England. They had a destination. They had a rival vision. This vision is not the vision of Progressivism.

And that is a step too far for the Hobbesian progressives, who view politics as a constant contest between the State and the State of Nature, as though the entire world were on a sliding scale between Sweden and Somalia. Homeschoolers may have many different and incompatible political beliefs, but they all implicitly share an opinion about the bureaucrats: They don’t need them — not always, not as much as the bureaucrats think. That’s what makes them radical and, to those with a certain view of the world, terrifying. (//www.garynorth.com/public/13291.cfm)

To Progressive educators everywhere, let me say in confidence: Be afraid. Be very afraid.

When you have bet the political farm on a system that cannot get good students in the doors free of charge, and which has lost the power of compulsion to get them in the doors, your movement is comparable to the Congregational Establishment in (say) 1800. MENE, MENE, TEKEL, URPHARSIN. You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting. Your days are numbered

Beginning with Home Schooling (30)

British Columbia Supreme Court Muzzles Father on Gender of Daughter

By Michael Rozeff (www.lewrockwell.com), May 1st, 2019
The states that are the foremost bearers of Western civilization are increasing their use of force in moral matters that traditionally, rationally and morally are and should be beyond any state’s powers. By doing this, Western states are becoming more totalitarian. The results are horrifying, horrendous and shocking. The leaders of Western civilization are destroying Western civilization.
These new and enhanced intrusions are actually part of a deeper longstanding trend of greater state initiation of force. That major trend includes both major parties in America. It’s manifested in domestic socialist legislation and in foreign aggression, such as in the attacks on Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. The newer cultural, personal, family, religious and moral intrusions are becoming more and more noticeable and outrageous. They are profoundly stupid and destructive, but they are ongoing nonetheless. The tide against them has not turned yet.
British Columbia in Canada has a Family Law Act that empowers the court to intrude in a family in order to “protect the safety and security of the at-risk family member…” The law allows the court to assess risks very broadly in order to effect such protection.
This might be reasonable if a father were threatening his daughter with a knife or pistol, but what if the father insists on calling his daughter “she” rather than the pronoun “he” that the girl prefers? What if the father tries to persuade “Maxine” to abandon the hormone treatments she thinks will make her “Max”? What if the father gives interviews in which he refers to her as Maxine and argues against the ill-effects of ingesting gender-related hormones? What if the court decides that all of these actions place Maxine at “a significant risk of harm”?
These what-ifs (not the knife or pistol) have happened in neighboring British Columbia. Its Supreme Court has decided that using pronouns, using persuasion, providing information and speaking to media make a father guilty under this law. The court has muzzled him.
The trend in Western law is to turn personal matters, personal moral matters, non-violent matters, emotional matters (like purported hate), non-physical matters and communications matters into supposed crimes with perpetrators and victims. This is similar to jihadists thinking that a Christian church doing them no harm is an enemy, or a cartoonist making fun of their God is an enemy, and that they have a right to kill in order to stop such “insults” and “invasions”. This is similar to students rioting against particular speakers on campus because they consider their words “violent” or “insulting”. This is similar to laws that intrude upon labor relations and laws that demand hiring and promotion be along racial or sexual lines. This is similar to laws against hate speech. This is similar to laws and practices that demand diversity, meaning preferences of one sort or another and disregard of standards and qualifications that matter for job performance.

The wisdom of Ayn Rand in Galt’s speech and later Murray Rothbard stands higher and higher, for they clearly distinguished between the initiation of physical force and what one may rightly say or do.

“Be it a highwayman who confronts a traveler with the ultimatum: ‘Your money or your life,’ or a politician who confronts a country with the ultimatum: ‘Your children’s education or your life,’ the meaning of that ultimatum is: ‘Your mind or your life’—and neither is possible to man without the other.”

Western law is becoming more and more the highwayman, the initiator of physical violence. “Your children’s gender or your life” is indeed “Your mind or your life”. The state cannot intrude beyond controlling the initiation of physical force and into the moral territory of religion, speech, family, and persons without destroying its own basis and civilization; and yet this is exactly what it is doing.

Break up with the Public School

By Elizabeth Cameron (www.lewrockwell.com), 26/10/2013.

Public schooling in America has become a nightmare.  It is a tax-feeding, compulsory, monopolistic indoctrination tool of the state that has more to do with control than it has to do with education.

Consider this statement by Robert M. Hutchins, former President of the University of Chicago, and Chairman of the Board of Editors of the Encyclopedia Brittanica:

“The countries of the West are committed to universal, free, compulsory education.  The United States first made this commitment and has extended it further than any other.  In this country, 92.5% of the children who are fourteen years old and 71.3% of those between fourteen and seventeen are in school.  It will not be suggested that they are receiving the education that the democratic ideal requires.  The West has not accepted the proposition that the democratic ideal demands liberal education for all.  In the United States, at least, the prevailing opinion seems to be that the demands of that ideal are met by universal schooling, rather than by universal liberal education.  What goes on in school is regarded as of relatively minor importance.  The object appears to be to keep the child off the labor market and to detain him in comparatively sanitary surroundings until we are ready to have him go to work.

The results of universal, free, compulsory education in America can be acceptable only on the theory that the object of the schools is something other than education, that it is, for example, to keep the young from cluttering up homes and factories during a difficult period of their lives, or that it is to bring them together for social or recreational purposes.”

Dr. Hutchins was the Chairman from 1943 until his retirement in 1974.  Those words were published in 1952, in The Great Conversation, Volume I of Brittanica’s Great Books of the Western World.  He was discussing, and pleading for, traditional liberal education, based on a study of the accumulated wisdom of the great thinkers and writers of the ages, as contained in the Great Books.

The school system that Dr. Hutchins was criticizing might look like nirvana if compared with the public school of today.  In those days, they did not have psychotropic drugging or the labeling of school children with mental disorders for demonstrating “inappropriate” behavior.  They did not have the police state mentality that is proliferating today.  They did not have random psych-drug-induced slaughters of children in schools as a tragically familiar event.  They did not indulge in “zero-tolerance” arrests of little children who had the poor taste to commit childish acts.  They did not have the psych-based feel-good system of assessment that undermines academic achievement today.  Yet by Dr. Hutchins’ accounting, they were doing little more than detaining those students, keeping them off the streets and out from under foot until their labor was needed.

Fast forward to 1965, and the enactment of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which opened the door to federal funding for all sorts of mental health professionals in the government schools.  This was a watershed in American education.  However bad the schools might have been before this event, the formal establishment of a federally funded psychological paradigm in the schools triggered a long and inexorable march, continuing to this day, toward the dumbing down, medication and indoctrination of its students, as if the goal were specifically to prepare them to add their labor to the economy while snuffing out any individual creative power or any motivations they might harbor toward bucking the system.  Individuals schooled in this way are being victimized by an educational structure that can only be antithetical to their best interests; and skilled teachers, attempting to educate students within this paradigm, are at a terrible disadvantage.  They cannot peel away and construct their own creative programs, but must try to work within a fixed and stifling model based on government decrees from faraway bureaucrats.

When a student has difficulties under this system, as so often happens, the student is generally blamed and is sent to see the school psych, or via the parents, the local psychiatrist or even the family doctor, and the blame is officialized with a diagnosis.  This is followed by the writing of a prescription to make the student more tractable.

As if that were not enough to make the school environment unsuitable as an educational setting, the proliferation of school shootings over the years has added a certain element of physical risk.  This is unnerving for everybody; we are pretty sure it is going to happen again, but nobody knows when or where, so all we can do is hope and pray that it doesn’t happen to our kids, at our school.  And even assuming that we escape this horror, we still have to endure the burgeoning police state that is developing around the schools to try to ward off future attacks.  This makes for an environment that can be uncomfortable if not downright forbidding.

This kind of arrangement is hard on the kids.  It is hard on the teachers.  It is hard on the parents.  They are trying, most of them, to conduct the very natural and normal business of education with an unnatural, abnormal and coercive “schooling” environment.

I have seen no evidence suggesting that this can be fixed without separating the local school system from federal control and manipulation, and this is not likely to happen.  The system is too deeply entrenched.  It is not open to competition, and it has its own agenda.

The divergence of this agenda from the expectations of most parents was starkly highlighted by a statement made in 1973, in the keynote speech at the Childhood International Education Seminar in Boulder, Colorado, by Harvard psychiatrist Chester M. Pierce:

“Every child in America entering school at the age of five is mentally ill because he comes to school with certain allegiances to our founding fathers, toward our elected officials, toward his parents, toward a belief in a supernatural being, and toward the sovereignty of this nation as a separate entity.  It’s up to you as teachers to make all these sick children well – by creating the international child of the future.”

I do not know a single parent who would actually choose this kind of educational framework for his children, if he thought he really had a choice, but the public school system has become such a ubiquitous part of our society that it can be hard to see it for what it is and what it has become.  It can be hard to break away.  We just naturally assume that, because it is here and has been here for so long, and everybody accepts it and is used to it, that it must be okay.

It can help to read the work of somebody who has been deeply immersed on the inside and has stepped back to take a good look at the institution of public schooling.  This has been done, and beautifully, by John Taylor Gatto, former New York State Teacher of the Year, whose tireless research into the historical development of our school system and its unspoken purposes is detailed extensively in his brilliant book, The Underground History of American Education.  This book would be a good place to begin research… that and a long close look at your local public school.

Fortunately as awareness of this problem has grown, an increasing number of parents have decided to take matters into their own hands, and so homeschooling, among other options, has been growing by leaps and bounds.  With the explosion of online resources, the opportunities for these families are expanding like never before: Kahn Academy, Robinson Curriculum, the Ron Paul Curriculum, just to name a few.  Heck, the local public library is a pretty good starting point for developing a curriculum, all by itself.  It is an exciting time for independence in education, and the many successes of homeschoolers across the country have provided solid evidence that we can do better for our kids outside the system.

So study up on it for yourself; and if your own research supports this view, and you can find a way, then take the plunge and break up with the public school: get your kids out, to someplace safer, where they are not at risk of getting assimilated by the Public School Borg, or worse.  This applies to teachers, too.  If you can find a way, bring your talents out into the private market where they can flourish.  We need them!

For every person, every family, who breaks free, we as a culture will come one step closer to getting the compulsory government school system out of our lives and away from the honorable work of helping our children to get a real and independent education

Beginning with Home Schooling (28) What’s Love got to Do with It?

               

(Editor’s Note):

This article highlights a great need within Public Schooling, but it has enormous implications for the home schooling family, too. A family’s example, and specifically the example of parents, is probably the prime factor when it comes to the successful education of children. I can endorse nearly all of it.

              What’s Love got to Do with It?

By Sharon Lamberth

A few years ago, while serving as principal of a high-risk elementary school [in the U.S.], a student, whom I will call Jack, was brought to my office. It was not Jack’s first office visit and, as with prior visits, the reason for this one stemmed from an inability to control his anger that led to aggressive behaviours.

On this particular day, while talking with Jack, he suddenly looked at me and said, “Are you married?” After answering that I was, he then asked, “Why?” I could tell by the look on Jack’s face that he was most sincere in his inquiry. He then proceeded to tell me that his mother was living with a man to whom she was not married, and the man was not his father. He went on to say that his mother and biological father were also never married. Seeming to have a need to stay on the subject, Jack proceeded to share that his mother and her current boyfriend “argued all the time” and he wished they would go their separate ways, adding, “but then it probably won’t be long before there will be someone else.”

Jack’s life had been a revolving door of live-in boyfriends, some of whom had told him to call them “Dad,” which he sometimes did hoping that by doing so a father-son relationship might evolve; a relationship that he could count on and hold onto but that never happened.  At best, Jack’s understanding of his own emotions was limited. His teachers and fellow students observed in him an angry student with a chip on his shoulder. On really bad days, when the chip became a log, a visit to my office was inevitable. As I listened to this young boy, it struck me that he had never truly experienced unconditional parental love, critical to healthy development in children.

My 34 years in education taught me many things about children, one being that anger is often a mask for fear – fear of failure, fear of being rejected, fear of being unloved or unlovable, fear of what the future holds, fear of abandonment, and so on and so on and so on. I saw many “Jacks” over the course of my career; children who didn’t know how to give or receive genuine love; children whose lives were so chaotic that what felt like sincere parental love one day was likely destroyed the next in the form of rejection, broken promises, abuse, etc. Classroom teachers regularly observe students showing residual effects of a dysfunctional family life: falling asleep in class, taking on the role of parent in an effort to protect younger siblings, struggling to keep up academically, difficulty focusing on learning due to the weight of their emotional baggage, to name a few.

Throughout this nation, parents and children suffer from a lack of understanding of what healthy love is. As a result, the struggle to raise emotionally stable children is at the root of many, if not most, of the problems that ail our society today. Healthy love embodies the biblical teaching of loving one’s neighbour as oneself. It is kind, respectful, and nurturing. Healthy love manifests itself in actions as well as words, recognizing not only our own needs, but the needs of others. Jack had never known this type of love. As a result, he was not able to engage in healthy relationships with his teachers and peers. Without a healthy love of self, he was also not able to tap into his personal potential. Jack spent his days using anger to help him cope with his feelings of rejection and defeat.

Another one of Jack’s coping mechanisms was playing video games. Some of the most popular children’s video games exploit violence and aggression and can lead children to believe that such behaviours are acceptable and, in fact, normal. A report released by the American Psychological Association (APA) on violent video games concluded that there is a “consistent relation between violent video game use and heightened aggressive behaviour, aggressive cognitions, aggressive affect and reduced prosocial behaviour, empathy, and sensitivity to aggression.” It should be noted that researchers continue to banter back and forth as to how, and the degree to which, violent games impact children. However, from a common-sense standpoint, it was clear to me that seeking solace in video games was problematic for Jack. At age 10, he was already being set up for failure on multiple fronts.

For years, the educational system has tried to fix society’s problems by pouring more money into new programs, revamping curriculums, creating magnet schools, adjusting grading scales, implementing block scheduling, promoting zero suspensions, etc., etc., etc., all with limited success. Resources are being exhausted in attempts to instil motivation in students through external means. External motivation alone, however, is unsustainable if the internal pull that creates a personal desire to succeed is lacking; a pull necessary to achieving sustainable success. Jack seemed to be void of any constructive intrinsic motivation. The motivation to play video games was nothing more than a desire to escape (albeit temporarily) the pain and frustration of his life.

The educational system cannot be expected to singlehandedly fix a problem that it did not create. Fixing the problem lies, primarily, in fixing the family. Emotionally unhealthy families produce emotionally unhealthy children and emotionally unhealthy children struggle to reach their optimal potential. Until parents recognize, accept and resolve to make fundamental changes to ensure that they provide their children with unconditional parental love and effective parental leadership (cornerstone principles for raising children) the current cycle will continue.

Breaking the cycle will require a return to common-sense parenting; on re-educating parents on traditional parenting practices that were the norm before post-modern psychological ideologies took hold in the late 1960’s and attempted to undo the logical parenting practices that served families well for generations. Ideologies that imply that as society changes so too must parenting techniques. The result has been nothing short of disastrous. Society may change, but human development does not. Throughout history, all have gone through the same seasons of life (infancy, toddlerhood, childhood, adolescence) that lead to their emancipation from the family (adulthood).

The family is the backbone of any successful society. As such, the ultimate goal for all children is to become respectful, responsible, resourceful adults; a goal that requires parents to make developing strong character in their children the number one priority. Developing strong character is not dependent on academic achievement, sports recognition, popularity, brand names, family social status or income. Character is a by product of parenting that is solidly rooted in love and leadership.

The crisis within the American family must be addressed with a seriousness that hasn’t been seen in almost two generations. If, as a nation, we fail to make this a priority, Jack’s story will live on in yet another generation of children.

Sharon Lamberth

Certified Leadership Parent Coach

ABOUT SHARON

Sharon is an educator whose career has spanned over 30 years. She has served as a home-hospital instructor, elementary school classroom teacher, curriculum facilitator, assistant principal and principal. Married for over 35 years, Sharon is the mother of two adult children and a grandmother. Her approach is both compassionate and forthright, with the goal of helping the next generation parent from a position of love and leadership using a common-sense approach.

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Beginning with of Home Schooling (27)

Children and Education

By Gary North, from “Unconditional Surrender,” 1994, p.181-184.

Children are a tool of dominion. They are to be sacrificed for in their youth. They are to be instructed carefully and continually in the law of God.

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up (Deut.6:6-7). 

The time spent in training children in God’s law is time well spent, for it is a capital investment. It does produce the next generation of godly, dominion-minded families. The Bible says, “train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).

This leads us to an extremely significant conclusion: education is the moral responsibility of parents.  They are the ones who must determine whether or not their children are being taught the truth. They are responsible before God for the rearing of their children. They are held responsible even for the content of their children’s education. This is why it is a great responsibility to bring children into the world.

The modern State has asserted its responsibility to educate children. This is the means by which the modern State has arrogated to itself the position of the established god on earth. The government schools have become the established religion of every nation on earth. Humanism, which is the worship of man and his works, rests on this crucial institutional foundation:  the tax-supported, State-regulated, hypothetically neutral, deeply religious humanist school system.

There can be no neutrality, yet the government schools have almost completely stamped out Christianity and the law of God by means of the neutrality myth. The State forces Christians to finance schools that teach a rival religion, the religion of humanism. The State has also attempted to regulate Christian and independently financed schools. At every point, the State has substituted tenured bureaucrats who are virtually impossible for parents to remove from authority, while it has removed parents from the seats of power in setting curricula or any other standards.

The modern State, which is a messianic, supposedly man-saving institution, has used the tax-supported, compulsory schools as the primary means of stealing children from God, by removing them from parental control. Christians complain about taxation, but they have tithed their children to the State. They have abdicated their financial responsibilities – “Let the State finance my children’s educations”– and in our day, they have abandoned almost all other aspects of their instructional responsibilities.

They have turned the production of citizens over to tax-financed, State- directed schools. The priests of the religion of humanism have been able to enlist the support of many generations of

Christian parents, who have decided that it is easier to transfer the responsibility for educating their children to bureaucrats hired by the State. Naturally, parents have to delegate responsibility to someone. Few parents have the time or skills to educate their children at home. But the fundamental principle of education is the tutor or the apprentice director.

Parents hire specialists to teach their children along lines established by parents. The private school is simply an extension of this principle, with several parents hiring a tutor, thereby sharing the costs. But the parents, not the tutors, are institutionally sovereign.  Since someone must bear the costs, education should be parent-funded.  Anything else is a transfer of authority over education to an imitation family.

Children are to honour their parents (Ex. 20:12). It is the first promise which is attached to a commandment: “… that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee” (Ex.20:12b). So the parents owe their children education, food, shelter, and care, but the children owe their parents honour. This means financial support. There are mutual obligations based on personal bonds. No one in the transaction is to become an endless giver, and no one is to become a perpetual recipient.

The modern messianic State has intervened here, too. The State promises to uphold men

from womb to tomb. The State promises to become the new father. The impersonal, bureaucratic State has substituted its rule for the father’s rule, and its children– perpetual children– are to remain obedient to it all the days of their lives.

The Bible tells us that children grow up and begin new families. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Gen.1:24). There should be no perpetual one-way obligations. Parents are to train their children to be obedient, but also independent. They are to foster maturity in their children. The State wants perpetual children, complete obedience. The State is a sad imitation of a family. It is a pseudo-family which threatens human freedom.