When we think of education, what’s the first thing that comes to our minds? Academics, right? In today’s culture, too many modern Americans believe that the sun rises and sets on academics alone.
Parents, coaches, teachers, and other authority figures place relentless pressure on teens to succeed in academic studies. But, what if there was more to education than mere academics?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am all for setting high standards for today’s schools, in fact, I think the standards are too low. I believe the greater key to success in education is character over academics. If we want our schools to start producing results that are lasting, we must address the root issues. So how can we do this?
Properly Define Education
To start, parents must understand what education is. Education is far more than academics. Merriam-Webster defines the word educate, which is the root word for education, with three main definitions.
- It’s to provide schooling for someone. Or, academics.
- It’s to train by formal instruction and supervised practice—especially in a skill, trade, or profession. These terms speak to more upper level education (college).
- To develop–mentally, morally, or aesthetically—especially by instruction—to feel, believe, or act in a desired way.
This last one needs to become preeminent in our definition of education. My point is that there is actually more to education than simply academics–more than just a grade point average.
When we think of education, how often do we think of educating ourselves, or our kids, with spiritual things–things of moral and eternal value? Our kid’s academic success is not likely going to shape his moral character. However, if he has a solid moral constitution within him, success in academics is more likely to be a byproduct.
Focus on All Aspects of Education
When talking with parents, I am astonished at how important academics are to parents as compared with their child’s eternal destiny, behavior, character, or general spiritual well being. As parents take a deeper look at education, they shouldn’t focus solely on their child’s academic achievements, but would do well to provide their child with a greater emphasis on the deeper questions of life and character development.
D.L. Moody once made a comment that I will paraphrase: “If all you do is educate a guy who’s been stealing railroad spikes, when he’s educated he’ll steal the whole railroad!”
I don’t think many folks in the public school system—certainly higher education (colleges, etc.)– understand that mental, moral and aesthetic development are fundamental to the education process.
Actually they do; it’s just that all of the above are now tainted today to fit a postmodern perspective. Just look at the moral results that a postmodern worldview-indoctrination has produced in colleges all over America over the past 40-50 years! This moral declension has accelerated exponentially over the past decade.
When your child goes off to college he must be well rounded, fully grounded, and totally prepared, not only in academics, but in the moral, mental, and aesthetic. For some parents, this means you will need to adjust the expectations for your son or daughter.
There are things that many of today’s Americans would call good, right, noble, and beautiful that God wouldn’t call good, right, noble, or beautiful. If we don’t get the aesthetic thing right, it could lead us down a path that drives a great wedge in our ability to cultivate a healthy relationship with God–or any healthy relationship at all.
When you think of your child’s education, do you think of his moral character and eternal value?