Why should we educate our children? What does education do in and with young people that is good and that is worthwhile? These questions are so intrinsic to the very core of our school systems that they are often ignored or overlooked. The focus instead lies on how we should educate (methods) and what education is, what it should include. They are the questions that give meaning and purpose to the very thing that we are committed to, as teachers and educators, and thus they must be both studied and discussed. However, these questions are difficult to answer without first addressing the issue of what education actually is.
What initially comes to a person’s mind at the mention of the word itself, education, will necessarily affect how one would answer the question of why education is important, significant, or essential. Is “education” in simple terms a collection of facts and/or concepts that one is pushed to memorize or understand within the classroom setting; the result of the act of “going to school;” the obtaining of college degrees? Or can we concede that education can and must be thought of in a much broader sense, as in the absorption of knowledge and ideas and reality itself as one experiences life through all five of the senses: through seeing, through listening and hearing, through feeling and touching, through smelling and tasting? Education is all this, and more.
We must then agree that education to a certain extent is a constantly occurring process within a living human being who is inevitably experiencing various facets of life. What then, is the significance of education in the popular sense, the sense of intentional learning and doing by way of active participation in reading and listening and practicing?
It is here where answering this question must draw on the subjective value of the things that are to be studied. Do subjects have meaning? What are the purposes in studying mathematics? science? history? language arts? Well, what are these things? They are aspects of the material and nonmaterial created world. They ARE, in themselves, CREATION. And creation is God’s revelation of Himself to mankind.
Therefore, in studying them, one comes to know the Creator. In response then to the study thereof, the creation becomes a channel for us to worship the Creator who has made known Himself to us through it. This is why we must commit ourselves to study. Absorbing the holy words of Scripture cannot and must not be our only means of coming to know the nature of God, for Scripture (though its holiness is not to be discredited) is not the only source from which to learn of God. We must study the various facets of the created world, (and again, I emphasize, not only the physical but the metaphysical), in order to gain a more full and complete knowledge of the nature of God—of the truth, the beauty, and the goodness which constitute his personhood.
So we return to the original questions: Why should we educate our children? What does education do in and with young people that is good and that is worthwhile? If we accomplish in our young people our goal of equipping them people to come to know and understand the Creator, they will be change. They will grow. They will be shaped and formed in natural response to the revelation of a holy God. Only when it acknowledges and puts into practice this theory will the Christian school really be equipped to operate God’s calling on the lives of our children.