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School-Beyond The Books

by Nancy Caldwell

As the daughter to a ninth grade science teacher, I can fully grasp the concept of the importance of doing your schoolwork. Being the child ready to please, and I did a fine job of it through making good grades. But, what I believe is also important to focus on with our children is the life lessons that they learn along that long journey through schooling. It is truly a capsule of what our "life journey" is all about. Now, as a parent, I worry abut how we are raising our children and how often they seem to be not listening, with the ways in which they act out with us and their siblings. My mother once told me, "Nancy, would you rather they act out at home or in other situations? Well, Mom, at home, of course." Children have to vent their frustrations and test their boundaries. At home, if they know they are loved, it is safer for them to do that.

My husband and I have watched our children go through the trials and joys of school. While we expect them to do the best they can, what is really important is that they handle their trails and joys as true Christians. In school, where they have no control of their surroundings, their Christian journey is truly begun on a rocky road. The following is what I believe Christ really wants us to learn.

The first most important thing Christ wishes to develop in us is a sense of structure. His organized Church is built on structure. We know what to expect in Church at any given point in time. By providing structure, we find comfort in knowing what to expect. In the summer, we relax our routines and do things very differently than we do during the school year. We stay up later at night and sleep later in the morning. One day, we may plan an outing, and the next day we spend at home to take care of responsibilities of the house. We look forward to this in June because it allows the children to relax a bit and enjoy their childhood in a different way. When August rolls around, though, things are different. The chaos begins to rise up. Arguments between siblings become more apparent, and complaining is a constant aggravation. The desire for the structure of the school year is becoming more prevalent as we moms roll our eyes and say, thank God school starts soon!

Obedience is what God calls us to. When we hear his call, we must always be obedient to what he expect of us. His desire is for our happiness, but we can only achieve this through obedience to His Word. Being obedient requires structure in the form of modeling our lives in the image of Christ. We begin to learn this in school. We must obey the principal and teachers by doing what they ask without complaint or rebellion.

Tolerance is a big issue at school when it comes to having a class with a teacher whose style we really do not like. We have to learn to act respectfully and appropriately even though we feel uncomfortable. We must go on and do our best in spite of our opinions. There are many things in life that we do not understand, but we must realize our differences and accept them with the knowledge that God loves us all in the very same way.

School provides us with a community and should be developed in the image of Christ. This is the place where we learn to share, help others and forgive in an environment other than our family. When we are younger, the older children help us and, when we get older, we learn how to serve others by helping our teachers and the younger children. Our teachers show us how to resolve our differences and how to share, both our abilities and our possessions. They know how to love us with detachment, unlike parents whose emotions can easily cloud the issues.

In a conversation with my husband the other day, I told him that we need not worry about being perfect parents. Of course, we should try to do our best, but we all have our strengths and weaknesses, and it seems that where we are lacking, the school is able to carry out. Teachers are trained to love our children with detachment, unlike parents. Our children learn from other sources than our example as parents, and a good school environment is a wonderful source.

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