~ Nancy Goring
Our country talks a lot about education. Without educational institutions, we would have real problems. Not everyone could school their children at home although homeschooling is a reasonable and admirable way of educating our children. One of the many problems we often hear about is, "dummying down the kids." For those who keep up with the media and other means of staying on top of those things applicable to the education field, it simply means that we are not doing what it takes to truly educate our children. For example, "teaching to the test," so that the kids will score highly and schools will receive their full funding. Another way would be lower our expectations and set guidelines, choose textbooks that were easier to understand. All of this would be done so that our children look better, whether they are truly being taught what is necessary for them to succeed and learn. I don't know how much of this is true, as I am not a full-time teacher in a classroom everyday observing what is taking place, so I have no way of knowing, and also every school district is not the same.
This is not an article about public education, but after hearing some of the remarks mentioned above, I was reminded of a young preacher who approached me one evening and asked me if I thought the children were getting the education they needed in our Bible classes. It sort of made me stop and think, as his opinion was that we do not challenge our kiddos nearly enough. He stated that many parents complained that their children were given too much memorization work in Bible classes and that the teachers expected way too much out of them. He found this to be very discouraging. I had to admit that I probably had not made the effort to challenge my students in Bible class, only requiring one Bible verse to be memorized each quarter. So......after much thinking I set out to make sure that I was not "dummying down" our young people in our Bible classes. Much to my surprise, when I started giving assignments in various forms, the kids were ready not only to receive them, but even gave suggestions as to what they would like to accomplish themselves! It gave me pause....what had I been thinking? How many opportunities had I missed? And how much time had been wasted! So I got busy and had them help me design different things they might like to do to help increase their Bible knowledge. They were so pleased with themselves when they finished a project and they were learning.
The point of all this is to say, let's take advantage of the 30-40 minutes we have on Sunday morning and Wednesday night and make sure we are giving our young folks what they need. They are capable of understanding the King James Version or ASV - they don't need modern versions to clarify if we are discussing things in class. Let them use a Bible Encyclopedia or Concordance or Dictionary to assist, if needed. They will need to learn how to use these tools. Encourage them to ask questions, define words, let them look up Bible lands and make maps at home and bring them to class to share. Do reports on Bible characters, letting them choose their favorite one. And by all means, be sure to involve the parents and encourage the kids to get the parents to work with them at home. Learning is contagious and it will spur Bible studies at home as a family! There is so much we can do to help them learn. Have fun with it and make it fun for them. Learning should be fun, especially when it involves our souls. The preacher said, "Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth...." These are great times of learning and filling our hearts with God's Word. Let's do all we can to give them as much as they are capable of handling so that when they grow older they will have a strong foundation.
Nancy is the wife of Bill Goring, who serves as a gospel
preacher and elder for the Chipman Road church of Christ in Lee’s Summit,
Missouri. She has 4 children, 11 grandchildren and has taught Bible class for
over 40 years, speaks at Ladies Day gatherings and has published several books
Becoming Holiness: Studies in Titus Chapter 2 and Overcoming our Self-Imposed Prisons.