In a few short weeks the Australian school year will commence. Already, teachers are planning and plotting the new year. For a Christian teacher there can be no better starting point than the passage above in order to revitalise one’s orientation.
It begins with the famous “Shema”, “Hear O Isreal,” and then it continues with one of the most profound yet simple explanations of what a faithful education looks like. In short, it encompasses life and involves the community of faith. All of life is the arena for teaching and learning – nothing is left out. A child is to grow up with a worldview that is anchored in the faith of the community.
The heart of education is to be a relationship with God. Love God with “all” heart, soul and strength is at its core. Then from this relationship springs an understanding of God’s world – a world ordered and organised by God’s “commands”. These are not to be offered to the child as an “option”. A concept popular with today’s parents. “When the child is older they can make up their own mind.” We don’t do that with food or health, so why faith? Impress them on your children – there is an urgency.
Life is the school room. At home, in the community and bedtime are opportunities not to miss. Our actions (hands) and our thinking (heads) are to be shaped by our relationship with God. So whether in your own home (doorframes) or venturing into the world (gates) we are to walk, talk and be, a living representative of God’s family. That is what we are training our children into.
So to my fellow pedagogues, whether professional or home schoolers, may this passage be an impetus for the task in 2012. And in case you feel left out, every Christian is part of the training of our children. Your word and example is to be a central aspect of the world of their education.