What do you kind of person do your wish for your child to become? Solomon advised parents to train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old, they will not depart from it. You must have a goal in mind, and the answer to my initial question is that goal. It remains sound advice today.
The difference between now and, oh say, forty years ago is the people to whom we have entrusted the training. Parents have been supplanted by everything from villages to village idiots in the employ of the Department of Education.
I remember one of those holiday argu—discussions with a family member distressed about the quality of the local school. This is the patent cop-out of those who have abrogated their responsibility for the education of their own children.
Public schools don’t need multimillion-dollar infrastructures to educate. Train a child in the 3R’s, impart a value and a love for education and you can’t stop them from learning.
Education is the function of an effort called forth by the learner. That is if you wish to learn, you will. It cannot be coerced by government regulations, public school boards, or besieged teachers. It must come from home. We don’t need dumbed-down courses of instruction; we need homes that value education.
Plato said that you cannot reason with a child, you must appeal to their desire. “Go to school and study hard,” spoken as marching orders out the door every morning is beyond useless.
A child wants to learn when they hear the value of an education discussed, and the practice of education modeled by parents. This doesn’t take an advanced degree, it only takes an example, some caring, and a tiny bit of sharing of experience and knowledge.
My parents had high school educations. However, they valued thinking for oneself, stating your beliefs with conviction, and an admiration of the will to reach higher.
I think I was in the first grade when my not-so-well-off parents invested in a huge set of encyclopedias (Google it). Thrilled that I could read, they never stopped me to tell me those were reference books more fitting for looking up stuff than pleasure reading. Right after I finished Mr. Popper’s Penguins, I started on Compton’s Pictured Encyclopedia, as a source of fun.
My mom would sit and listen to me tell her about what I read. Today, I’m sixty-six years old, and every morning Monday through Friday I sit down to college lectures on literature, history, government, or theology. After that, I study Italian for a few minutes.
I don’t do that because there was a compulsory education when I was six. And I’m not bragging on myself. I’m bragging about the two people who gave me an unquenchable thirst to know and to discover. That is the root of education--a desire to know and pointing out the way, up and forward.
Our society has many fingers to point out blame, none of which point to how we are going about it or what we are trying to accomplish. I am ready at this point to believe we actually want generation after generation of directionless, sheep-parrot chimeras. C.S. Lewis said this path leads to the abolition of man as a creature able to interact with not only the divine but his own nature.
Take advantage of the public school system’s fear and seize control of your child’s—or grandchild’s education. Become an evangelist of steadfast values, eternal principles, and self-acquired knowledge. Point people upward to what can be won with a little effort, and inspire learning in every heart.