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Grounded in the Eternal -- August 2019 Newsletter Article

School begins August 7th. I can’t believe it! When I was a kid we were off from Memorial Day until Labor Day. Summer vacation felt like a lifetime! Now those were the days!

With the return of school, our thoughts immediately turn to memories of reading, writing, and arithmetic. We remember days on the playground, special teachers we had, and good friends we made. No doubt, we also have memories of conflicts with other students and classes in which we struggled. School can be a mixed bag, some of it good and some of it not so good.

One of the often unspoken aspects of school is the passing on of values. I say unspoken because we live in a time when the emphasis is on the multicultural nature of our country. Public schools have to walk the fine line of trying to pass on the generally-accepted values of hard work, discipline, honesty, compassion, etc. without imposing a particular belief system about the source of these values.

This makes the job of the public school teacher very difficult. He or she has to encourage students to practice these virtues simply because it’s the right thing to do. They may also point out that by living these virtues life will be better for the student and society, but it can never go any deeper than that.

This is where the home and the church comes in. It’s our job to teach our kids that these values point to an objective moral order to the universe. The fact that virtues like kindness, love, fortitude, courage, prudence, self-control make our lives better, they work, so to speak, is because this world is ordered by a good and loving God, and we have an eternal purpose and destiny.

The school can never ground our kids in the eternal. It can never give our children the deeper rationale for living a virtuous life or for life in general. It’s our job!

As school begins, I encourage you to consider the practice of family devotions, along with family talks about God. The books I read from for my children’s sermons are actually devotional books for children. You can buy them for yourself and use them at home. There are several I use: Little Visits with God, Little Visits with Jesus, and More Little Visits with God.

Children are naturally inquisitive. They want to know why something is so. Being told “be good” doesn’t cut it. Being told why you should be good, beyond that it’s nice or helpful to them and society, fills it with deeper meaning and purpose. Being good is actually their eternal purpose and destiny and a gift that comes from God through his Son, Jesus Christ.

Blessings to you as we begin a new year of educating our children!

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