Human beings are incredible beings. We have the capacity to learn constantly from our 5 senses. Whenever we taste something, our brain searches our memory and cross references the taste against thousands of other taste experiences. We then file the information. If for example we eat something that makes us sick, we will learn. Next time we have an opportunity to eat that thing, our brain will cross reference it’s smell or the sight of it and alarm bells will ring.
My favourite food as a child was pork chops but I once ate some pork that gave me food poisoning, now even when I over ride the danger signals that my brain sends me about pork being dangerous, the smell that hits me doesn’t make my mouth water anymore, it reminds me of spending 12 hours on the toilet. And even after I over ride that, as I chew the pork, I am reprogramming my files so that I can enjoy the experience. And all this happens in fractions of a second without me even thinking about it. My tase, smell, sight and memory are working together to help me learn, to keep me safe, to ensure I survive.
Human beings are truly amazing creations. When a baby is born, it can do virtually nothing. Within the first 2 years of it’s life, it will learn to talk, walk, listen, eat, it will learn what it likes, doesn’t like, to form relationships, to love and much more. It does all this through it’s senses and it’s main teachers are it’s parents. They love the child, they encourage it to try to do things by itself, they hold their hands behind it, waiting to catch it as it falls while trying to climb some stairs for the first time. The parents delight in showing their child new experiences and observing how they act. I still remember laughing as I watched my daughter’s face the first time she ate ice cream, and how proud I was when she asked to go to the toilet instead of doing it in her diaper, and how amazed I was when I woke in the middle of the night to see that she had already found her milk on her own and was happily drinking.
But then, something we do seems kind of strange to me. We send the child to school. We then, as parents decide that it is time for our children to start learning and we hand that responsibility over to teachers. The teachers often do the best they can and sometimes do a very good job. But I want to ask you….if you had 24 babies to raise at the same time, could you teach them enough about love and relationships as you would want to? You see formal education has a purpose, it has a vital role in life but there are some things that parents will always be the best teachers for.
So what is the role of formal education ? Now here I believe we are making big mistakes in too many of our schools. We must continue with the things that are natural and the things that work. Just like the parent, teachers and schools need to let children use their senses to learn, they need to support the child to do things on their own and they need to value achievement and effort.
The problem is that a lot of teachers try to teach children. You don’t need to teach them, just help them to learn. You can’t sit a child at a desk and tell it everything you know and expect the child will learn it. And even if they can learn it they won’t value it. Human’s need to discover things.
It is said that it is possible to store a million facts in one’s mind and still be entirely uneducated We should not be aiming for children that can fill in every gap on a test with pieces of knowledge, all the knowledge in the world is a mouse click away. What we need are people who know are driven by God to use knowledge to benefit their community, to fix pollution, to provide food for the starving, to reorganize the economy so that wealth is distributed evenly.
We don’t want to create in our students a false sense of pride by using class averages and ranking systems. For a start, they mean nothing, take your rank number one student from school A and put them in school B and they become rank 7, compare your child’s test score to their class average and you may think ‘phew!’ everything’s ok with my child’s education but look at the class average in the class next door or give the same test to a bunch of students in Australia and see what happens. The next problem is our children grow up using their peers as a standard for success. They are satisfied to be average or feel good when they are above average. We are not called to do good works, we are called to do excellent works. We are told not to test our faith by the measure of the world. We cannot let our vision or our measure of success be determined by our eyes, we must seek God and His vision for us.
We don’t want to produce generations of children who will duduk, diam, dan dengar or sit down, shut up and listen. We don’t want a youth that will obey older generations mindlessly and submit to the will of the powers that be without questioning first…….is this God’s plan ?
Deuteronomy 28 : 1-13
1-2Today I am giving you the laws and teachings of the LORD your God. Always obey them, and the LORD will make Israel the most famous and important nation on earth, and he will bless you in many ways. 3 The LORD will make your businesses and your farms successful. 4 You will have many children. You will harvest large crops, and your herds of cattle and flocks of sheep and goats will produce many young. 5 You will have plenty of bread [a] to eat. 6The LORD will make you successful in your daily work. 7 The LORD will help you defeat your enemies and make them scatter in all directions. 8 The LORD your God is giving you the land, and he will make sure you are successful in everything you do. Your harvests will be so large that your storehouses will be full.
9If you follow and obey the LORD, he will make you his own special people, just as he promised. 10Then everyone on earth will know that you belong to the LORD, and they will be afraid of you. 11 The LORD will give you a lot of children and make sure that your animals give birth to many young. The LORD promised your ancestors that this land would be yours, and he will make it produce large crops for you. 12 The LORD will open the storehouses of the skies where he keeps the rain, and he will send rain on your land at just the right times. He will make you successful in everything you do. You will have plenty of money to lend to other nations, but you won’t need to borrow any yourself. 13 Obey the laws and teachings that I’m giving you today, and the LORD your God will make Israel a leader among the nations, and not a follower. Israel will be wealthy and powerful, not poor and weak.
Somewhere we have lost the true reason for education. We are not called to break the spirit of every child and ensure that he is controllable. Ensure that he will toil for the remainder of his life for the monetry good of the nation. Ensure that he will not rock the boat or ask for more than his share. We are called to prepare our children for greatness. They are the sons and daughters of the king. They are the holy nation, the chosen people and they must be given the opportunity to develop the confidence, courage, hope, belief, faith, wisdom, knowledge, character, motivation and grounding in the word of God that they will need to lead their country and serve their God.
So what do we need to do ?
Parents, I encourage you to look at your children with new eyes. Make your children one of your priorities. Give them TIME , PRAYER , CONSCIOUSNESS and DEDICATION.
Spend time with them and let them learn form you. Learn how to treat people , learn how to communicate , learn about your passion for God, let them ask you questions, let them share their thoughts and feelings with you. Be open and honest with your children, explain clearly to them that you are not perfect, discuss your feelings with them, tell them why you yelled at the maid or the driver or them, explain that sometimes pressure from other places makes you do things you shouldn’t do, or that sometimes whole societies can do things the wrong way. Explain that that’s not the way to treat someone who works diligently for Rp 300,000 or 500,000 a month or any amount, tell them that you weren’t really angry with them BUT most importantly let them see you apologize to the maid or pray for forgiveness with them. Does all this sound like a bit too much ? You might think nothing of spending 10’s of millions of rupiah on a good school but I’m telling you, it’s worth nothing if YOU don’t give your kids an education about the things that they should learn about from you . .
When you are with them, give them your full consciousness. Don’t listen with one ear while your mind goes over your next day at work or plans your weekend golf trip. Don’t answer them with ‘aha, yeah, um, I don’t know’ listen to their questions, focus your spirit on them, learn from them, find out who they really are. If you spend time with them but it’s not quality time, by that I mean your not with them in mind, body and spirit, you may as well be at work.
Pray for and more importantly with your children. Invite God into their lives, help them develop a relationship with God and you be part of that relationship. Teach them to call on God to direct their path, to heal them when they are sick, to give them strength. Teach them to ask God to act in the lives of the people around them.
Be dedicated to your children. Be determined to be the best parent you can be. When you get home from work and you are tired, perhaps even exhausted, pick yourself up of the sofa, turn off the tv and go into your child’s bedroom to play with them. Reflect on your past failures, successes or mistakes in raising your child and ask ‘how can I do this better’
If teaching is your calling, it is a gift from God. What you do with your calling is your gift to God. Don’t ever be satisfied doing what you are required to do. Don’t accept common practices in education because other people say they are good or that’s the way things are done. Pray to God for anointing so that each and every day you don’t just teach your students but you impart the will of God. Don’t be satisfied to just have them all pass the national exams or even do well. Plant seeds that will reap a destiny. View every child in your class as a child of God and always remember that in God they have unlimited potential. Einstein failed school. That student that you think of a naughty or not too bright, God may be preparing him to be the President of Indonesia, be a part of that plan, build every student in your class, impart your passions to them.
As education changes and children are truly prepared for the purpose God has for them, there will be a revolution. It won’t be a bloody revolution more of a regeneration.Slowly children will become adults and they won’t accept that this is the way life should be. They will be people of purpose, confident in their God and themselves, and so they will make changes. They will run their businesses with compassion, they will empower their own children with a sense of destiny and as the world sees what strong people of purpose and character the children of Jesus Christ are, they will turn their eyes on us. And so they will in time be turned to Jesus.