What identity is our education system shaping in the young people entrusted to us? What identity are we trying to shape? And why does it matter?
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I have been struck lately about how fundamental our identity is to every area of life. Whether it is how we manage our resources (finances, energy, time, ... ) or how we react to people or situations we find ourselves in, the extent to which our identity is shaped by and founded in God determines our responses to life's challenges. When the storm comes, do we stand firm, or are we swept away?
How does an identity founded in materialism, for instance, react to financial insecurity? And how does an identity that gets its sense of security and its fulfilment from God react in the same situation?
I wonder whether, in the former case, our reaction will resemble the foolish man in Matthew 7:24-25, whose house comes crashing down. On the other hand, by rooting our sense of meaning, joy, comfort, security, and fulfilment in Jesus, none of life's storms is able to deprive us of any of those fundamental human necessities!
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” - Matthew 7:24-27
In a culture that implicitly connects a person's worth with their material success, and an education system whose aim can often seem to be the creation of consumers and producers, are we implicitly training children to build their houses on sand? Or do we approach them with God's loving eyes, who sees every child as a wonderful and priceless human being - irrespective of their so-called "success"?
Children are brilliant at picking up implicit messages - perhaps the best gift any of us can give a child is to ask God to grant us his view of, his vision for, the children entrusted to us. No matter how well or how badly they perform...
Robin Staple is The Stapleford Centre's coordinator. He is passionate about God, theology and coffee - and especially about how the Christian vision for holistic and wholesome education can offer a real contribution to the common good of society.
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