Friday, December 17, 2010

It's not enough

A recently graduated high school student wrote to the Australian press, complaining that the school did not teach him things he needed to know. It taught acedemic subjects, but not, he says, how to handle life. You might reply that the school is not there to teach him all there is, his family and others around him have a role there, too. But still, I could see what he means. It reminded me of something I read in MAD Magazine, years ago. A father was saying to his son, "You need to work hard, son! Go to college, and get a good job!"
The son asked "Why?"
The father replied, "So you get paid good money, and then you can send your kids to college, and then they can get good jobs."
The son said, "Well, then what happens?"
The father said, "Well, uh, then they make money, so they can send their kids to college, so that they can get good jobs."
And so on. You see how the father hesitated, because he could see how it became a bit of a repetitive thing, a circle that kept repeating itself. And all he seemed to see was that you needed to get a 'good' job, whatever that is, and make good money, so you can....and that's it. The son was looking for meaning in life. Are we just like animals, which just live to produce offspring, provide for them while they grow to adulthood, so that they too can provide for their offspring, and so on....
The young letter writer could see that there is more to life than just working and earning, although of course those things matter. We need to live, and if we have children we should provide for them as well as we can.
But we don't live by bread alone.
If we don't exist just to reproduce and keep the species in existence, what are we here for.
As the old cliche goes, what is life about?
Back in the 1960s, the hippies and others wanted more than just the materialism that their elders seemed to live for. But then the generation before them remembered the Great Depression, and all the destruction of World War 2, and building up material security was important to them. It's a problem that they lost sight of something here: why are we on Earth? Is it just to survive and leave descendants behind?
Jesus said it first: Humankind does not live by bread alone. The body is not all there is. The soul has needs too, and those needs include a direction, a reason to live.
If I could get all the population of my country to hear ONE thing I said, that would be it. You exist because God caused you to be conceived, to be born, and to be alive today. He has a purpose for you life.
Ask Him what it is.
If the young letter writer did not see how his high school education showed him that, it shows that secular education has a major shortcoming. It does not deal with the matters of the Spirit. In fact thanks to some 'reformers' and 'social progressives' who try to get God out of schools, the school is not allowed to deal with things of the Spirit. And that is its shortcoming.
I can see why Christian schools are being set up. The fill a need that secular public schools do not. I can see why more parents want to home school their children. That way they don't have to leave the nurture of their kids to people who either deny God His place, or simply don't care, or who are not permitted to mention such things.
So who is going to tell them? Education itself is not enough. Evangelization is the life-blood of the human spirit, without which it can develop spiritual deformities and become distorted in what it seeks. It might lapse into hedonism, personal gratification, or it might get duped into bizarre forms of mysticism that come from Satan, although that being tries not to be seen doing it.
We do not live by bread alone. We are spirits in bodies for a time, not bodies with spirits.
Let no-one hide the fact.


Marshall Art said...

First of all, I wanted to stop by to express my hope that you had a Merry Christmas all the way over there on the other side of the world.

As to the post, one can argue the reason for school and what its purpose should be. Whether it exists to guide our kids morally is pretty much a dead issue these days. Except for parochial schools, I strongly doubt their understanding of the concept of morality. If they didn't go beyond "don't lie, steal or hit people", I'd be happy they left the rest to us.

But is it possible that the kid could have been referring to job hunting or money management or things of that nature? A secular school could find room in its curriculum for such things I think, and thus better prepare kids to handle life. In any case, it would lessen the overwhelming nature of being on one's own after school regarding the many mundane tasks that must be routinely accounted for. Most of these are things most kids never even consider and such details left unattended lead to greater problems.

Just sayin'.

Happy New Year!

Tamela's Place said...

Hello again Andrew, i have so missed coming around and reading some of my fav. blogs it is good to be back and in the blogging world again and reading informative writings such as yours once again. What a great post. I think if people could really get a hold of this last statement you made:
We do not live by bread alone. We are spirits in bodies for a time, not bodies with spirits.
Let no-one hide the fact.

Then they would have a reason to live and to enjoy thier life as well making a difference now and in eternity.

profound words and great post

tammy :)

Andrew Clarke said...

You're probably right, Art. It leads back to the old question, what do people expect from schools. You've probably seen those bumper stickers saying "Do you want a baby delivered? Get your lawyer to do it." I felt like printing one saying "You want your kid brought up? Get your lawyer to do it."

Andrew Clarke said...

Hi Tammy, good to hear from you again.