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School has begun again! Why do we go to school? The Lord has taught us the overall purpose of life in the two great commandments: to love the Lord with all our heart and soul and strength, and our neighbors as ourselves. Ideally school should contribute to these purposes.
Parents can talk with their children about the lasting values in learning. For example, we learn to read and write well, above all, so that we can understand the Lord’s Word, and communicate clearly and kindly with our neighbors. We learn about math and science because the orderliness and beauty of the natural world reflect the wisdom and love of the Lord, and because learning gives us the know-how to help others. We study history because it gives us examples of human beings making choices and having effects on others, and sometimes we can glimpse the working of the Lord’s providence. “All instruction is simply an opening of the way” for heavenly and spiritual things to flow into our hearts and minds. (Arcana Caelestia 1495)
When the Lord gave us the great commandment, He urged us to teach our children about Him:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. And these words which I command you this day shall be in your heart. And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up. (Deuteronomy 6:5-7)
Raising children is primarily parents’ responsibility and privilege. Children get the most out of their schooling, whether public, private, or at home, if their father and mother talk with them about what they are studying. Parents can help bring in the Lord’s point of view, as well as we can understand it.
Jesus Himself needed to be taught, just like any other child, though He learned much more quickly, fully and perfectly than we do. When He was twelve years old, Joseph and His mother found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions; and all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and answers. (Luke 2:40-52) Learning was an essential step in His becoming God-Man.
I hope your children’s year will be full of learning that opens their minds to the Lord.
Rev. Lawson M. Smith
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