In Sonlight B’s Understood Betsy, Elizabeth Ann has an epiphany:
never before had she known what she was doing in school. She had always thought she was there to pass from one grade to another, and she was ever so startled to get a glimpse of the fact that she was there to learn how to read and write and cipher [do arithmetic] and generally use her mind, so she could take care of herself when she came to be grown up.
This paragraph gives a basic answer to the question, “Why educate?”
Answer: So your children can take care of themselves when they are grown.
After basic survival, when your children reach adulthood, you would probably prefer that they be able to do something they enjoy, rather than just exist. And since most people find it easier to thrive when they have education and skills, you teach your children.
A Christian Parent's Answer to "Why Educate?"
But if you’re a Christian, you have another reason to teach your children, beyond survival and life satisfaction.
The Scriptures tell story after story of God’s work in the world. And as His people, we participate in His work. As Paul tells the church at Philippi, “it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”
Or take the verse in Ephesians, where Paul says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
The word handiwork (poiema) is the word that we get poem from: A thing that the master crafts, creates, makes beautiful. Poets reveal part of themselves in their poems. God reveals part of Himself in us.
And believers, as God’s poems, go into the world to do the good works that He prepared for us to do.
But what is it that we are supposed to do, practically? Good question!
Blessed to be a Blessing
If you look back to Abraham, God blessed him, saying, “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.”
Paul refers back to this blessing when he wrote to the Galatians, “He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.”
The blessing to the Jews—blessed to be a blessing—extends now to the Gentiles, all who aren’t Jews. All are now eligible for the blessing—a blessing to receive the promise of the Spirit, and to be a blessing.
When you think about your children’s education, then, you are doing more than helping them survive and thrive. You help your children develop their gifts, and equip them, so that they can do whatever God calls them to do to further His Kingdom, and to bless others.
Of course, when your children are young, you don’t know what they will be called to do later in life. (And if you, as an adult, aren’t sure about that either, you’re in good company. Moses spent 40 years as a prince in Egypt, and another 40 as a shepherd, before he embarked on his third career much later in life.)
Educating Your Children for Whatever God Has in Store
Because you don’t know the good works that God has prepared for your children, how do you prepare them now?
You can notice and nurture your children’s gifts, and help give them a well-rounded education from which they will be able to go in any direction that God calls. You can help your children learn the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic, and then allow them to flourish in the areas where they show interest and special skill.
Sonlight helps you equip your unique children, develop their specific gifts, and direct their hearts towards God and towards God’s work in the world. We want your children to graduate from high school with a deep love for God, compassion for the world, and the confidence that they can do what God asks them to do.
By giving you the framework for solid academics and providing a host of godly heroes, you are freed to do what only you can do: walk with and guide your children.
When you think about education, then, yes, prepare your children for adulthood, and prepare them, to the best of your ability, to let them thrive. And teach them, nurture them, and equip them so they are equipped to do the good works that God has prepared for them to do.
Thank you for loving your children so well. We are with you in your task of education, teaching your children so they survive, thrive, bless.
To find out more, get a Sonlight catalog and read the descriptions of all the possibilities available to you.