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Non-Critical Thinking

There are about fifty million children in America's schools today. Christian schools instruct a very small percentage of them. The government schools overwhelmingly educate our young people.

Most people accept this. A common perception is that all schools teach math, science, social studies, literature, and offer additional elective courses. Where kids get their education is of less importance than the fact that they get one. The high school diploma caps the thirteen year process.

Today's emphasis is on 21st century skills and in particular, "critical thinking". This is promoted as analysis, the questioning of the status quo, challenging accepted authorities. Traditional benchmarks of society, i.e. the Constitution and the police, are being put on trial by an emeging generation not satisfied with life as we have known it. In the name of critical thinking our government is using the vehicle of education to shape the reasoning of a generation. Their success is amazing.

Christian education teaches children to look at life from a different starting point than themselves. The Creator established our reality and He didn't offer much negotiation. When the Son of God states "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me," you believe Him or you don't. When it comes to the basic structures of life: authority, gender, responsibility, etc. there is not much room in God's economy for critical thinking. American schools are instructing students to be "open" and come to their own conclusions often based upon what's trending or what's polling. Christian schools are teaching their students to be open to God and embrace His ways and His Kingdom. When schools promote globalism over nationalism, when they revise the historical record to achieve cultural correctness, when they endorse deviant and immoral behavior, they have transitioned from places of learning facts and skills to agents of social change. It happens in North Korea all the time. Must it happen here, paid for by the tax payers?

There is a place for critical thinking in the classroom if we are discussing politics, economic theories, philosophy or literature. But if critical thinking has come to mean challenging the Judeo-Christian principles taken from the Bible and incorporated into the foundation and infastructure of our nation, we have lost our compass and have become a nation adrift.

Ironically, Christian schools, often criticized for repressing free thinking in their students are actually producing the most liberated. True freedom is not defining your own reality, it's discovering God's.

Light and Darkness

Ohio in October can't be beat. Crisp weather, harvest moons, vivid colors. God's creation is at its finest and when you know the Creator, it's awesome. Enter Halloween - darkness, evil, perversion, death. The Bible tells us that even though light has come into the world, men love darkness rather than the light. (John 3:19).

In our day, children are exposed to a bombardment of darkness and evil everywhere they turn. I don't believe the answer is to escape the culture and hide, but I do believe that Christians should heed the Lord's instruction in Deut. 18:9 "When you enter the land which the Lord gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations." The biblical instruction to be in, but not of the world should press every Christian parent to examine their perspective and participation in Halloween.

Halloween is a big money-maker and it is perpetuated by people wanting to "let loose" for a night. It has truly become an adult holiday, complete with horror films, and immorality. One of the best things we can do for our children is teach them that our identity with Christ and His kingdom, means non-participation in some of the things in this world. Sadly, some parents don't want their kids to miss out of the fun so they substitute Christian alternatives. But the teachable moment is lost. Christians should miss out on evil and "suffer"  rejection from their contemporaries. Isn't this part of their training as young disciples? Isn't this what Jesus fortold -that they would suffer because of their association with Him? Why would parents rescue their kids from this valuable lesson just to keep them happy and included.

Many Christian young adults grow up culturized and have a hard time discerning right from wrong and good from evil. Their participation in activities that are grievious to God have desensitized them from distinguishing between light and darkness. They have never sufferd as a Christian or been ridiculed for their faith. Their parents always found a way to make them feel included with diversions and substitute activities. They grew up being in and of the world.

Halloween has its origins in fear and evil. It provides Christian families a great opportunity to "just say no" to darkness and strengthen their identity as followers of a God who is the Light of the World. Our society is fascinated with death. Our message is life. Let's not confuse our kids.

New But Not Improved

Have you noticed that in education everything is always new? New learning theories, new programs, new methods, new technology, new facilities. The world of education thrives on the "next big thing". From Progressive Education to open classroom to outcome-based education to No Child Left Behind to Race To The Top, to hands-on learning, to 21st Century Skills, to Common Core. American schooling always seem to be on the precipe of success. In all this marketing and hype, the one thing that doesn't seem to improve is student achievement.

American education remains near the bottom of international comparisons and test scores are stagnant. New theories and programs work well for educational experts; they don't seem to help students much.

Perhaps it is time to revert to what actually did work for centuries in America's past. The old ways of learning seem simple by today's standards. Students were taught a new concept and they drilled, memorized, practiced, and reviewed until they got it. Nobody promised that learning would be fun - it was work. What kids discovered is that work that leads to success is satisfying and motivates a person to want to learn more. Kids memorized their multiplication tables, their prepositions, and their history facts and once they got, they got it.

For most people, new means better so drill and memorization are not welcome words.  However, they produced results. In sports, results matter. Coaches drill and practice all the time to develop their players, they don't spend a lot of time on self-esteem traing or feel-good athletics. They want to win. If we adopted the same strategies in the classroom as we do on the court, we would produce students focused on mastering the material.

It is unfortunate that we are so suspicious of the old ways of doing things. We are becoming a country that is rejecting its past and our children are suffering because of it.

"Thus says the Lord, "stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls. But they said we will not walk in it." Jeremiah 6:16 

Tell The Truth

In America, we must stop lying to children and start telling them what is true.

The truth is that God made all people either male or female and it is good. God did not make a mistake when he created people.

The truth is that marriage is exclusively between a man and a woman for life, and it is awesome. There is no other human relationship where the two shall become one.

The truth is that children are not the center of a family. A husband and a wife are the priority relationship in a family and when their relationship works, all other family relationships benefit. A parent-centered home is biblical; a child-centered home is out of God's order.

The truth is that biblical discipline in a family is an act of love. Witholding discipline from a child is neglect and produces insecurity and resentment.

The truth is that self-fulfillment doesn't exist. No amount of entertainment, knowledge, power, or status can satisfy the soul. Outside of God, contentment and joy will not be found.

The truth is that there is a highway that many people travel on but it leads to death. There is also a straight and narrow path that fewer people find, but it leads to life.

We live in a culture that is sending messages to children that are false. Never have kids been more confused. Jesus is the Truth and He has told us how to live. "In Him we live and move and have our being."  Acts 17:28. His Word sets us free from all the wrong messages in the world today.

At Christian Community School we are walking in the truth and it is so liberating. We are not conforming to the pattern of this world but being transformed by the renewing of our minds. We recognize our enemy's deception and say no. We listen to a different voice, and He says, "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free." John 8:32

We Are All Artists

God is creative. Man is made in His image. Therefore, man is creative. The engineer is creative in his design. The musician is creative in his composition. The gardener is creative with his flora. The baker is creative with her cakes. Has God ever fashioned a non-creative human? Impossible. The artistry of God has been given to us; it's in our constitution.

Schools should be bursting with creativity. What the Father has programmed in, parents and teachers are to draw out. What a trajedy it is today that young people suppress their talents to pass a plethora of tests. It may serve the interests of the state, but opportunities lost only rob students. Many will grow up never knowing the creativity within.

In truth, we are all artists. The more we love God, the more we see his brush. When He paints the sky, the angels smile.  

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