Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dogs, Daniel, Moses, and Education

by Mrs. Jani Ritschard

So, I want a new puppy... No, not really - I’m actually still in the middle of training my newest  puppy (who happens to be three…). I’ve had five dogs in my adult life, though, and with each new one it is the same. I start out with hopes and goals and dreams of what that dog will become; then I do my best, doing some things right and making mistakes also. Eventually, I learn new things and begin to struggle with teaching the “old dog” new things. It is always, in dog training, easier to have started correctly with a goal in mind than it is to reteach something.  After awhile, I begin to dream about what it might have been like if I had started out that current dog with “what I know now.” At some point, I begin to want to start over with that new puppy, because after a point it is simply too complicated and difficult to deal with the accumulated mistakes in training present in the “old dog.”

I’m a dog trainer by hobby and an educator by profession, and I've begun to see a bit of a parallel. Educating children has some similarities to training dogs. Starting right from the beginning is always easier than re-teaching after bad habits have developed. The Bible tells the story of Daniel, who was educated from a Godly worldview from a young age. As a young teenager, he was deported to a foreign country - and he was already ready to make his impact on the world and the Kingdom! The Bible also tells of Moses, who in contrast was educated from what we would today call a “secular” perspective, exposed in his education to other gods. Well, Moses spent forty years learning in Egypt, then forty years re-learning in exile, and then forty more years learning in the desert. Perhaps because of Moses’ education (which was the best money and culture could afford), Moses wasn’t even activated into ministry and leadership until after he was forty. God was patient with Moses, but if I had been God I think I would have begun to think, “I want a new puppy!”  

I believe that Christian education is the “Daniel” way to educate children. The “Moses” way of educating is any other way that is not centered, surrounded, and originated from a Christian worldview. Without that Biblical perspective there is no transcendent Truth and therefore, no true learning without God. He is our Creator and therefore he is ultimately what we are learning about and why we are learning in every subject. It is God we seek to discover in everything we study. God is All and is in All, so what else can we be trying to discover?

Do we want our children to be to God as “old dogs,” or do we want them to be ready to serve Him at an early age? Do we want our children to spend their lives re-learning truth and unlearning lies after being educated outside of a Godly worldview? I believe as parents and teachers, God would want us to raise up Daniels, to have the best possible launch into purpose and usefulness in the world.

Mrs. Ritschard teaches mathematics, high school science, and French at DPCA.  Her teaching experience spans more than 20 years in both school and homeschool settings, and it is her desire to help students know the Lord and walk with Him.  Her perspectives on education and dedication are great assets to DPCA, where our passion and purpose is to provide education that blesses families and children by working with each student for  a "Daniel" perspective - ready and equipped to express God's truths and to stand for the gospel in their culture.

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