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An Educational Foundation

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BY DAN KIEHL, Senior Pastor of Oakwood Presbyterian Church

     One of the biggest changes that I’ve seen in State College since my family moved here in 2012 has been in the skyline of the town. It’s been shocking to see so many new high-rise apartment and commercial buildings being erected in such a short period of time. Older two-story buildings disappear, and several months later a monolithic structure stands in its place.

     The only stage of constructing these buildings that seems to take a long time is the laying of the foundation. We will drive by the construction site for months, seeing nothing but tarp-covered fences surrounding a huge square pit, while an army of workers create the most important part of the structure. Once this base and infrastructure is in place, the rest of the building will rise quickly. A strong foundation makes for a strong building; a weak foundation will be catastrophic.

     When we go to Scripture, we find that the responsibility of training our children is one of our highest callings as parents. This is the long, slow process of building the foundation for their lives. We live in a culture where the vast majority of a parent’s responsibility to educate their children is delegated to others – the nursery schools, elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools. For most parents, we feel we’ve done our job if our kids get their diplomas and in our spare time we teach them how to cook, sew, play baseball, or build a bird house. The educational responsibility has been so thoroughly delegated that most parents, either consciously or subconsciously, see it as the ultimate duty of the state or the private school to prepare our children for life.

     I’m not advocating here for one particular method of educating our children. Every family and every child is different, and parents have the responsibility to decide what is best. For our family, a solid Christian school was the best option. It is a good and often necessary option for parents to seek assistance in training their children and to delegate some of the responsibility to teach. Believe me, my children wouldn’t have wanted me to teach them trigonometry! But it is the parents, and especially the fathers, who will stand before God and give an account for the stewardship of their children’s education.

     The most important “course” that our children should be taking continually is Biblical Theology and Application. In Deuteronomy 6:5-7 the Lord says to parents, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 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.” Training in the Scriptures must permeate the lifestyle of our households.

     A thorough knowledge of God’s Word and a Biblical worldview are the foundation of all other learning. Ecclesiastes 12:11-13 says, “...like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd…Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh…Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” In other words, the study of history, mathematics, science, and the arts is not only worthless, it is dangerous if it isn’t built upon the foundation of a Biblical worldview. Our children must know the Bible and see all of life in its light.

      How complete and how sound is the foundation of your children’s education?