Once in awhile you hear a great quote that hits home. Here is one I heard recently that has really stuck with me. "We need children to know what they see, not see what we know." What do you think? Isn't this a great way to explain the primary goal of teaching and parenting? Isn't this more important than ever in the Information Age we live in?
When I was in school we called knowing what you see "discernment." Discernment is one of the ultimate goals of Christian living. Here are a couple examples. As Christians, we are called to dress modestly. The media driven culture young people experience does not value modesty. (If you do not believe me, watch TV geared for teens.) We do our best as parents and school to insist that our children dress modestly. However, what we really want is for our children to discern for themselves the rightness in dressing modestly. Here is another example. As Christians, we believe that all people are created in God's image. We are called to value all people. Diversity is one of the greatest blessings God gives us. Our call is to teach children to value differences. We can have rules in school that shape how kids treat each other by punishing them when they use differences to hurt others but what we really want is for kids to respect each other because they want to. Discernment is the first step in developing the desire to live a Christian life.
The obvious question for parents and teachers then is "how do we teach discernment?" Of course, there are lots of methods we can use to teach children but one method stands above the rest. The most important way we teach children to discern is to practice what we preach. Not only do we need to be all about teaching children "to know what they see", but we also need to model it. Sometimes we talk teaching children to see through Christ-colored lenses. This is what Christian schooling is all about. This is what GRCES is all about.