This week millions of students are strapping on the backpack that has become buried in the corner of their room, and they’re stepping up into a higher grade of school.
What’s going to happen there? They will learn, of course. Everyone needs to learn, especially children whose minds are like sponges.
One friend of mine who is an expert in the field of education says that any education teaches these three basic components: academics, skills and character. Which is most important?
Academics teach students what they need to know. 2+2=4 and the capital of South Dakota is Pierre.
Skills teach students how they need to do. Problem solving. Conflict resolution. Communication.
Character teaches students who they need to be. A person whose identity is valuable. A person who understands the blessings and boundaries of their particular roles, such as son or daughter, brother or sister, shortstop or stagehand or first or second fiddle. A person of respect, faith, gratefulness, humility, kindness, joy, courage, generosity, and other virtues.
If you had to choose which one of these your child learned the most this year in school, which would it be? Academics, skills or character?
God has a preference for all who want to learn and follow his ways, trusting in his promises and taking on the world before us.
“For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you” (Proverbs 2:10,11).
Where does wisdom reside? Brain (academics)? Hands (skills)? No. In a person’s heart. That’s character.
Who or what is pleased with knowledge? GPA (academics)? Someday a potential employer at an interview (skills)? No. A person’s soul. That’s character.
In his love for us, God enrolls us in his school no matter what grade we’re in, what college we graduated from, what career we pursue, or how long we’ve been retired. His school teaches us godly character, through all kinds of experiences—even through academic or skill-building experiences, which are good for us.
God helps you be you. Character “will protect you.” Character “will guard you.” The wisdom of God’s Word is where it all starts.
Read your Bible often. Open your heart in prayer, tuning into God’s work in your life. Change in repentance daily. Be the person God is making you to be.
Go back to school. And never leave.
PRAYER: Dear God, as schools teach students for another year, teach them—and me—the virtue and value of character. Change hearts. Stir souls. Make us all into the person you believe we can be, by your life-changing grace. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Read Proverbs 2 today. How do we get wisdom? What does wisdom look like? List at least 3 ways that wisdom helps us.