Education is Gravitational

“If you have this one household item in your home, it significantly increases the chance of your child succeeding in school.” So posted an article from a few years back. Though it seemed the article was ridiculously suggesting this one piece of furniture somehow had magical “smartness” powers, it was actually making a good point. The item was a bookshelf, and the idea was that most homes with bookshelves in them also have people in them who like books. The academic power didn’t come from the bookshelf at all. The influence came from parents, who themselves valued reading specifically and learning in general.

Education is gravitational. Parents set the tone for learning in their house. Whether we like it or not, our attitude towards learning will be impressed on our children. You’ve heard before that much of how our children turn out is more “caught than taught”. God built our children to learn, not just by how and what we speak to them, but by how we live. Your ingrained habits and the rhythm of your life have more influence over your children than what you teach them verbally. We can’t escape who we are and neither can our children. Just as God’s image was stamped upon us, so our image will be impressed upon our children. We have all laughed (or cried!) when we realize we have taken on less than desirable traits of our parents we never thought we would. The same will be true for our children. In particular, our attitude towards learning is quite possibly the greatest influence in our child’s education.

God built the world this way on purpose. All through out the scriptures, the responsibility for educating children is placed squarely on the parent’s shoulders (Deuteronomy 6:7, Ps 78 1-8, Ephesians 6:4). It makes sense that when God gave this command, he also built children with the hardware to be most influenced by their parents.

As a school we cannot overcome the gravitational force that is created in your home, nor do we want to. Our mission at St. Abe’s is to come alongside you as you raise your children, and support you in that effort by offering a classical education pointed at creating disciples of Christ. Many classical Christian schools define their relationship to parents with the latin phrase “en loco parentis”, or “in the place of the parents”. A better phrase seems to be “apud parentis”, or “beside the parents”. We want to be working within the force of your gravitational pull, not against it.

Does this mean you need a Ph.D. to have academically successful children? By no means. Rather, we should consider how the following questions would be answered: Do you value learning in your home? Do you love God with your mind? Are you inquisitive about the world God made? The imprint of a parent that does these things is greater than the power of any magical bookshelf.

Corey McEachran

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