Education is Storytelling
Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth
We will not hide [God’s works] from their children, but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.
He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children,
that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments;
and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.
Psalm 78: 18
In Psalm 78 parents are charged with the all-important task of telling their children stories. Stories of how God freed the Israelites from the superpower strength of Pharaoh and his chariots. Stories of how God chastised his children for their complaining unbelief in the desert. Stories of God’s promise to one day send the King of Kings who would rule with justice and mercy. At the end of the Psalm we are warned of the deleterious effects that will come upon our children simply by forgetting to tell these stories. We are told that they will become stiff-necked, rebellious and turn away from the One True God.
In our nation, it seems we have forgotten to tell our story. We have stopped telling our children of the Judeo-Christian and Greco-Roman roots of Western Civilization. We have stopped telling our children how the Good news of Jesus came to the pagan nations of the west, transforming them from a brutal, violent people, to a people who, however imperfectly, attempted to embrace the Christian faith and allow the leaven of the Gospel to spread among their tribes. We have stopped telling the story of how our founding fathers drew upon all the wisdom the West had to offer in order to form a more perfect union, where the Christian faith might be free to spread, where it’s citizens might be free from an overbearing government, where the basic rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness might be enjoyed by all. As a nation we have stopped telling our story and the warnings of psalm 78 have come true.
For generations, one of the primary means by which parents ensured their children would hear this story was by giving them a Classical and Christian education. Not until the last 150 years have we as a nation lost this great educational heritage and all the trappings that come with it. As a culture, we have lost a crucial tool that enables us to pass wisdom on to our children. Our desire at St. Abraham’s is that we would begin again to tell the stories of our heritage.