June 03, 2019
Having a proper perspective in life gives us strength and determination to go through challenges. When we know the purpose behind our hardships, it’s easier to endure or even enjoy the process.
This is the encouragement to the Hebrew believers in Hebrews 12:11 (NIV): No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Education is an example of this. Too many students do not want anything to do with it, for they associate it with many negative things. But when you associate it with a vision of a good future, a future of opportunities, great relationships, and significant impact, you might begin to see that the sacrifice is all worth it.
Noah Webster, the “Father of American Scholarship Education,” defined “education” in his 1828 dictionary this way:
Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations.
Looking at this definition, we find that education is actually about learning for life. In this article, let us try to understand this definition in light of biblical truth.
The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:
To know wisdom and instruction,
to understand words of insight . . .
Everyone is born with ignorance, and our first education is the culture around us. But culture could both be good or bad, depending on the environment that we grew up in. Hence, we must be deliberate in teaching the youth the right things.
The goal of education is to shape character, develop understanding, and train the mind to know wisdom and instruction.
Education, may it be formal or informal, has never been this reachable than in our time, a.k.a. the “information age.” Learning has become much easier as people gain quicker access to information by just the click of a finger.
This should encourage us to maximize the learning opportunities that are within our reach. Derek Bok, former Harvard University president, would say “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”
We must constantly ask ourselves, “In what area in my life do I need further education?”
. . . to receive instruction in wise dealing,
in righteousness, justice, and equity . . .
Self-control, or leadership over ourselves, is the foundation of leadership in every other context. When one does not have control of his own appetites and desires, these will eventually destroy him later on in life and in his leadership.
More than the lessons in the subjects in school, education teaches us to develop self-leadership or internal governance. Whenever you prioritize your homework over leisure and other things of lesser importance, you develop self-discipline, which is useful in all areas of your life.
Hugo Grotius, a Dutch statesman, said “A man cannot govern a nation if he cannot govern a city; he cannot govern a city if he cannot govern a family; he cannot govern a family unless he can govern himself; and he cannot govern himself unless he be governed by God.”
Self-governance is only possible when our desires, will, and appetites are surrendered to a higher authority.
Is your life governed by God? How does this produce self-control in you?
. . . to give prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth . . .
Education aids in a person’s character development.
Manners describe the way you relate with others in a socially acceptable way. Habits, on the other hand, are your formed ways of doing things. They can either be good or bad, and can either build or destroy your character and reputation.
“Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there,” said John Wooden, a multi-awarded American basketball coach.
Your character and reputation help determine the opportunities that you will have. In the same way, these things also determine the kind of people that you will attract with.
These two things—people and opportunities—are crucial in forming you as an adult.
What wrong habits do you need to unlearn?
Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance . . .
Most of today’s formal education is about building a career, getting a job, and earning money. Sadly, most of our efforts at education are directed only towards money, but money is only one aspect of success.
How about developing your relational, emotional, or adversity quotient? How about wisdom in decision-making? How about education specifically directed towards making us successful in handling our friendships, family, and finances?
Often, we need to find mentors, people who will teach us in different areas of life. Initially, you would need to find a mentor for character, for relationships, for financial literacy and for your vocation.
Who could mentor you in your field?
You might be thinking that trying to excel in your academics would make your life boring. Not really!
Being excellent at something will always be exciting. Being purposeful in all that you do removes a lot of confusion in your life, and being focused on your season removes all the clutter of “treadmill energy” that usually leaves you tired in life.
Yes, the vast amount of effort that you need to put in and all the sacrifices that you need to make may feel unpleasant at the moment, but these things will all be rewarded in the end.
Most importantly, nothing compares to the peace that you’ll have in your heart, knowing that you have spent your life on what is truly meaningful and significant.
Do you see a man skilled in his work?
He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.
Proverbs 22:29 (NIV 1984)
Those who are willing to pay the price of excellence will someday make a difference in the world and will serve before kings.
Are you willing to pay this price now and reap the rewards in the future?