11 ¶ Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
Psalm 34:11 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”
In addition to being a country preacher, I’ve been a public schoolteacher for over 20 years. I’m very worried about the direction that our nation’s schools are heading. In my opinion, the bureaucrats in high places are making us teachers teach children all the wrong things. Have you noticed that everything is focused on getting your kids to score high on the end-of-the-year high-stakes exam? In my way of thinking, there are a lot more important things in life than passing a bubble-in-the-correct-dot standardized test.
When I first became a teacher all those years ago, it was wonderful. We teachers just taught school. When I taught middle-school science, we read out of the textbook and discussed the pictures. We answered the questions at the end of the chapter. We colored pictures of bacteria, and did worksheets. We watched filmstrips and videos about science. Sometimes I demonstrated an experiment (from the back of the chapter) on my desk. There was no pressure to have the kids hit a certain score on a standardized test. I just got up every morning and spent the day “teaching school.”
Now, looking back over those decades, here is the remarkable thing. Even though we didn’t have a lot of expensive resources or equipment back then, and even though we didn’t spend every waking moment teaching the kids to fill in a ScanTron sheet with a Number 2 Lead Pencil, those youngsters grew up to be phenomenal human beings. I helped to educate doctors and lawyers, nurses and teachers, pastors and missionaries, welders and electricians, and the man who drives the Frito-Lay truck. I am always thrilled to see my former students—especially when they introduce me to their spouses and show me their children (and tell me where they take their children to Sunday School).
I used to stand in front of the classes of young people that I taught and tell them what I wished for them: “I want to teach you so that you can get a good job. But more than that, I want to teach you so that you can have a good life. I want to teach you so that you can have a good family and good children.” They always nodded their heads and agreed with me that these were all things worth striving for….
I’m aggravated with the way the educational system is heading, but I’m not a bit discouraged. I’ve always heard that “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” I plan on squeaking to anyone who will listen until things start to change. I hope that you will join me in making a noise. And until the system changes, I plan on doing my part whenever I get the chance by teaching the little ones about the joys that come from serving God and from learning about the things that He has created. Then, as the grow, the children will always know how to be happy in this life, and in the life that is to come. This week, let’s pray that the memory verse (at the top) will truthfully be the words of our lips: “Come you children and listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.”
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 25 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days he works at a public school.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 20) and Seth (age 16) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the Preacher believes that we all should battle sin and ignorance so that there will be more happiness in this world.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.