My daughter is a flautist (I just love that word-It sounds like your beating someone up with something like a garden hose.) It actually means you play the flute.
Anyway, my daughter is a flautist in the local high school band. The band has gone through some changes in the past couple of years. They have an ambitious leader and some policies have been changed. For example, pretty much every student that is part of the band is now required to be in the marching band.
I'm not sure about requiring it but I think it's generally a good idea.
Service in extracurriculars
Anyway, I have a few thoughts about band and extra-curriculars in general (I could almost hear my daughter groan when I wrote that...) If only I had a blog or something to share my thoughts...Well, would you look at that. Well, hear goes.
I think that extra-curriculars are about service. I know. Our nation has trended toward the worldly thought that leadership is not about humility. If our society remembered that leadership is about service then it would see extracurriculars as training for leadership. A person is a better person because he serves others. He is a better person because he wants to serve others.
However, our current social condition as a country seems to forget the service aspect. This is probably because schools have now become a baby-sitting service for over-employed parents or otherwise occupied anyway. Academics as well as extracurriculars which should be geared toward making a productive member of society (and in our school system as far as I can see they are.) But, this is not the entire battle. People need to be trained for charitable service. True charitable service is grueling. When you are through, you fall on your bed exhausted.
Students mostly need not practice their extracurricular on their own. They should but they don't because to them it is not about being the best you can be or serving others with a true servants heart. Factually, even Christian students who should be doing their work as if they were doing it for God rarely go the extra mile. This is probably because things in their life vie for their time and actively pursuing skill in representing your school in service in a certain area does not outweigh the cultural barrage.
Was there a day when students were encouraged by their parents and teachers to serve their fellow students with untiring effort? Did students regularly practice their instruments, their cheers, and whatever other extra-curricular abilities? Not sure actually...
However, I know that if it existed under a public school system like the one we have now it was somewhere between the need for twelve year olds to drop out and get employed and the need for eighteen year olds to stay in and grow up.
If we encouraged our children to make their extracurriculars about serving others would we look freakishly odd? Maybe the student body doesn't want to be served. Maybe in today's world it is assumed that persons who participate are doing it because they like to do it-because they were wired to do it. How does being uniquely equipped to do something disqualify you from using your gift for others' benefit?
The world has been turned upside down from what the King (God) would want. I suppose that's why people have to be BORN AGAIN (Fresh Start in Christ) because they have been raised in a world of different values from the Kingdom values. I suppose that's why parents of Christian families always have to wonder whether their children would be better off in a private school.
Here's my cry to educators. Stop and examine why you do what you do. Tomorrow is at stake.
Bible removed from Schools
When today was at stake we outlawed teaching the original text book (The Bible.) We lost sight of unique values that genuinely make a world better even when the person is not sold out for Christ. Most self help books are somehow based in things one could learn from the Bible. The strength to aggressively follow what the Bible says comes from the Holy Spirit but every person could get value out of a life style of service and doing unto others what they would have done to them.
So, cut the sovereignty of God and the fear of judgment if you must. Cut the TRUTH but at least lets get back the self-improvement texts can't we?
Oh, I guess it's even worse than that. In the pursuit of knowledge (Which puffs up by the way) we have even written off most of the old sayings. I remember my teachers teaching me 'a stitch in time saves nine' and 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure' and so on. What happened to that?
Is it possible that somewhere along the way education became about knowledge and not wisdom? Did someone figure out that wisdom can not be taught?
If so, I disagree!
Our younger generation is dying in many senses. In a society that uses their kids as an excuse but watches TV instead of spending time with their kids, parents who have forgotten more wisdom than their children will ever be taught in school depend heartily on a governmental education system to keep their kids out of their hair and to produce mature, effective citizens.
Parents in Education
It's not gonna work. It is the responsibility of parents to teach their children and the more that we stray away from that the more the next generation is doomed to suffer the same fate only multiplied.
So, what's the solution?
1-It's time extracurriculars became about service again.
2-Someone needs to tell kids and parents that a full school education will not by itself equip them to be successful in life. It's admitting weakness on the part of the administration but it should be maybe the first lesson and repeated over and over more than- say- how to spell your name.
3-Return wisdom to the curriculum. Teach the truths of the Bible. Even if the TRUTH (Jesus) is not taught then teach the wisdom of the Bible and let children, teens, and eventually young adults ask the questions how can this be and what do I do now? Education can not only minister to the mind and if that's all it does then why does the school day last so long?
4-Teach students and parents that education is about the next question not about the last answer. Runners running at high speed lean forward. Students learning at high speed should be leaning forward in their mental posture. [Don't get me started on the whole grades thing.] Teaching minds to reach is challenging but not teaching them to reach is the same as locking them in a cage.
My disclaimer. I am not a teacher. I do not lead a marching band (no rhythm.) I am not a superintendent of schools. My degree is not in education although it is an education degree. I dropped out of college twice before I was a Christian and didn't learn much (including motivation) about being a good student until I was near to finishing my undergraduate degree.
Still, even in a school system as good as my home town's we've got real problems. I'm not saying I see them clearly. the list above is not all-inclusive. But our education system needs to be born again (a fresh start) in certain areas if we are going to survive and prosper for as much time as we have left.
Pastor Dan Stevenson