What Is the Real Purpose of Education?

We didn’t make it to the CFS Expo Homeschool Convention yesterday. My sister-in-law had to go to a funeral and could not watch the children. This gets you thinking. Here we are, making plans and adding this and that event to our schedule, when death intrudes and reminds you that we are but a speck of dust in the vast edifice of time.

Why are we even here? What is the purpose of what we are doing? What are we teaching our children anyway? And why? So that they can get good jobs and have fulfilling lives, only to disappear in the black hole of time, with no one remembering who they were and what they did after a generation or two have passed? All those memories, experiences, lessons learned, are they destined to be lost in time like tears in the rain?

Speaking of black holes, we even experience them in our own lifespan. Why is it that we ask all the important questions — What is life? Who am I? What am I doing here? What is my purpose? — when we are adolescents, only to bury them in the fleeting necessities of the Now till we hit our 40s, when the soul awakens again and asks, “Well, who are you then, and what are you doing with your life?” with such might and urgency that we can’t even utter the words “mid-life crisis”?

Most people don’t find the right answer. Whether it’s because they don’t care enough or because they conclude that the matrix we live in is the real thing, they feed their idols, succumb to peer pressure, embrace the spirit of the age, and believe that death is normal (Gen 2:17).

If I were one of them, I would not worry about education. In fact, education would be the last of my worries (1 Cor 15:16-19). I would enroll my children in a local school, and encourage them to have fun and to enjoy the pleasures of the flesh, for life is short and the second part of it is only good to make Big Pharma rich.

But I don’t buy that. I don’t believe that death is normal, I don’t believe this matrix is the ultimate reality, only a character-testing simulation. I believe the real world will do away with tears, suffering, and death (Rev 21). I also don’t believe you can face the spiritual hurdles of the 21st century with medieval theology. The enemy is too subtle and cunning.

This makes education vital, if you want to see your children to rise in the real world and rule over the angels (1 Cor 6:3). And education is not something you just do during the “school years.” Education is a lifelong process, simply because there is so much to discover.

But ultimately the purpose of education is to teach our children, mostly by example (more is caught than taught), that we live within a moral framework, with rules more objective and lasting than the physical rules of the temporary matrix around us (John 20:26).

We need to teach our children that, just because these moral rules do not have immediate consequences (Gen 2:17 and 2 Sam 11), they cannot be discounted, for the moral law is subtle in the way it works: sin begets shame; shame prevents vulnerability; the lack of vulnerability hinders meaningful relationships, which are the one thing that brings happiness. Even non-Christians understand that. And why wouldn’t they (Acts 17:28)? This truth is written in everybody’s heart (Rom 2:15).

So, yes, we educate our children in the things of this world to prepare them for the next, for we are holistic beings, and our actions do indeed echo in eternity.

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