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A Calling to Instruct

It was indeed a surprise when a call came from Redlands congregation urging me to instruct their youth in the truths of Scripture.  I, being torn between the desire to stay home near relatives and friends and the desire to labor among God’s children, found myself in a very difficult situation to make a decision.  Finally, however, I felt that it was my calling to accept the teaching position, and by the first of September, I found myself many miles from home, amidst people whom I hadn’t seen before.  But although we were strangers in the flesh, there was a spiritual bond.  We met on the common ground of Protestant Reformed faith.  Soon acquaintances were made and friendships formed.

We found many obstacles which had to be overcome, consequently, the school board found it necessary to employ two teachers.  The school building consists of two rooms—one of which was not being used at that time.  The lower four grades then moved into this room and so our school now is divided into the lower four grades—taught by Miss Schipper and the upper four grades taught by myself.  Next year, the Lord willing, a ninth grade will be added.

Considerable amount of progress has been made during this school term.  Not only is there progress shown in the subject matter of the textbooks, but also in the pupils’ attitude toward school work, interest in various subject and the desire to gain knowledge so that the pupil will not be carried away by the vain philosophy of the world.

Each day is opened with prayer and the singing of Psalter selections in praise and adoration of Him.  For each of the first days of the week a portion of Scripture is read, explained and discussed.  Written lessons are given at the end of each week.  After Bible study follows the teaching of the basic subjects which the pupil will build on for the rest of his life.  This of course is taught so that the child may learn to see all things in the light of their relation to God.

We, as teachers, feel the great responsibility of teaching the covenant youth.  We all realize, of course, that training the child consists of more than the teaching of facts and rules.  The child is often times more impressed by what he sees and hears in a practical way than by what is taught him.  Therefore, it is of great importance that we as instructors, practice in our own lives that which we teach the child.  All instructions must direct the child to God for God is the center of all things—not man, as is commonly taught in Christian schools outside of our own denomination.  And that is the reason we should establish schools where the children of our churches will be taught the same truths as in the church.  You may say they are taught by their parents then, “My children are receiving the necessary training in the Christian Reformed School; why begin a school of our own?”

But, alas!  Are not the teachers employed usually Christian Reformed?  Naturally, they take their views with them into the classrooms and convey them to the children when teaching history and government, and even when praying for peace.

But parents can also greatly aid in educating the child.  In fact, it is their obligation!  They should impress upon the children’s minds that they are to respect and obey their teachers.  They ought to keep informed on the progress of the children in school by personal contact with the teacher.  Continual prayer should be offered for the child’s instruction and also, not to be forgotten, prayer for the instructors.  Moreover, we should make sure that the teaching is according to Scripture.

Finally, however, let us remember that not we, as teachers, parents and the church make a Christian.  God alone can do that.  He has called us to train the child in the way that he should go.