Elementary Christian Education: Parental Responsibility and a High Calling

“O God, we have heard and our fathers have told
What wonders Thou didst in the great days of old:
The nations were crushed and expelled by Thy hand,
Cast out that Thy people might dwell in their land.”

These stirring words one can hear echoing through halls and from the class rooms in a school where children of God are being taught. It is undoubtedly the devotional time of the day when thoughts of children of God are particularly directed toward their God. This is an integral part of the day because it sets the tenor of the day. These are covenant children who have been chosen from all eternity to be sons and daughters of the living God. These are children who have the same sinful nature with which all the saints of all ages have had to contend. It is they who must receive a particular and distinctive education.

Parents of these covenant children vowed before the church of God that they shall see these children brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord. They shall see that these children are educated to the best of their ability. These children are not really theirs; they are children of God. They have been given these children and it is their responsibility as members of the church to have these children instructed in the fear of the Lord.

Because these children belong to the Lord they must be given the best that there is. They must acquire certain skills and must be educated so that they can take their places some day as members in full communion in the church, because they in principle are such members already. They must therefore be educated in the areas of mathematics, language, arts, sciences, and social sciences so that they may be well informed and ready to take their places in this world and yet not of her.

In order that our children may be so educated there must be educators who are thoroughly equipped. They must be prepared to teach the subjects but they must also have adopted certain basic philosophic commitments which are concurrent with the Word of God.

The task of teaching these children of God is given to teachers by parents who have dedicated themselves to the instruction of the covenant seed according to the demands of the covenant. Such a task demands educated teachers but also dedicated teachers who have only one view in mind – the total education of the child of God so that he may in God’s own way become the Man of God totally equipped for his station and position in life.

The teaching profession is often shunned by aspiring and capable young men and women because it does not seem to be glamorous nor outwardly appealing. Let me assure you, however, that there is no profession or calling which is so rewarding as the teaching profession, particularly the education of covenant grade school children. Of course teaching can often be discouraging because one must deal with many types of children from a variety of homes. Not all are equipped with the same mental capacity nor is each one as intellectually capable and therefore the teacher of these children must be patient, firm, but thoroughly familiar with the difficulties which children encounter as they attempt to master the skills and facts which accompany each area of study.

Fundamental to the proper instruction of covenant youth is a basic understanding by the teacher of Reformed truth and the ability to apply this in every area of study. This implies a set of goals and objectives which articulate the direction and meaning of covenant education.

Parents are called to make certain that children are so educated.