A mirror reflects with accurate clarity the object sin its proximity; also, it reflects light and shines as if it were that light itself.
A child also reflects. He reflects the moral, spiritual, and intellectual life of his home and family. In many respects he is better than a mirror; he is more than a reflector. He is a tape recorder with the switch always on; he is a camera with the shutter locked open; he is a dynamic transmitter that never suffers from power failure or “blackouts”.
Often what one hears from children is bother heartening and disheartening. The heartening utterances are varied, interesting, exciting, and soon forgotten. The disheartening are often disturbing, monotonous, annoying, and not-too-soon forgotten by one who is and should be concerned. Consider a concrete example.
When asked the question: “Why do you want an education? A class of Protestant Reformed young people answered, almost without hesitation, as follows:
“I want an education so that I can make lots of money. I want to make money to buy a new car, new clothes and lots of other things I can’t buy now.”
“I want an education so that I can work for Such-and-Such Company, then, I can wear a clean laundered shirt and a flashy suit every day.”
“I want to work for my dad’s company because he gets a new car every year.” Thus, the vigorous clamor continues.
Unfair it certainly would be to blame these children, these home reflectors, for this false education-for-material-prosperity-perspective. Where did they first hear this idea? In a Protestant Reformed Church which prays daily for young men to enter the ministry and whose congregations are small and the salaries even smaller? Never, by the grace of God, would they hear it there! In a Protestant Reformed Christian School which literally begs for young men and women to enter the impecunious teaching profession? No, they would not hear it here, either! Yes, they did hear it in their own homes! Consider another concrete example.
On hears a mother and daughter talking and working over a pile of dirty dishes.
“Yes, dear”, the mother says to the daughter, “get your studies then you can get a good job like Aunt So-and-So. She sure has a lot of fun and makes good money, too.
Or, listen to a father and son banter.
“Dad, why can’t I have a new car like the rest of the fellas I hang around with?”
“Son, don’t always ask me that question. You know you’re not through school yet! Wait ‘till you’re through school and making lots of money, then, you can really buy the best!
Familiar conversation? Yes, it is heard, in some form or other, every day.
What is characteristic in both of these conversations is the idea that the school only gives the students the tools with which to make money-to make a living (and a pretty fat one at that!) To say the least, this idea holds the school (and the teachers, school board members, and all those who support the school) in very low esteem. The school does much more.
The school, with God fearing and God praising teachers, gives the students the opportunity to explore the greatness of God’s magnificent universe in the light of His Book. In this exploration process the students acquire the tools and-or skills with which to make a living. To deny this would be tantamount to saying that one must starve when the opportunities to survive are present.
The danger in this idea is that it overemphasizes the materialistic aspect of life. Education, according to this idea, serves one purpose—making money. When lives, even young lives, are crammed with one theory and practice, there is little room for anything else. Too much emphasis is placed on the “making” and not on the “living”.
Remember the words of that wise, old, onetime materialist, Solomon:
Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold all is vanity and a striving after wind. Ecclesiastes 1:2 and 2:11b