Pastor In The Pasture by Wendel Elliott: Shaping Your Children’s Education
When I stepped out of the pickup, I could already hear the sharp sounds of hammer on anvil. Strikes on hot metal were a little more faint. Those on the bare anvil were more distinct. They are when the hammer is bounced or to prepare for the next set of strikes. As I got closer to the open shop doors the sounds of metal on metal went silent. I could hear the fan motor on the forge increasing the volume of air through burning coal. I stopped and watched as this man, my son, went about his tasks and talent. I could see rough pieces of metal around the lip of the forge, on the welding and work tables, and at the vice stand. Some of these rough pieces start out as one piece of plain metal, round or square types of basic metal bars. Some of the stock even comes from salvaged Ford Model T axles. The shapes aren’t smooth at this first step of the process. They may have the appearance of a basic bit shank or a ported mouthpiece but they are many hammer strokes from a finished product. Over at what could pass as an old oak teacher’s desk is where the finishing touches are put on the bits and spurs. It’s a process that takes much time and patience, like the work done at the forge and anvil. Intricate cuts with a jeweler’s saw to form scrolls and patterns in silver are painstakingly applied. Then when the pattern is cut out complete, solder is applied and used to adhere it to the bit or spur. Engraving comes next which has its own level of patience. My son uses an engraving punch and a chasing hammer. All done by hand… The final product is a work of art that can be used and passed down to the next generations. Perhaps you have a pair of granddad’s old spurs or a bit that he used to ride his favorite horse in for the works.
Like the care and attention it takes to forge, form, and finish a pair of spurs or a bit; likewise it takes much care and attention to the quality of education provided to our children. We need to forge, form, and finish work in what kind of schooling they receive. I will reiterate the fact that there are good schools, teachers, administrations, and parents that are working hard at providing for the next generations’ education. However, there is evidence that shows that we all have more to do in this crucial area. We may run the risk of becoming complacent in what is provided for our children. My dad… probably like yours has some great old sayings. One of those is, “Whether you are training a horse or bringing up a child— it’s not about the bit or bosal …..it’s about the hands on the reins!”
The Bible tells us, ”Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 NASB) Here are some things to think about to help awaken us all in regards to our childrens’ education and training.
To let you know our journey in educating our sons, it included all of the following: private Christian school, public school, and homeschool. None of these educational systems are or were perfect.
What if you are in a public school setting? How can you be a better influence for your children and the school? If you see good then give accolades and encourage it. Teachers and administrators might be stuck in the middle and do not receive much encouragement. If you see that they are striving to value your rights as a parent and your children’s basic academic knowledge as the goal, then by all means support them. Show up at parent/teacher meetings, open houses, or other functions that the teacher and school puts hard work towards. Discipline your children so they behave and show respect where respect is due. Take initiative to be involved in your students’ homework and studies. This will ensure they are on track and have understanding of the material.
Private Christian schools and teachers may need the same types of encouragement. Parents can take for granted the teacher and school because they assume by paying tuition that it relegates their duties as a parent in education.
As a homeschool family, encourage each other as parents and seek advice and guidance from other homeschool families. There are a wealth of good and valuable resources as well as support for homeschool students and parents.
What about undesirable aspects of where you have your child or children? If you notice something bad, then encourage correction or find an alternative. Meet with the teacher and have an honest and calm discussion about your child’s education. You are your child’s parent, advocate, protector, and it’s your responsibility. If no satisfaction is reached, then go to the administration with the same type of common courtesy and discussion. The next step if no satisfaction is reached is to go to your school board. If you feel led, run for your local school board. If those aren’t working or an option; then perhaps seeking an alternative is the answer for you and your family. With much prayer as a parent, couple, and/or family you can shape and forge your children in education as well as the actual educational system.
Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” The forging of our children’s lives and education starts on the anvil of a system of Godly discipline and instruction. The attention to detail and intricacies is up to us as parents and stewards of what God has entrusted to us. The finished product is lives that are producing fruit for God’s kingdom, lives of our children, and our childrens’ children.
Well, time to put on these awesome spurs my son made me and work my horse….
I’ll see y’all out in the pasture!