The year was 1984, the place was San Jose, CA, and the excursion was to purchase one of those new fangled computers everyone was talking about. The unfortunate young man who was the designated salesman that night at the computer store, had no idea what he was in for. The following is an accurate rendering of our dialog:
Salesman: May I help you?
Me: Yes, I'm looking to buy a computer.
Salesman: Great! What brand were you interested in?
Me: I don't know.
Salesman: Well, what are you going to use it for?
Me: I don't know. What do you think I should use it for?
Salesman: (blank stare)
Me: Well, what do other people buy computers for?
Salesman: Hmmmmm. I guess it depends on how they plan to use it, and what features they are looking for.
Me: That makes sense.
Salesman: Is there something particular you want the computer to help you do?
Me: Well, I want one of those that talks to you.
Salesman: (blank stare)
Me: You know, like they used to do on Star Trek? Where he would ask the computer questions, and things like that.
Salesman: (realizing I was serious) Huh?
Me: Didn't you ever watch Star Trek?
Salesman: (speechless and wishing his shift was over)
Me: Well, I guess I'm not really ready to buy one.
Salesman: I think you're right. Excuse me, for a bit, will you? (never to return, and hopefully not to quit!)
How many people approach education the same way? They know they want an education, but have no idea how they would use it. Parents can tell their children over and over again that they need to achieve good grades so that they can get into a good college, but if the student doesn't have vision for the future, then much of the talk can fall on deaf ears.
From the time children are old enough to teach, the idea of calling should be a regular topic of discussion. They should understand that part and parcel of what they will end up doing with their lives will spring from where their interests lie and in what areas they demonstrate promise. Having a good idea of how they will use the acquired knowledge of studying math, history, and science should help them pursue their studies in a more purposeful way.
The first question and answer in the Westminster Shorter Catechism reads: Q.What is the chief end of man? A. Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Children should be taught that while they are young, the calling of student is the way in which they can glorify and enjoy their Creator. For the time spent learning of His creation, His immutable laws (both spiritual and physical), along with how He has operated throughout history will prepare the students for useful lives as adults.
The Scripture instructs us that without vision the people perish, but happy are they which keep the law. It is important to instill in our children the need for godly vision as they spend time preparing for the Lord's service.
(Note: I did eventually figure out what to do with a computer!!)
- Andrea G. Schwartz
Andrea Schwartz is Chalcedon’s family and Christian education advocate, and the author of eight books including: A House for God: Building a Kingdom-Driven Family, The Biblical Trustee Family: Understanding God’s Purpose for Your Household, Empowered: Developing Strong Women for Kingdom Service, Woman of the House: A Mother’s Role in Building a Christian Culture, and The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education. She’s also the co-host of the Out of the Question podcast, and Homeschooling Helps (weekly live Facebook event). She can be reached at [email protected].