Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Character Education Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to World Events and Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Character Education Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to World Events and Daily Life

Article excerpt

RECENTLY, the building across the street from my office was surrounded with television trucks and a crowd of photographers. A schoolteacher who had been on a two-month cross-country spree with one of his students, a fifteen-year-old girl, was turning himself in to the police.

The reports showed up on the six o'clock news and in the next day's papers. The justice system is beginning its work with the teacher. The young girl has begun a difficult reunion with her family

After an incident like this we, as citizens, are left with a lot of questions about what we have the right to expect from the teachers and administrators who work in our schools. Unfortu-nately, at least here in the United States, the whole question of schooling has become extremely politicized. Yet this charged atmosphere shouldn't dissuade us from using our best moral and spiritual sense to find guidance and answers on how to do better for our children.

Most parents and teachers recognize the sound sense of the Bible's counsel in Proverbs: "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (22:6). This is a parent's primary responsibility. Such character education is demanding. It requires attentiveness, persistence, precept, and example. And the latter is the most essential! This education is successful when the spiritual roots of good character are acknowledged.

The Bible speaks of man as being created in God's image, after His likeness. It also urges us in First John: "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God" (3:1). God is good, all good, good alone. Therefore His children are not the proverbial "blank slates," subject to dubious environmental influences. The children of God are naturally good and love good. Goodness has already been inscribed in each of us by the hand of God.

On the other hand, the allegory of Adam and Eve and the early history of Genesis present children who are disobedient, rebellious, bad. This account illustrates the danger of thinking of children as vulnerable mortals, as independent egos separate from God. …

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