When January started, did you pick a word to live by for the year? Sadie Robertson picked the word “pure” for 2021 and said the following scripture inspired the word:
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word” (Psalm 119:9 ESV).
If you had not thought that far ahead in January, don’t worry. It is not too late to set goals for the 2021-2022 school year. Let’s get started.
Below are my two goals for this school year.
Respect for Human Dignity
From a Christian perspective, we are called to love all people (John 15:12-13, Matthew 22:36-40). Loving people includes treating people equally – period. It does not mean one race gets preferential treatment over another because of their skin color. It means every person is treated with respect for human dignity. As a coach, I have worked with students around the world. Earlier this year, one student wrote her paper about Black and white people. Notice the uppercase “B” and lowercase “w.” I questioned why she wrote her paper like that and she said her college told her to. This is not a way to teach equality.
At the core of humanity we are all the same. We were born and we will die. We have a heart, mind, body, spirit and soul. Each and every person was formed in their mother’s womb by THE Creator (Psalm 139:13). They were created in God’s image as a masterpiece (Genesis 1:27, Ephesians 2:10). We are each unique and different in our own beautiful ways. And, God has a plan for each and every person (Jeremiah 29:11).
Instead of tolerating differences, my goal for this school year is to embrace them. I recently had a client that did a study on west African immigrant girls in American schools. She said that most teachers did not know anything about their culture and did not make effort to bring their culture into the classroom. What a lost opportunity. This year, I would love to see an activity pushed early in the school year where students can share their story. Students can bring in their native food, their native clothing, and show where they are from on a map. Doing this in a respectful environment managed by the teacher, everyone will be able to learn, respect, encourage, and support one another. An activity like this can be done with each and every student because each person has something unique and different to share.
Critical Thinking and Credible Resources
As a college professor teaching classes like leadership analytics and quantitative research methods, I overemphasize the importance of valid and reliable data. If the information is not credible or trustworthy, then we are wasting our time. If I can have students leave the school year with one takeaway, I hope that they learn to question and think critically. For example, they should know the true history of the United States. One of the best ways of knowing this is to talk with elders and learn what life was like for them. They can also read books printed before the 1940s and compare them to the textbooks of today. They may be surprised with the discrepancies. As for current information, check multiple sources and drill down into the data to understand it without accepting it at face value. The purpose for this is that the world is full of “fake news” these days and they need to know how to discern right from wrong. Especially with information that is shaping their worldview.
I saw a post the other day that was appropriate. It said that a teacher’s job is to educate the child to think critically, not to influence the child to think like the teacher. Critical thinking is a skillset that is lacking in our country. It is one that desperately needs to be taught, along with how to know if the curriculum or material at our fingertips is credible. For me, as an educator and a parent, I want to teach my students and my children how to think for themselves and how to spot fake news so they can gather reliable and valid information to make an informed decision.
What does this mean for Christian students and parents? It is time to be vigilant. I have never seen a time period in my life-time where we needed to as vigilant as we need to be today. We must take interest in what is going into our children’s minds. Please, pay attention to the television shows and movies they watch. Listen to the music they hear. Read the books they read. The media has a huge influence over our lives and the lives of our children.
If you are ready to set and achieve goals for this school year, I encourage you to join us for our free public monthly prayer meeting on the third Friday of every month at 6am PT/7am MT/8am CT/9am ET. You are also invited to join His Kingdom Matters where we equip and support Christians to integrate their faith in all areas of life.
We must be vigilant.
Looking for support living as a Christian in the world today? His Kingdom Matters provides the resources and community you've been searching for, including a monthly prayer guide, lecture, prayers led by Dr. Dean, a live monthly group call, and so much more. Click below to learn more!