This month as school starts for most children, we are rerunning one of Caryl Krueger's Parenting articles on Back to School, Back to Basics.
Back to School, Back to Basics
For most youngsters it is "back to the
books" time this month, and one book the
family should go back to is the Bible book of
First Timothy. While many of Paul's messages to
Timothy are meant for his young disciple to relay
to the churches, Paul also has wonderful personal
advice for any young student. It is believed that
Timothy was about fourteen years old when he first
began to work with Paul, who called him his "dearly
As a parent, you can share with your 'dearly
beloved' son or daughter Paul's wise words (II
Timothy 2:15): "Study to shew thyself approved
unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,
rightly dividing the word of truth." The
Fenton translation begins with "exert yourself,"
and this is what we are hoping youth will do in
school: exert themselves to be good students.
But these students are approved by God, which
mean they are His witness, His likeness in action
- on the playground and sports field as well as
in the classroom. As this likeness, a child can
be spared injury, bullying, mistakes, and discouragement
for he will be an example of goodness that others
will see and follow, rather than envy or hurt.
Come exam time, there will be no need "to
be ashamed" if the student has kept his life
in balance, giving time first for God, then family,
then academics and other activities. Parents can
start their child's day with a filling breakfast
and a fulfilling send-off of loving support, recognizing
the God-given talent that belongs to each of His
But how about "rightly dividing the word
of truth?" With Pilate, we may ask, "What
is truth?" Other translations put it this
way: Cut a straight path, deal in a straight forward
way, divide the right from the wrong. This type
of decision-making action rules out lame excuses
for work undone or done poorly. The goal is wisdom.
Keep your eye on it, go straight for it without
detours into laziness or half-hearted effort.
Keep this passage from Paul at your breakfast
table. Talk about it, one phrase at a time. As
a shepherd cares for the flock, as a teacher nurtures
a student, so a parent must reinforce the message
of "Knowledge is power." With your support,
you will find that your 'dearly beloved' youngster
can surely be that workman/woman who can separate
fiction from fact, error from truth, and limitations
from the boundless joys of learning and excelling.