As human beings, we are always (ideally) learning. In fact, life itself is a school. For most of human history, education took place mostly in the home, especially for the early years.
Adam, Eve, Can, and Abel, along with their wives were honored with being the world’s first family. How hard it is for us to conceive what it would have been like to have the sum of human history looking across at you at the breakfast table! The Garden of Eden, lush but inaccessible, was still within their view, not to mention an angelic sentinel and his sword of fire. No doubt the awful splendor of these sights inspired endless questions from the young boys. “The Creator God did that,” would have been an answer to strings of why and how questions bubbling up from the boys’ curious minds. Adam and Eve’s answers would have been based on their eyewitness accounts and personal experience of engagement with the Creator God. They’d have had a primitive gospel to share that spoke of a divine Son who would one day be born to crush the head of the serpent yet not without sacrifice to Himself, in order to bring the human family back to the garden and the way things should be.
The Childhood of Jesus – Scripture gives us very little detail about the childhood of Jesus. Much from those years remains a mystery. However, we have been given some insight into the character of His earthly parents, Mary and Joseph, and what we learn about them could help to explain something of His childhood and early education.
Read Luke 1:26-28, Luke 1:46-55, and Matthew 1:18-24. Through these texts we can see that both Mary and Joseph were faithful Jews, seeking to live in obedience to the laws and commandments of God. And indeed, when the Lord came to them and told them about what was going to happen with them, they faithfully did all that they were told.
No doubt Mary and Joseph were good can faithful teachers to the Child, but as the story in Luke 2:41-50 reveals, there was much about their Son that they did not understand, because Jesus had knowledge and wisdom that had been imparted to Him only by the Lord.
Communication – In a very real sense, education at any level is communication. The teacher is the one who has knowledge wisdom, information, facts, whatever, to convey to the student. Someone filled with a lot of knowledge must be able to communicate it to others; otherwise, what good is all that they know, at least in terms of teaching?
At another level, however, good teaching skills are not just the ability to communicate. Also crucial to the whole process is the building of a relationship. Good teaching works on the emotional and personal level, as well as the mental. In the case of the family as a school, this is so very important. A good relationship must be built between the student and the teacher.
Relationships are established and developed by means of communication. When Christians do not communicate with God, such as by reading the Bible, or in prayer, their relationship with God stagnates. Families need divine guidance if they are to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ.
Taking the time to sow the proper seeds of communication will not only prepare family members for a personal relationship with Christ, but also help develop interpersonal relationships within the family. It will open up channels of communication that you will be glad you formed once your children reach puberty and adulthood. And even if you don’t have children, the principles found in this lesson can work for all kinds of relationships.
Lest Ye Forget – Before the children of Israel were to enter into the Promised Land, Moses spoke to them again, recounting the wonderful ways that the Lord had led them, and he admonished them again and again not to forget what the Lord had done for them. In many ways Deuteronomy was Moses’ last will and testament. And though written thousands of years ago, in a culture and life situation radically different from anything we face today the principles there apply to us, as well.
Read Deuteronomy 6. So, central to all that they were to teach their children was the marvelous working of God among them. Also, how clearly was the warning given not to forget all that God had done for them.
Of course, if parents are to play the first major role in integrating biblical teaching into their children’s lives, then they have a responsibility to organize and prepare their own lives in such a manner that they have adequate knowledge and time to spend with their children.
Though the family is the first schoolroom, no one is guaranteed that it will be a good one. There may be many things we must unlearn from our families. If we are fortunate, we gleaned a few good principles worth holding onto for a lifetime.