Monday, July 31, 2006

Public Educators Against Vouchers

Two headlines on the front page of our local paper - Public educators want to nix voucher system and Officials seek answers to rise of violent crimes. I almost had to laugh at the irony of these two headlines appearing together.

Now, pay attention to this disclaimer right up front: The public education system is not the cause of the violence; however, it is culpable in that it should play a very significant role in the civilization of children/youth - a role that it is not accomplishing today. I would submit it has been hogtied by the government into a position that makes it all but impossible to do this

The problem with public education is not inadequate funding but that it does not clearly understand it's objective - and when you don't know where you are going, any old way will get you there.

If asked, most teachers and education administrators would probably say their mission is to teach facts - to educate students, to impart knowledge. But, is this enough? Knowledge is merely a tool - a means, not an end. It is, perhaps, more important to teach how to use knowledge to be a productive member of society and to be fulfilled personally. I believe it was Teddy Roosevelt who said something along the lines of "teaching knowledge without morality just produces more intelligent criminals."

I would like to propose a clear mission statement: Equipping students with the knowledge and character to be productive members of the local community and to lead fulfilled personal lives.

More on this subject to follow.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Facts are not Enough for Morality

A local atheist had an article in the newspaper saying we should teach logic and good reasoning at the earliest ages in our educational system. He went on to say that some people are simply not persuaded by facts, preferring to cling to their view points butressed by selectively culled facts.

Here is my response:

When Gary Sloan is right, he’s right. I heartily agree all students should be taught sound reasoning skills from the earliest age. The brain has become the least used muscle – politicians, television and radio talk hosts, rappers, and movie stars do our thinking for us. Emotional slogans pass for good reasoning. “Feel” and “think” have become synonymous.

Oh that people did live by facts and good reasoning; then, there would be no legalization of mothers killing their babies. The scientific facts are incontrovertible that from conception the embryo is genus homo sapiens (human being). Neither size, level of development, environment/location, or dependency can be construed as justification for killing the fetus without also justifying killing classes of already-born persons.

Of course, facts alone are insufficient for such moral judgments; values and worldviews come into play. Hidden in the above argument is the value that it’s wrong to take innocent human life - not just wrong for me but wrong for all. Discussion of values opens the door to truth – is there objective, universal truth? Are some things wrong for all people at all times? How about the ancient ritual of placing living babies onto the red-hot arms of idols?

Yes, we need to include good reasoning skills and rules of logic in early education, but that alone, without knowledge of objective and universal truths and values, is like training in the use of hammer and saw without knowing the objective is to build a house.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A Moment's Taste of Eternity

Sudden moments of perfect beauty
Taking our breath away.
Filling us with awe and wonder,
Pointing beyond, yet strangely familiar.
Reminders of where we really belong.

Translucent ocean hues darkening into deep,
Your newborn first grasping your finger,
Sunrise, sunset, full moon, and more.
Pointing beyond, speaking softly
The One we seek seeking us.

Eternity suspended in love’s surprise
Sure every tick of time should be such.
Experiences sustaining hope
Til one day every moment will be so,
When we finally return home.

Overwhelmed at the glimpse revealed.
Love's finger-painted picture just for me,
And just for you, and just for you ...
Love so personal yet undiminished
Though shared with infinity.

Joy's consummation instinctively rises.
Praise and thanksgiving are due.
Hearts must sing, must not be silent.
Simply the rightness of it all.
This taste of eternity in a moment.

But some see and don't see.
Almost-joy festers having no one to thank,
And unfulfilled denies the hope intended.
Closed hearts and clenched fists
Lost in knowledge miss the point.

A glimpse of heaven's Master
Reaching down to all,
Loving His creation.

@ Harold Henderson, 2002
This work may be freely reproduced in unaltered form for non-commercial use.