As the story goes two Aussie sailors went on shore leave when their Navy vessel docked in London. They headed for a hotel where they proceeded to become inebriated. By the time they were heading back to their ship, it was a dark, foggy London night. In their drunken state, they had no idea which direction to go. One sailor said to the other, “Do you know where to go?” In front of them appeared a Brigadier General dressed in full uniform. A sailor said to him “Hey mate, do you know where the dock is?” Aggravated by their lack of respect, the General said “Do you know who I am?” The sailors looked at one another and said, “Boy are we in trouble, we don’t know where we are and he doesn’t know who he is.”

This story reflects the dilemma of our culture. Who imagined that in the 21st century we would be asking the most fundamental questions “what does it mean to be human? And how do we live well?”

When our first parents rejected their Creator’s right to rule in their lives, to become masters of their own destiny, they became less of themselves. The Bible says living as if the Creator, the Source of all life doesn’t exist, is foolishness (Psalm 14:1). Humans seek autonomy – (taken to its Greek root it is ‘rebellion’) a desire to act independently from authority. The essential nature of sin is personal autonomy. Modern education pushes for autonomous individuals – those who are free to pursue their own interests in service of their own definition of fulfilment.

Through their education, young people are encouraged to use their learning to construct their own personal world in areas such as identity and gender, from a smorgasbord of options that will give meaning to their lives and make them happy. A sign at one of our universities reflects this understanding. “Unlearn truth – We’ve reimagined the way we teach, so our students can re-imagine the world.”

The role of the Christian teacher is to assist students to orientate their lives to God Himself who is the Creator and Sustainer of all things and as His moral creatures are called to worship Him and depend upon Him (John 15:5) “The end-stage of this kind of learning is the opposite of autonomy. Rather it is the wisdom of weakness – utter dependence on God.” [1]

As we are made for relationship with others, community is core to the culture and learning of the school, where interdependence is fostered. Research shows that valuing relationship through loving and contributing to one’s neighbour is effective in fostering deeper learning. In order to raise our students to live wisely, consider:

1. How can we assist students to see the foolishness of “being wise in your own eyes?” (Proverbs 3:7)

2. In what ways can we encourage students to reject independence and grow in dependence upon God and independence with others?

3. How do we unfold the wisdom of God found in Christ in a way that impacts every area of our students’ lives and learning?

May the Lord give you wisdom as you seek to inspire your students to go to the Source of Life and listen to His Word.

“…ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding…” (Colossians 1:9)

Grace and Peace

The Team

The Excellence Centre

[1] K Goodlet, J Collier, T George “Better Learning” –Deep Learning in the Primary School(Rhonda Robson)