Sunday, August 19, 2007

Education's Spiritual Roots

“These schools were intended to serve as a barrier against the wide-spreading corruption, to provide for the mental and spiritual welfare of the youth, and to promote the prosperity of the nation by furnishing it with men qualified to act in the fear of God as leaders and counselors” (White, 1903, p. 46).

What schools were "these schools"? If we are to believe Wikipedia, they are the first formal schools on the planet. An article in Wikipedia, called the “History of Education,” suggests these schools were started somewhere around 3300 BCE. These “Schools of the Prophets,” as they were called, were very effective in helping to stabilize and strengthen the nation of Israel.

Interestingly enough, in almost every case around the world, formal education was started for spiritual reasons. Even in China where the reasons were not spiritual, the classics were the object of their study, which, again, promoted a character building foundation for life. Likewise, in almost every case around the world, the main reason for beginning formal education has been jettisoned in favor of one that is almost purely academic in nature.

Now, with No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in place, and standardized testing as the norm, academia is taking great strides away from one whole area of intelligence: spiritual. Though Howard Gardner never suggested a spiritual intelligence, there is plenty of evidence for it in the make-up of our brain (Goleman, 1995). The ancients recognized our need for it to be developed. Yet, with all our modern scientific evidence for it, the United States seems to be stepping further from it.

I am not suggesting that our public schools start teaching the Bible or Christian teachings, or any other religious teachings, per se. But, I am suggesting that we get away from our modernistic ignorance of thinking that academic understandings of life are sufficient for our youth. I am suggesting that our we get back to the main reason for formal education in our society: the spirituality of our youth.

How can that be done without infringing on our very important first amendment to the constitution? I am open to suggestions.

References:

Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence. New York, NY: Bantam Books

White, E. (1903). Education. Nampa, ID: Pacific Press Publishing Association.

Wikipedia, (2007). History of Education. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_education on August 19, 2007.

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