“In a search for competitive academics…many parents, teachers, and pastors seem to have lost sight of the primary reason why Adventist education exists—to lead children into a saving relationship with Jesus and to prepare them for service in this world and citizenship in the world to come” (Blackmer, 2008). Adventist educators need to watch and be mindful of practices that compete against this primary reason for the existence of Adventist education and by all means prevent them from being imported into their schools.
Wilson (2013), affirms that “While we know that education begins in the home, it is important for the local church [school] to understand that young people aren’t just children of their parents—they are children of the church [school]. It is therefore the school’s responsibility to take good care of them as they seek to restore the image of God in every human being; the object of education and life. White (1882) also asserts that “Teachers must love the children because they are the younger members of the Lord’s family. The Lord will inquire of them as of the parents: “Where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock?” (Jeremiah 13:20). Both parents and educators are expected to lead by being good examples, stepping stones instead of stumbling blocks.
Enforcing Christian standards, ethics, and demanding honesty is not being too strict. Correcting bad behavior is to inculcate good practice and good conduct in the civil and religious leaders-to-be: our students. As Seventh-day Adventists, having the Bible as “a light to our path” we need to remember that: “If you lower the standard in order to secure popularity and an increase of numbers, and then make this increase a cause of rejoicing, you show great blindness… It is the degree of moral power pervading the college that is a test of its prosperity…” (White, 1889). The same message Paul has for the Romans is ours today; ”Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Romans 12:2).
Bad behaviors are not easy to eradicate especially with the attitude of: “that is how it is everywhere in the country, there is nothing we can do about it here.” Just because everyone is doing it doesn’t make it right. It is true one person may not make a big dent on a problem this vast and deep, but I believe that the very reason why Christian education in general, and Adventist education in particular, exists is to make a difference regardless of its size. This is what makes Adventist Education a game changer. “The distinctive characteristics of Adventist education point to the redemptive aim of true education: to restore human beings into the image of their Maker…” (Seventh-day Adventist Working Policy, 2012). That’s why Adventist education exists; “…we want our children, youth, and adults to gain more than what the world can offer them.”
Our forerunners worked hard to attain such trust and reputation. Today it is ours, front line servants and leaders in education, to benefit and enjoy but most importantly to maintain, protect, and promote.