Public school starts back today in the county I live. It’s a hustle and bustle kind of day. I’m praying all goes well as new routines are established and a new year gets underway. But, it gets me thinking. What is the purpose of education. Is it just to get a bunch of it so we can eventually use it to make a lot of money so we can get a lot of stuff?
The truth is: most families in America, Christian or not, seek the American Dream. I’m not going to try to define this phenomenon, because it means different things to different people. However, most people see it as the pursuit of happiness and getting all the gusto out of life one can.
So, we pack our schedules with all the activities we can afford in pursuit of happiness and the American Dream. Many American families are seldom home at night during the week. They are constantly on the move. There are after-school activities, ball practices, extra-curricular classes, dance lessons, music lessons, tutoring, etc. The list can go on and on. Certainly we are going to see all of these things kick back in where I live this week.
If you ask one of these family members how they are doing they will say, “I’m tired.” Yep…it’s coming! Tiredness. Can you feel it? Why? Because we are running from pillar to post and will probably become utterly exhausted within a few weeks. Why? Because it is exhausting to pursue the American Dream. Is there anything inherently wrong with this pursuit and all of these activities? We all want our children to be well-rounded. But, we must ask ourselves this question. When are we supposed to disciple the children? When do we become
students of the Word of God?
When do we, ourselves, have time to become disciples so that we can in turn make disciples, if we are running around all over the place, all the time? That’s precisely the problem. If we are never together for more than a few minutes here and there, we can’t and we won’t make disciples.
What is your schedule like?
If you have a family with school age kids, is our American Dream that important? Do our children have to have it all? What are we saying to our children? How are they establishing their identity? Is it in what they do (their activities) or who they are? Often I hear parents describe children in this way. They will say, “I know her. She’s a cheerleader at the middle school.” Or perhaps this way: “He’s the running back on the football team at the high school.” They are known as the cheerleader, the football player, the dancer, the piano player, the smart kid, etc. We establish in the minds of our children, unknowingly, that they must be identified by whatever they participate in to be somebody. It is easy to see why we do so. It’s because of this pursuit of happiness and the fact that we equate happiness and our identity with going and doing and getting all we can out of life.
Many have become so enamored by the idea of the American Dream that they equate their success with it. These false, pagan ideals bombard us at every turn. They are in the grocery store check-out line. Those skinny beauties on magazine covers that say, “You can have it all if you look like me.” Commercials and billboards flash before our eyes flaunting the “good life.” They say things like: drink this, buy this, or have this and you’ll be happy. Americans today buy lottery tickets by the millions just hoping and praying they can hit the jackpot and get rich; then all their dreams will come true. One dream embodies all those dreams—the American Dream. But we Christians are wiser than those who pursue such frivolity, aren’t we? We can have our cake
and eat it too! We can have it all, (the big house, nice cars, vacations, new clothes, nice TVs, the latest gadgets), and still raise our children right, can’t we? As long as they are well-educated, accomplished and well-liked, then all is well or is it?
Think about what’s important in life. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then He deserves your obedience and He deserves time in your home and your schedule. If you say you love Him, then you will devout your life to the pursuit of His desires for your life, not the culture’s. Can you have it all? Nope! It’s impossible. You will sacrifice something or someone very dear to you if you pursue material possessions and the American Dream. The American Dream is a microcosm of what Jesus called “mammon” or money. He said, “You cannot love God and mammon. You will love one over the other.”
Moms and Dads, what is your home going to be like this school year? Will you have time to impart Jesus to those precious children with beaming faces? I pray that you will and I will. Do we want to give our kids a good life? Sure. Do we want to give them a good education? Yes. Do we want them to be well-rounded and well-adjusted? Absolutely. But, most of all…our desire should be to give them Jesus…every day.