(For Children Only, Or, for parents who are accompanied by their children.)
So you are going to school soon?
Is this for the first time? For some of you it must be. You have been waiting for this for a long time, haven’t you? Maybe you are the oldest in the family. Then it really will be new for you. Maybe you have older brothers and sisters, who told you what fun it. is to go to school. Do you? Anyway, now it is time to go. And you can hardly wait, can you? Are you a wee bit scared? Wonder whether you’ll have a nice teacher that smiles at you? Do you think you will like her? And then. there will be all those other children. Do you know some of them? Well, you soon will.
For some of you this is old stuff. You know what school is like, its fun, its hard work, and all that. But you are going into a new grade. Will you have harder work than last year? When I went into the third or fourth grade (sort of forget which), the very first day, the very first word that the teacher wrote on the board for spelling was “Ge-ra-ni-um.” That floored me. I thought, if that is the first word already, what will the last one be? I’ll never make it. But it seems I did after all.
Or maybe you are now in junior high. No, in high school already? Even then, back to school it is. Now for another year of new experiences; all a part of growing up.
You are going to school.
And you are going to school to learn. Maybe you will learn to read or write. Maybe you are far past that. You will learn arithmetic, grammar, geography, science, and the like. Or maybe you are looking forward to subjects like algebra, geometry, physics, and all that.
God gives to children special gifts. One of these is the gift of memorizing. Maybe that seems hard at times; you say the same thing over and over, or read the same thing again and again, and it just won’t soak in. You throw the book down in disgust. But most of the time, when there is not a ball game or so on your mind, it is really quite easy. You see something, hear something, or read something, and it sticks in your mind, stowed away up there. (My mother used to say that the bad things stayed put much better than the good things. Do you suppose that she was right?) We older folks cannot do that nearly as well as you can. Very old people cannot do that at all. They do not remember anything that happened recently. They forget it just like that. The only things they remember—and that may seem hard to believe, but it’s true—are the things that they learned when they were very young, as you are now. That they never forget. No wonder that the Bible says: “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth.”
God also gave you another gift. Do you know what that is? You can store away what you learn, and get it out to use it later. Your brain is like an automatic filing cabinet with all kinds of drawers in it. As you learn it neatly files things away, this here, that there. And when you need it, the file pushes it out for you. Click, click, and there it is—even years later. You can tell others, you can write it down, or use it in whatever you are doing.
Isn’t that wonderful, though? Only God can make an intricate instrument like that. But that is why it is so important for you to learn while you are young. Now! And you must store your storehouse full of good things, things worth remembering, things you will need later.
Study hard, won’t you. And be sure to keep out the bad things, the trash that messes up your mind. I am thinking of such things as lies about God and His creation. But I am also thinking about the bad things that are shown on television, or that you read in bad books. Pigs and rats thrive on garbage, you know. And they grow up to be big pigs and poisonous rats. But our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Don’t defile that temple, will you? Don’t clutter up any part of it.
You are going to a Christian School.
You know why your parents send you to a Christian School. Your Dad or Mom must have told you more than once that when you were a wee babe, just a few days old, they brought you to church. Something very special happened that day. You were baptized. Your father and mother will never forget that big, red-letter day for them and for you. Even in judgment day they will remember it. Dad and Mom stood before the whole church, and there before God they promised “to bring you up to the aforesaid doctrine to the utmost of their power.” Yes, there are some big words in that last sentence, but you heard your minister say them many times, especially when a baby was baptized. This means that your parents made a vow, a promise before God and His church, to teach you all things as they really are. They promised to teach you about God Who in six days made the heaven and the earth, Who now cares for them by His Almighty power, Who rules over them, so that nothing happens except by His will. They promised to teach you about Jesus, Whom God sent to save His people from their sins. And they promised to show you that when we sin—and we do every day, you know—we must ask God to forgive them and take away our sinfulness. They even promised to show you how you can live all your life serving God. So that when you pick out your life’s calling, you do that with the prayer in your heart: “Lord, what wilt Thou have me do?” Because the one thing worth while in life is that we serve God to His glory. (Look up Ephesians 2:10 and have Dad or Mom explain that to you. O.K.?)
Likely you are going to our own school.
If not, your parents are working hard to get our own school in the place where you live. Do you know why?
One reason is that they do not want you to go to a public school. A public school is not our school at all. Your parents promised to teach you, and not leave that to the government, which does not even teach you about God.
But there is another reason why we have our own schools. And that is because we do not want to mix you up.
When you go to another Christian School that teaches you wrong things, you get all mixed up. That is what a little girl told me not long ago, “I get all mixed up, because you tell me one thing, and my teacher tells me something different.” So it is important that your parents at home, your minister in the catechism, and your teacher in school all teach you the same thing. Then you don’t get mixed up. And then you grow up to be men and women of God, who know the Lord as He taught us in His Word.
And now off to school.
But do not forget to pray before you go. I mean, pray every morning. No, not just along with your father and mother, and along with your teacher. But pray your own prayer that God may help you. And learn to pray while you are working. Little children need God’s help as much as we grown folks do. Ask Him to help you with your school work, but also ask Him to teach you to love and serve Him every day. Ask Him to make you afraid of saying bad words, afraid of doing wrong. Ask Him what He wants you to be when you grow up. Because you are growing up so very fast, and soon you will be Daddies and Mamas. That will happen before you know it. And then you must teach your children. . . . Isn’t it wonderful that God works that way?