Here is where the “rubber meets the road”. If successful at the points on my previous two posts (tell students why something is taught, and what the consequences are of their decisions), then this final point of how to make decisions, is a little easier. In other words, it will be harder for kids to make their own correct and discerning decisions if they were not taught “why”, and “what the consequences are” of those decisions.
Telling a child to do, or not to do something “because I said so” may teach that child to respect and obey authority, which they should, but does nothing to teach the child to have a moral compass – to make correct decisions on their own, especially when you are not around. It also does nothing to train the child to have godly character. A sound Christian school teaches their students to have correct and biblical character, and tells them why, so they can make correct choices on their own.
You see, God gave us the ability to choose. (I am going to simplify this topic in an effort to portray how I think it can be taught to students) God’s ultimate purpose of the ability to choose is that we either choose to love and obey Him, or not. When He created Adam and Eve, he placed a tree in the midst of the garden where they lived, and told them not to eat from it. He gave them the ability to eat from it, but ordered them not to eat from it. It was up to them to obey or not. God did so because with a choice, he would know for sure that their choice was genuine and sincere from them, and not because of being forced to choose to. If forced to choose something, then it is really not a choice. If we choose to love and obey God, then it is a genuine, sincere, and honest choice, and not forced, and that REALLY pleases Him.
An analogy is that I KNOW my Wife loves me because she has a real choice to. She doesn’t tell me she loves me because I force her to with a gun or something, which wouldn’t be genuine love, she tells me she loves me because she really does, and tells me in different ways and sometimes when I am not even expecting her to. That is genuine love she has for me because it is her own choice.
Most decisions come after considering why, and what the consequences would probably be, and obedience to authority, especially God. How decisions are made is by progressing through a process to make the correct choice. That process includes discernment, and making a correct decision after carefully considering the options in light of the Bible. Most decisions can begin or end with the simple question: “Does it please God, or does it please self.” The focus of our thinking, or purpose of the decision is either based on God’s will, or selfish will. This thinking tells a lot of who you are, and of your spiritual maturity. School age children need to be taught to think biblically, since thinking selfishly is our nature. It is not what you think you are, but what you think: you are.
When our Daughter was a Sophomore at our Christian school, she began to make some bad choices. She knew scripture, she knew what God wanted and required, but she still chose to not obey His Word, or her parents. Several teachers at her school recognized this in her life, and skillfully endeavored to correct her actions and back up our parental discipline. We thank God for them, and thank God she attends a biblical Christian school. She knew what was right and wrong, but evidently did not connect her wrong behavior with the consequences that result. I think she may not have had the mental ability to make that connection. Nevertheless, it took a God-controlled consequence of a sinful act of hers before she was able to realize the connection of the two, and to repent and change.
Sound Christian schools teach that actions have consequences, including sinful actions. Christian staff recognize sin in their students, and tactfully addresses the sin, and explains the consequences of it, as well as God’s righteous judgment of sin.