Wisdom, Stature and Favor
Although Jesus was God, the book of Hebrews and other sources tell us that he was also fully human. The Bible tells us that all that Jesus knew, he had to learn. Even the Divine Son of God himself needed education.
Luke, in his gospel, tells us about Jesus’ growth. His development is described holistically. Luke, who was a doctor, speaking primarily from interviews with Jesus’ mother, gives a uniquely valuable perspective. It can be trusted as true because it came from his mother and can be trusted scientifically as being sound because it was purported by a doctor. From these two sources, we gain a wonderful insight into what ideal education would be.
Luke 2:52 tells us that Jesus grew in wisdom, in stature, in favor with God, and in favor with man. This is the education regimen that contributed to Jesus reaching his full potential, and it can certainly do the same as and education philosophy today.
Growing in wisdom.
Wisdom requires knowledge. It does not stop there. Wisdom is not synonymous with knowledge. However, knowledge is the foundation of wisdom. Thus, knowledge is crucial to a child’s development. it is often said about many things taught in schools that students will never need those concepts ever again. It may be true that calculus itself, with all its complex formulas, may never be useful on a shopping trip for a stay at home mom or for the dad who is a mechanic, or for 99% of humankind. But there is the potential for to become useful. I myself have been surprised at how often geometry and algebra concepts have been necessary in seemingly unrelated daily tasks. I suppose calculus could also. But even if not, things like calculus that are so complex and specific to never be used again have still taught us how to learn something complex. The value is in teaching us how to learn. Growing in knowledge is crucial and must be talked so that the children become lifelong learners.
But knowledge must also be connected to application. That is why movies like Dead Poets Society and Stand and Deliver are so inspiring. they depict teachers who go beyond teaching raw, rote knowledge and actually apply it to life. Wisdom is the application of knowledge. Education systems must make it a priority to connect the knowledge to real life value. This can be done through experiments, testimonials from people who have used the knowledge and concepts well, field trips to see the concepts at work outside the classroom, etc.
Growing in stature.
Jesus grew healthy and strong. It has been speculated that he probably worked with his father in the carpentry business, which can certainly be demanding work. Whether in the carpentry shop or at play with other Jewish children or a combination of both, physical growth was a priority in Jesus’ development. It was indeed part of his education regimen.
Children who are active and physically healthy tend to learn better and perform better academically. Of course, it is possible for there to be an imbalance where athletics and exercise are over emphasized to the neglect of academic learning, but it is no less detrimental to be in balanced the opposite direction, where physical and athletic development are seen as optional at best, and unproductive at worst.
Growing in favor with God.
It is unfortunate that many education systems neglect spiritual growth. Even if for merely academic purposes, attention to this facet of life has merit.
As with a child who is physically healthy and so performs better academically, children who are taught more transcendent things than geology tend to be better adjusted and stronger learners with sharper minds. But I believe there is more than just academic value, and I believe an education system has the responsibility to not only educate a child academically but spiritually, as well.
Where truth and evidence and fact are paramount in a science and math classrooms, there are spiritual truths that must be as diligently taught. Jesus was taught what it means to please God, and so he grew in favor with God. Why would we deny our children the blessing and advantages of being in favor with God? To give them to take you have to, we need to teach the ways of God. There was a time in our nation’s history where this was a priority even in public school, and our children and our country are suffering because it has been abandoned.
Growing in favor with man.
Social skills are a vital and necessary part of life, an almost fundamental need. Schools, by nature, as a community of students and staff, teach social skills. However, it is best for an education system to be intentional about teaching social skills so that students grow in favor with mankind.
Just today, I heard about a college that spent considerable time teaching its upperclassmen interview skills for their chosen profession. the person who is telling me was an older man who was regretting the fact that this was not part of the curriculum during his education. I agree. This is a great example of an education strategy that take seriously its responsibility to teach students how to be more favorable citizens and productive members of their communities.
So we see from Jesus’ model, from practical logic, and from observation of both positive and negative examples, that the most effective education help students grow in wisdom, grow in stature, grow in favor with God, and grow in favor with man.