As the World Turns
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:24-25
Education is useless without the Bible. The Bible was America’s basic textbook in all fields. God’s Word, contained in the Bible, has furnished all necessary rules to direct our conduct. ~ Noah Webster in Webster’s Dictionary, 1828
There was a time that must have been a long time ago even though it does not feel so long ago to me. I was on my way home from Birmingham when my daughter was a college student at Samford. I-20 can be excruciatingly boring. Someone had given me a cassette (yes, you read that right) of a Bible teacher from Birmingham speaking at a Moody Bible conference with the recommendation, “You will love her. She will make you laugh.” And she did. She also made me think.
Her name was Mary Glynn Peeples, and she had written a book, All We Like Sheep. In the course of this particular talk, she mentioned education in America, the trend toward secularism and what that had done to public education across the spectrum. She specifically cited the evolution of Webster’s Dictionary and the way each new edition ever so slightly moved in the direction of that new norm, deleting scripture verses as examples of word usage in proper context. Was that intentional? Who thought that made us smarter?
So, I ordered a Webster’s 1828 edition because I am nerdy and I enjoy research. The book weighs as much as a small toddler, but it is a treasure. What I discovered through comparison with subsequent editions was exactly as Mary Glynn had said.
By then, she had sparked my interest, and I read what I could find about education in the early days of our country. From that first “Common Core” curriculum consisting of the McGuffey primer and the Blue Backed Speller, students had plenty of instruction in moral and spiritual values as the framework for life and character. It is evident that those early educators rather intentionally incorporated a Christian worldview into the classroom. And nobody sued anybody over it.
I was reminded of that incident this past month when I sat down to visit with Gary Herring, who is retiring from First Presbyterian Day School in Jackson after 31 years. I was impressed with a great deal of “new” in the means and methods of the schoolroom since the days my children were enrolled there. But I was even more impressed to see that the end game of the school continues to be all about equipping young hearts and minds with the sure foundation that will weather storms in the present and well into the future. Gary’s will be big shoes to fill, but the school’s method, mission, and message will continue.
It is humbling but true—we all come and go. God’s truth remains.
Also in this issue, you must read my young friend and LPC, Courtney Gray Layson’s article in “Let’s Get Real.” Are you a parent struggling to determine how soon to give that sweet child access to iPhones, iPads, and all things digital? How do you balance your desire to provide your child with the opportunity to excel at what is clearly the wave of the future without opening the floodgates to a world he is not mature enough to navigate? She has some wise words for you.
The recent heartbreaking school shooting in Broward County, Florida, has shattered our fragile sense of security once again. We all want to “fix” this increasingly common breaking news event. Keith Allen, rector of Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Madison, has written a down-to-earth, thoughtful, and meaty “Pastor’s Perspective” that is well worth your time.
Families First is a partnership between the MS Department of Human Services, the MS Community Education Center, and the Family Resource Center of North Mississippi. They are confronting some of our state’s most daunting problems within the framework that exists—not the framework we would create in a perfect world. They are seeing results, and we celebrate some of those in “Education Connection.”
This issue is one of my favorites—a real keeper in your archive. As always, thank you for reading. And we love feedback!