The program was the annual presentation of what the children, ages 3 through 11, have learned during the past year in their weekly Sunday classes. As I watched this program unfold, I could not help think of our many great-grandchildren participating is such programs throughout America.
The program extended well beyond its allotted time period but no one left. Parents and grandparents wiped tears from their eyes as they heard their children and grandchildren stand at the microphone and either present a short talk or sing with other children their age. The older children did both. It was a delightful program well worth the effort it required to prepare to attend this program.
Those with children or grandchildren in school today are fully aware of the federal government’s “No child left behind” program and how it has failed many of the children it was designed to help.
Unfortunately, this failed program was replaced by Common Core, another program that in my opinion was also designed to fail. Why will it fail: because it too ignores the basic needs of the child, the need to know who they are — a child of God — where they came from and the reason they came to mortality and what lays beyond their mortal life.
In this program that Joan and I attended, “No child was left behind,” not even the handicapped children. When it was time for the younger children, 3 to 5 years old, to stand before the microphone, and to look out over the vast audience, they had their teacher standing right beside them, encouraging them, and when necessary, wrapping their arms around them as they whispered into their ears the words assigned to them, and then hearing the child repeat these words into the microphone.
Literally, as Proverbs 22:6 tells us, training up a child with a knowledge of God and who they are, are the needed steps in helping each child become a responsible teenager, a responsible young adult and then a responsible mature adult. What a foundation to build a child’s life on — knowledge that their father in heaven knows them, loves them and will never abandon them and that they can turn to him in their time of need — in prayer.
Because so many young adults, with children, have moved into the area during the past year the number of children enrolled in this program nearly doubled during the past year. This I can understand with such programs and leaders leading such dynamic programs.
Joan and I have watched and encouraged the children in these programs to become active in their young men and young woman’s programs where they, when they enter high school, are encouraged to attend their youth seminary program, with their daily class beginning at 6 a.m., and leaving for high school following their morning seminary class.
Upon graduation from high school, and their local seminary class (four years) they are prepared to leave home to serve their God somewhere in the world. Many, as they serve, learn one of more foreign languages, providing them with a growing fundamental skill, language skills, to meet the increasing demand of a worldwide economy. This powerful lesson was reinforced at this program when I asked a friend where her husband was.
“In Mexico,” she said, “working.” “Why Mexico?” I asked. “Because he is fluent in Spanish having learned it while serving in Peru many years ago.”
A new advanced educational program called Pathway was made available to these young adults this year. It’s an online college program leading to a four-year college degree for as little as $8,000. This program was thoroughly tested before going on line nationwide and was introduced locally this fall with 175 enrollees, an enrollment that far exceeded their projected local area enrollment of 25.
Yes, the writer of Proverbs was correct, “Train up a child in the way he (she) should go: and when he (she) is old, he (she) will not depart from it.”
I believe that if America’s schools/society would provide every child the kind of training Joan and I recently witnessed we could literally change the world — for good — within two or three generations, perhaps sooner.
Donald Conkey is a retired agricultural economist in Woodstock.