"A majority of American fourth- and eighth-graders cannot read or do math at grade level, according to the Education Department. And that assessment is from 2019, before the learning losses from pandemic school closures" (Jason L. Riley, WSJ 7/14/21). It seems elementary education has lost its focus and effectiveness in teaching children the basics. One of the blessings of school closures has been the wakeup call it gave parents to the consequences of abdicating education to the schools.
One of the most important thresholds to cross in the elementary school years is from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn’. Usually around the third- or fourth-grade year, this crossing launches a child on the life long journey of learning. The enthusiasm a child has for education has everything to do with how well he or she reads. A successful launch is tied to how dad and mom encourage and lead the way for reading in the home. I know dads that read to their children while still in the womb and then read an illustrated Bible to their infant child nightly. Time spent reading with children plants the seeds for effective education. And what is read, grounds them in their parents’ worldview.
Train a child up in the way he should go, and even when he is old, he will not turn from it. – Proverbs 22:6. Parents are not just to be engaged in their children’s education. They are to be their primary educators. Kids are trained early in the way they should go. Whether a dad is involved or passive, training is being received. Schools and churches can only compliment what happens in the family. They do not have the wherewithal to replace what is not happening in the home. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you. – John 15:15. Jesus invested His time and provided the foundational knowledge of His Father’s business in the education of His disciples. Here, He marks a maturing in their relationship as He prepares them for the next chapter of ministry. Similarly, dads are to invest in their children’s education early and often. While sports and physical activities are typically a dad’s forte, raising a godly generation (Malachi 2:15) is in the job description. Invest well and accept responsibility to train children in the way they should go.
Learning gaps such as not being able to read at grade-level impede a generation. Across life, consequences include everything from unemployment rates to income levels to the likelihood of teenage pregnancy, substance abuse and involvement with the criminal-justice system. Furthermore, when dads fail to stand in the learning gap for their children, they also open the door for different worldviews to confuse kids. Elementary education starts in the home and continues with dad and mom as the primary educators.
Prayer guide: Lord, I thank You for Your Word and the continuing education it provides. I confess that I have not read the Bible or led discussion around Your Word with my family. I have abdicated literal education to the schools and spiritual education to the church. And I wonder why my kids do not believe as I do! Forgive my passivity. Grant me strength and boldness to step up as the primary educator of our children with my bride. I commit to stand in the learning gap and raise a godly generation per Your word. That is the dad You call me to be and that is the dad the next generation needs. Amen.
A faithful father stands in the learning gap to raise a godly generation.