“And work with your hands”—1 Thessalonians 4:11, NIV.
“Stop going to school and go to work!” Those words seem like heresy. For nearly a century, the philosophy has been, “Go to school and make something of yourself.” High schools are rated on their percentage of graduates that are going on to college. Salaries have traditionally been connected to the amount of education that an individual attains. If you have a diploma, you have a job, and job security. This has been the tradition for decades.
NOTICE: The world has changed!
• While education is still important, it is what you do with the education you receive that determines success. Many of the wealthiest and happiest individuals are currently not college graduates.
• While students are very involved in choosing the education that fits their goals and skills, they need guidance. All education is not equal.
• While there are still a majority of people that are employees, there has never been a time when the number of private business owners or entrepreneurs has profited more from their personal labor.
• While students are exploring education options, schools are searching for better ways to prepare them for the world of work that is changing every day.
NOTICE: The world’s need for quality practical education has not changed.
• “The youth need to be taught that life means earnest work, responsibility, [and] care-taking. They need training that will make them practical—men and women who can cope with emergencies. They should be taught that the discipline of systematic, well-regulated labor is essential, not only as a safeguard against the vicissitudes of life, but as an aid to all-around development”—Education, p. 215.
• “As parents and teachers try to teach these lessons, the work should be made practical. Let the children themselves prepare the soil and sow the seed. As they work, the parent or teacher can explain the garden of the heart, with the good or bad seed sown there, and that as the garden must be prepared for the natural seed, so the heart must be prepared for the seed of truth. As the seed is cast into the ground, they can teach the lesson of Christ’s death; and as the blade springs up, the truth of the resurrection. As the plant grows, the correspondence between the natural and the spiritual sowing may be continued”—Education, p. 111.
• Parents and teachers, “If [God] sees you use your entrusted means as a faithful steward, He will register your name in the books of heaven as a laborer together with Him, a partner in His great firm”—Councils on Stewardship, p. 299.
NOTICE: Check your home and school.
• Do your children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews get practical experience?
• Does your school have an entrepreneur work program?
• Do you know what agriculture principles your school is teaching?
There are 55 schools around the Atlantic Union where these principles are being taught. Adventist education has held the secret of this balance between education and work since the early 1900s. The Atlantic Union Conference elementary and academy schools implement these secrets every day
Jerrell Gilkeson is the Atlantic Union Conference Education and Children’s Ministries director. He would love to talk with you about practical education. firstname.lastname@example.org