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Perspectives in Covenant Education – March 1976

The March 1976 edition of Perspectives in Covenant Education is a trove of timeless treasures. 

You don’t want to miss Dr. Dwight Monsma’s article “Parental Education” as he builds on what Rev. Engelsma wrote in the October 1975 issue for parents. Biblically based and thoroughly reformed, the heart of this article is its practical implications that were true back in 1976 and still true today. How is your child doing in their teacher’s classroom, don’t wait for the 15-minute parent-teacher conferences; instead stop in some time and enjoy 45 minutes of discussion with your child’s teacher. Have a disagreement with the teacher; don’t run to the board but rather go to the teacher. Get to know your child’s teacher personally; invite them over for dinner and evening of fellowship. Dr. Monsma drives home the importance of godly, reformed teachers by reminding the reader, “The teacher or staff of teachers is, in fact, the school; because they are called by a parent to rear and educate their children. All the other entities related to our schools simply means to implement this primary relationship between parents and teachers. Thus the society is not the school, the pupils are not the school, the board is not the school, nor is the building the school; only when parents have hired teachers can they say that they have a school.” 

Beverly Hoekstra does a marvelous job in her piece, “What Geography For the Covenant Child Is”. Patterns, interrelationships, arrangements, interactions, and organization. Through the study of geography, students can be shown the marvelous connections found on the earth in every item and person we interact with each day. All of it is governed by God. This article would be good for every teacher of geography and social studies to review a week or two before the school year started as a reminder of how our God is sovereign in all things. “The covenant child must be brought to see that many patterns, with pattern within a pattern, and organization within the organization, of many items and means contribute to the life of one person. He must also be brought to know what the patterns and organizations are and how they interrelate. Then in a special way, he must understand that the patterns sometimes contribute to the life of one child of God and that he may be one of them. Following that, he must understand the many children of God pass through this world with many similar experiences. In it God will refine them to make them fit objects for glory.”

Potpourri for this edition is written by Mr. Peter Vander Schaaf titled “What Do We Gotta Learn This For?” A student in 1976 asked this question and still, it is asked today. His answer is just as timeless.

Sue Looyenga contributes the poem “Slow Learner” based on her work with a struggling student that she had been tutoring. So just who really is the one that needs to learn a lesson. The poem awaits.

“The Intermediate Teacher and Astronomy” is an essay that Mr. Roland Peterson had delivered at the 1975 PRTI Teacher’s Convention. He reminisces of his father, who could walk the fields and woods and put most learned men to shame with knowledge of living and non-living objects he would come across. How so? “A lifetime of observation has given an understanding of nature which is, without doubt, one of my father’s most prized and most enjoyed earthly possessions.” After a necessary history lesson on the development of the understanding of the heavens, Mr. Peterson, encourages his teaching colleagues to become familiar with the night skies so that they too may stand in awe of their creator.

A short by poignant piece by Fred Hanko closes out this edition. The US was celebrating its bicentennial at the time of publication. He reminds us of our duty to instruct our children to be godly citizens of this kingdom on earth below while preparing for eventually taking up our places as citizens of the kingdom of Heaven.

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Perspectives in Covenant Education – Previous Editions Now Available on PRCS.org

The Protestant Reformed Teachers Institute (PRTI) has recently had all of their old editions scanned into PDF’s. This is one bit of fruit that was born out of the work of the Teacher Training Committee of the Federation of Protestant Reformed School Societies. In preparing reading materials for a mentoring program, old editions of the Perspectives were found to contain a trove of information that would be useful to teachers new and old. Since then, the PRTI has had all old copies scanned and they have asked that we make them available on the Federation website. We will slowly begin to upload one edition at a time and highlight the articles found within. These previous editions can be found under the Resources tab on the Federation website. http://www.prcs.org/perspectives-in-covenant-education/

We begin by looking at the very first edition of Perspectives in Covenant Education, the October 1975 edition. Its first editor was Ms. Agatha Lubbers who begins with an introduction to the PRTI and how at the 20th PRTI meeting, the impetus for Perspectives was put into place.

Mr. Calvin Kalsbeek contributed to an article on a mini-course held over 4 days in August of 1975 at the Seminary with Rev. Engelsma as the main speaker.

Rev. Englesma’s speech is contained in the next article titled “The Protestant Reformed Teacher.” This would be his fourth out of five speeches that would become the basis for his monumental book, Reformed Education.

Potpourri by Mr. Roland Peterson was an invitation for teachers to contribute articles of their own. His focus was on encouragement for teachers to have the young boys sing soprano.

Mr. Jim Huizenga writes about the theological basis for writing. “The Biblical doctrine, then, that is the foundation for the teaching of writing in the Christian school is the doctrine of the Covenant.” “The Christian writer is concerned with sharing knowledge of God and insights into the will and working of God.” Great points indeed and many more can be found in his article.

Darrel Huisken closes out the first edition with a timeless recommendation for parents to read aloud to their children. “Read aloud. In the home,to the children can be exposed to the kind of reading they originally do not get in the school, for example, religious periodicals, biographies, church histories, certain types of fiction, and poetry. The Primary book that reads excellently is the King James Version of the Bible.” True today as it was back then.

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SEEING OUR REDEEMER’S GLORY – February 10

When our lives are spared, in what we call a miraculous way; when a loved one recovers remarkably after serious surgery; when things go exceptionally well for our flesh; the words of our mouths often are, “0 God, how good Thou art.” We need no prodding or exhortation to do that. When we receive earthly treasures and fleshly joys, we, as believers, recognize this as His work, see His glory and give expression to it.

Sad to say, however, that same enthusiasm, that same loose tongue, often is not there when we taste God’s work of saving us from our sins. We are ready to confess Him as our strength when all goes well physically, but we are not so enthusiastic and ready to confess Him as our redeemer. The smile on our faces is not as broad when we speak of our salvation.

How happy are you in the knowledge that your sins are forgiven? How much is your soul thrilled when you think of what Christ did for you on His cross? How enthusias-tically can you pray, “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly”? Is there not so much that you still want to enjoy in this life?

The need is there, but is there the desire to pray with David, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, 0 Lord, my strength and my redeemer” Psalm 19:14?

There is indeed so much room for us to pray, as versified, those words of Psalm 19:14:

The words which from my mouth proceed,
The thoughts within my heart,
Accept, 0 Lord, for Thou my Rock
And my redeemer art.

Sing of God as your Redeemer as well as your strength. And pray for the grace to see His glory as your Redeemer. Pray that the things here below do not make you forget the washing away of your guilt, and the precious gift of a God-glorifying life like that of His Son. Pray that you may be more and more spiritual, to seek the things above, and be pleasing in God’s sight in all that you do.

Read: Revelation 7

Psalter versification: 41:7

This devotional was written by Rev. Heys and published by the Reformed Book Outlet. 

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A Heart to Teach – A Teacher’s Prayer (10)

As I was thinking about the next main topic of this series (the bounty), I was struck while doing my morning devotions. Reading through Paul’s epistles has brought me to the book of Colossians. Before beginning the book, I read the background information about the book provided in my Bible and was hit with the fact that it is believed that Paul was writing this book to the church in Colossae even though he, personally, had never visited that church and knew of them only through his friend and fellow colleague in the faith, Epaphrus. And yet, Paul begins this letter by penning a prayer from him to God for them. The prayer is quite stirring and powerful when you realize that this is written for saints the Paul doesn’t truly know personally. It’s beautiful and, when we read it through the eyes of a teacher, as Paul, among his many talents, was a teacher, adds another level to the true hopes and desires of a teacher and reveals what the Christian teacher prays the bounty of their work will be. This is the connector between the idea of a teacher’s service for their students and, more importantly, their God, and the reward/bounty of the work of the teacher. It places the reward/bounty of teaching in the proper perspective: that it is all God’s doing, not, ultimately, the teacher’s. Godly teachers realize that all the blood (figuratively speaking, hopefully), sweat, and tears they shed on behalf of their students would all be in vain without the guiding hand of their heavenly Father, and, so, the Christian teacher prays. He prays, as Paul, for students that he knows on differing levels: for some with whom he has built strong teacher-student relationships and for others, perhaps, with whom he has less of a relationship as they’ve kept themselves more distant, or, simply, aren’t as easy to get to know and more reserved. Yet, the teacher prays:

I give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, students and fellow heirs of the promise. Praise be to God for your faith in Christ Jesus, for the love which you show for all the saints great and small at our school, for the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, for the word of the truth of the gospel which is come unto you, as it is in all the world and bringeth forth fruit since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth. And therefore, for this cause, I cease not to pray for you, to desire that ye be filled with the knowledge of God in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, that you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness. So, thanksgiving to the Father, who has made us worthy in Christ to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light and who has delivered us from the power of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of His dear Son. Amen. (adapted from Colossians 1:3-13)

May this be an encouragement for you as you wrap up this year. God has given us His little children to be in our care. Our patience can run thin sometimes as the students prepare and become antsy for summer. Yet, may we pray. Pray that they be filled with the knowledge of God in all wisdom and spiritual understanding and walk in that way that is pleasing in God’s sight.   

Mr. Ethan Mingerink is a teacher at Covenant Christian High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Image: Pixabay License
Free for commercial use
No attribution required

 

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A Heart to Teach – Service (9)

Since it has been a few weeks since the last post in this series, so let’s quick revisit where we’ve been. We have been looking at some keys for teachers in maintaining good classroom management. We looked at “avoiding mutiny by boarding the H.M.S. Bounty”. The ‘H’ stood for hope, the ‘M’ for match, and the ‘S’ for serve. The final aspect of the analogy is the bounty, which is going to be addressed in the next post, Lord willing. Today, we are going to look at the concept of servitude.

As a teacher, we are servants. We serve our students every day. If you don’t believe me, then perhaps I need to give a definition for servitude. Servitude, from a Christian viewpoint, is doing what’s best for others, often at the expense of one’s own time and energy, in order that God be glorified. As teachers, this is what we do. We serve our students by wanting what is best for them and doing our best to help them be the best servants of God that they can be. We serve them by showing them in our lives that we match up our walk with the walk required by our God. We serve our students when we show them how God is seen in the content areas that we teach. We continue to serve our students when we help them navigate the sometimes-difficult, occasionally-drama-ridden rollercoaster of building friendships and developing social lives within the covenant. We especially serve our students by utilizing wisdom in doing what is best for the students. This isn’t always what the students want. That’s not the service that we are called to. The service we do for our students can sometimes be tough love when discipline is necessary.

The important part of this equation, though, lies in the last part of the definition of servitude: in order that God be glorified. That is the end goal of our service. It ought not be for our glory. It should be our utmost joy to serve God and teach our students to serve God with gladness in their hearts. This comes as a mild warning. It can be easy to lose the joy of this service amongst piles of papers to grade, lesson-planning, student-induced headaches, and the everyday cares of life that often grows and swells over the course of the school year. May we remember the joy we have in serving our Lord in serving our students.

May Psalm 100 serve as encouragement and inspiration for you as you push through to the end of the ever-upcoming close to the school-year:

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

 

Mr. Ethan Mingerink is a teacher at Covenant Christian High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Image: Pixabay License
Free for commercial use
No attribution required

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