By Dr. Robert Ossewaarde,
What is the value of one?
In Luke 15, we read the story of one lost sheep, one lost coin, and one lost son. The one lost sheep represented one percent of the owner’s sheep. The one lost coin represented ten percent of the owner’s coins. The one lost son represented fifty percent of the owner’s sons. Their value was determined not by comparison to the others in the collective, but by the attention the owner was willing to give to meeting their individual need. It is probably true that if any of the others had become lost, the owner would have demonstrated their value in the same way. Whatever else this lesson teaches, each one of us knows for certain how important and valuable we are to God, based on the price He paid to redeem us when we were lost. He gave it all.
It is not that the multitudes are unimportant. Jesus fed multitudes. The genius of His ministry is that He ministered to multitudes of individuals. He came to save the whole world, but focused on whosoever will accept Him. He is not willing that any (individual) should perish, but that all (collectively) should come to repentance.
A good home, a good classroom, a good school, a good church, a good society – any good group consists of good individuals. Whether in a home education setting or a traditional classroom setting, the correct philosophy of the individual will make a big difference in the success or failure of the student.
The government schools and many secular private schools focus on the common core. Theirs is a collective-centered model. They require each pupil to fit inside the box. It is a one-size-fits-all approach. This article will not dwell on the socialistic purpose for such a model. It is simply to make the point that the value of the one lost student is diminished when the focus becomes on the greater good more than the special attention given to the individual need.
In Christian education, each student should be seen as a soul, and each soul should be seen as an individual. We can make the same mistake as the godless educators if we are not careful in our approach to our own classrooms or families. Though our worldview may be right, we can easily lose the soul of the student to the process of the way we teach.
Even if a parent is teaching one or a few students at home, care should be taken to study the learning styles of each student and custom tailor the instruction to best meet the individual needs. Evaluate each student and find the best path to the next level. The measure of success should not be that the checklist is completed on the lesson plan. The measure of success should be that the student has learned. Although classroom structure and discipline are a means to the end of the learning experience of the student, the curriculum should not be an end in itself. It should be a tool to aid in the goal of transferring knowledge and wisdom to the student. We have said that curriculum should be your servant, not your master. It takes work to teach, and it may be tempting to make schooling a mechanical process. A good teacher will resist that temptation.
The song says, “He loves me like I was His only child… If you’re wondering how He divides His time, just let me say I never stand in line.” Can you imagine how successful your teaching would be if each one of your students knew you felt that way about them? Never underestimate the value of one. Ω