The great men from history can teach us great things. As we look at the topic of education, we find that the great men of history (the good men and the evil men) have clearly recognized the impact of controlling the education of our children.
In The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer, we see that Adolph Hitler had a vision for the education of German children. In a speech given on November 6, 1933, Hitler said, “When an opponent declares ‘I will never come to your side,’ I calmly say “your child belongs to us already, what are you? You will pass on. Your descendents however, now stand in a new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.’’ On May 1, 1937, he declared, “This Third Reich will give its youth to no one, but will itself take its youth and give to youth its own direction and its own upbringing.”
It’s interesting to compare the effects of Hitler’s approach to education to what is happening in our country today. Shirer writes that the approach to education in the Third Reich led to the following:
• A falsification of history.
• Plummeting academic standards.
• Teen pregnancy that reached scandalous proportions.
• A shortage of young men in science and engineering and a decline in their qualifications.
Another great but evil man of history had a similar viewpoint on education. Joseph Stalin said, “Education is a weapon.” Stalin and Hitler were on the same page when it came to the topic of education
The Bible compares children to a weapon in Psalm 127: “Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth.”
Who is the warrior? We are, if we give our children a heritage. Webster defines Heritage as something that is passed down from preceding generations. As we give a child a heritage, that child becomes an arrow, a weapon, and a future warrior. Children are weapons because of the education that they receive. Some carry a biblical education (worldview) that allows the Bible to be their sword. Others carry a non-biblical education (worldview) as their sword. The education we provide our children is a weapon that can cut both ways. There is no neutrality.
In her book Home Invasion, Rebecca Hagelin talks about our heritage. She quotes a Heritage Foundation brochure: “Without a heritage every generation starts over.” As Christians, our job is to ensure that we pass down the fear of the Lord to the next generation so they don’t have to start over, or worse yet, lose their Christian heritage completely.
The great evil men of history have spoken. The question we face is, Who will shape the next generation, and what shape will they be in?