In 1828, the original dictionary written by Noah Webster defined “education” as follows.
EDUCATION, n [L. education.] The bringing up, as of a child, instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties.
To define “religious education”, examine the definition of the word, “religion.”
RELIGION: 1. Religion, in its most comprehensive sense, includes a belief in the being and perfections of God, in the revelation of His will to man, in man’s obligation to obey His commands, in a state of reward and punishment, and in man’s accountableness to God… 2. …the performance of all known duties to God and our fellow men, in obedience to divine command, or from love to God and His law. [The phrases “divine command” and “His law” are synonymous with what is contained in the Bible.]
It is evident from these definitions that the essential components of American education in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were based on God’s Word. They were the occupation or calling of the child, religious training and parental responsibility.
The modern Webster’s New World Dictionary defines “education” like this:
EDUCATION: 1. The process of training and developing the knowledge, skill, mind character, etc. especially by formal schooling. 2. Knowledge, ability, etc. thus developed 3. Formal schooling at an institution of learning 4. Systematic study of the methods and theories of teaching and learning.
(Although it is still called Webster’s Dictionary, it bears no relation to Noah Webster.)
This change in the meaning of the word “education” shows how far we have come from the original value placed on God’s Word and His Presence in our lives and those of our children. If we consider that God is our Creator, the One Who made us with a purpose in mind, it is folly to think that we can truly be educated apart from Him. His Word is life, His Word gives life and His Word is the only thing that can truly prepare us for our life.
Furthermore, note the shift from the parent’s role in educating their child to the complete dependency upon institutions. Parents have willingly taken a back seat to their children’s education, leaving the formative years of their lives in the hands of government to indoctrinate their young minds with their propaganda de jour. It is no wonder that the government now feels they have a right to determine what is best for our children on every level.
Parenting and instructing our children in life is a God-given responsibility and privilege. God has entrusted parents with the supreme task of raising up His children to know Him and serve Him. Let us return to the origins of EDUCATION and teach our children what is truly important!