The Pink Eraser, Back to School and Sharing Faith
By Heidi Baumgartner, Washington Conference communication director
Recently someone gave me a pink eraser. Actually, they gave me a gift bag with other stuff in there, too. However, the pink eraser brought back memories of school.
Like most children, I liked getting new back to school supplies in getting ready for the first day of school. While in elementary school each year I would get a pink eraser. It was totally unmarred and ready to do the work of correcting errors. There was a special smell that happened when you erased something. By the end of the year I had usually drilled a hole in the eraser, and it was all marred up and dirty.
Most likely, we all have memories of back to school times. Some are nostalgic and some memories are ones that we do not wish to ever repeat or even remember.
There is much about 2020 that many would like to erase and wish had never happened.
The same could be said for the school year last year.
Back to school routines this year are also much different. While there may still be pink erasers involved, for some it is more likely to involve making sure that the internet connection and household computers are working well for students. We certainly need to be praying for and supporting our school children and teachers this year. Let us also be praying for all 19 of the Washington Conference schools so that we may avoid virus outbreaks and can have a Christ-filled year.
However, through all of this pandemic shutdowns there is another part of Adventist education that needed to never stop. That is the religious education that takes place in our homes. It takes place in the family worship times, the involvement in ministry related activities, teaching personal spirituality to our young people and modeling church involvement.
Dr. Vern Bengtson from USC shared the results of a four-decade study regarding how faith is passed across generations and stated that the strong influence parents have in passing down their faith to their children haven’t declined since the 1970s.
Professor Christian Smith, who also did a massive multi-year study on parents, stated that “without question the most important pastor a child will ever have in their life is a parent.” He goes on to say that the “connection between parents influence on their children’s faith development is nearly deterministic.” (Quotes are from the “The Myth of the Dying Church.”)
Adventist Education in our 19 schools is very important. Adventist Education in our homes is even more important.
Ephesians 6:1-4 states:
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 'Honor your father and mother,' which is the first commandment with promise: 'that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.' And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
Notice that last verse where it says do not provoke your children. One version says do not exasperate your children.
Parents, we hold an amazing and holy responsibility to model, teach, and encourage our living faith to our children in a way that is meaningful to them and will point them to Jesus.
We know there are no guarantees in life, but let us all work to share Jesus in our homes to those precious gifts that God has given us. This is also Adventist Education.