Teens + Character Counts

Jill Skufca
In a time where students and parents go to far extremes to achieve their dreams, read Bible teacher Jill Skufca's take on the true value of education.
Education in America has become a numbers game. GPAs, test scores, volunteer hours, goals scored—everything is meticulously tracked and calculated to launch a student to the “best” school which will lead to the “best” career to achieve this mythical enigma of happiness or success. 

But as our country watches some of the most illustrious schools in America fight accusations of fraud and bribery, I have to wonder what these numbers are teaching our students? 

Education, at its finest, teaches reading, writing, and arithmetic, but also encourages a pursuit of higher thinking and morality. It encourages a pursuit of goodness and learning that can be shared regardless of where you find yourself in the world. A parent buying their student’s college admittance not only communicates a lack of faith in their son or daughter, it also teaches young people across the nation that learning itself isn’t valuable. It conveys a flippancy for the very effort they put into their education. 

Jesus came to earth in humility. The success He modeled included pursuing a closeness to God and valuing the hearts and minds of the people around Him. It was never about wealth or how many people knew His name. It was about being obedient to God the Father during His time on earth, regardless of whether that obedience led to our typical understanding of success. As educators, we should strive to emulate that same obedience to God, teaching our students the value of acting with integrity or honor despite who is watching. Character is its own reward. 

Education should challenge young people to deeply desire a relationship with God and others. Teachers should challenge young people to value character and integrity over wealth and status. And above all, it should equip young leaders to speak out against unethical behavior and seek to live their lives as models of Christ.