Read an Excerpt
By Kurt Johnston Mark Oestreicher
ZondervanCopyright © 2007 Kurt Johnston and Mark Oestreicher
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWHOSE IDEA WAS SCHOOL, ANYWAY?
Well, there's no one answer to that one. In some ways, you could say it was God's idea because God instructed parents to teach and guide their kids. And that process of teaching and guiding shifted over the years.
One of the earliest groups of people to have an educational system (a school system) for all kids (not just the rich ones) was the Jewish people. All Jewish kids (well, all boys-only some of the girls), no matter if they were rich or poor, went to study with a rabbi (say RAB-bye). Rabbis are Jewish leaders, so it'd be like if you went to study with the pastor of your church.
And get this-Jewish kids memorized the entire Torah (say TOR-ruh)-the first five books of our Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Seriously! Can you imagine trying to memorize that much? Grab a Bible, flip through those pages, and check 'em out.
The kids in the Jewish schools didn't just memorize stuff, though. They also had long conversations about what the stories and teachings meant. By the time they were 12 years old, they could quote the entire Torah and answer all kinds of complicated questions about Jewish beliefs. How does that make you feel about your homework?
Anyhow, except for the Jewish people and a few other exceptions, for thousands of years schools were for rich kids only. But about 100 to 150 years ago, people in many countries of the world decided everyone has the right to an education. Even then, until much more recently, school was offered through only the eighth grade for most kids.
Sometimes the idea that "school is good for you" might feel like a parent trying to get you to eat Brussels sprouts. But really, whether or not you like all your classes, you know it's true. No matter if you want to be a doctor or a factory worker, a mom or an artist, going to school is a process that helps you learn to think, and it'll help you no matter who you are or what you become.
WHY LEARNING IS A GOOD THING
Take a few seconds to think about some of the stuff you've learned. You've learned to walk and talk and throw a ball. You've learned to load and unload the dishwasher. You've learned the difference between a noun and a verb. You've learned how to surf the Web and how to send an attachment in an e-mail. The fact that you're now holding this book in your hands is proof you've learned how to read.
Now take a few seconds to think about what your life would be like if you didn't know how to do the stuff we just listed. Kinda weird, huh? The truth is all of us are learning stuff all the time. One place we learn is in the school of life. All of us-grown-ups, too-are enrolled there. So there's a whole bunch of stuff you've learned just because you're experiencing the joys of being alive. You've learned most of it naturally, and you probably can't remember exactly how or when you learned it.
Another place we all learn is in the school of-well, the school of school! It's in the school of school that we learn some of the more formal stuff like reading, writing, and arithmetic.
So here's some bad news: Like it or not, you're always in school.
Here's some good news: Because you're always in school, you're almost always learning. And learning is a really good thing. Maybe you need to hear that one more time: Learning is a really good thing! In the Bible it says, "Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge" (Proverbs 18:15, New Living Translation).
For some of you, learning comes easily. For others, learning to be a learner is going to be a learning process. (Huh?) We know you could be doing lots of other stuff right now, like playing video games, duct-taping your little brother to the wall, or trying to discover if cats really do always land on their feet. Instead, you're reading this book. And the fact that you're reading this book means you're a learner, and learning is a really good thing.
Go ahead-pat yourself on the back.
DID JESUS GO TO SCHOOL?
Jesus totally went to school. Isn't that a riot? It's hard to think of him sitting in the fourth row, right behind some little know-it-all, just to the left of that kid who's always picking his nose, and in front of the student who falls asleep in class all the time.
We know Jesus went to school because all Jewish kids (all boys, that is, and some girls) went to school. They studied with a rabbi (see the previous chapter) and learned tons of stuff. Most kids also studied a "trade" (a skill that would be used for a job someday), and they usually learned this from their parents. So Jesus would have gone to school for part of the day, and then studied carpentry with his dad-Joseph-the rest of the day.
Here's an interesting thing to think about: We don't really know what Jesus knew about himself and at what age. Like, the Bible makes it clear that Jesus was completely human and completely God. (That's 200 percent, which can make your brain hurt if you think about it too much.) Yet the Bible also makes it clear Jesus grew up like a normal kid. Check out this verse:
AND JESUS GREW IN WISDOM AND STATURE, AND IN FAVOR WITH GOD AND MEN. (LUKE 2:52)
Sure, the verse doesn't say, "Jesus went to school, and got pretty good grades." But what it does tell us is that Jesus grew up. Okay, we know you're thinking, Duh! And you're wondering if you can keep reading this book because we, the authors, must be the two stupidest guys ever to write something so obvious as though it were important. But wait-it is important. Jesus didn't just grow up physically (that's what the verse means when it says he grew in "stature"). Jesus also grew "in wisdom"-ooh, that's the key phrase!
When the Bible says Jesus "grew in wisdom," it means he became wiser and smarter, right? That also means he didn't know everything since the moment he was born (super-baby!). Now, we don't know exactly when Jesus understood he was the Son of God, the Messiah sent to save the world. Although he seems to understand it by the time he's about 12 years old because he says some stuff to his parents after they lost him on a trip to Jerusalem that makes it pretty clear he knows. (You can read about it in Luke 2:41-52. The verse in the middle of the previous page is the last verse of that story.)
All of this to say: YES! Jesus went to school! And he wasn't just sitting in class feeling bored because he had to listen to stuff he already knew (because he's God). Jesus actually learned, and he grew in wisdom. Just like you're doing (we hope!).
Excerpted from My School by Kurt Johnston Mark Oestreicher Copyright © 2007 by Kurt Johnston and Mark Oestreicher. Excerpted by permission.
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