“Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways…(Psalm 128:1).”
” F is for Fired”. This is one of this morning’s headlines on the Internet. The story concerns some teachers at a high school in Rhode Island in a district where the students are not performing well. If the teachers don’t take on extra duties, they will get canned.
There’s something that bothers me about this story. It’s that one group of humans, i.e. teachers, are required to have as their goal the accomplishment of positive behavior from another group of humans, i.e. students.
Dan Miller, author of “48 Days to the Work You Love” says that a goal which involves the actions of other people as a requirement for its fulfillment is a poor one. Miller says the target can be a great desire, but a poor goal. This is because people have free wills and can do what they want. All the pushing, cajoling, nurturing and coaching in the world may not work with some folks.
Students sometimes do not listen to their teachers or do what they are instructed to do. This is a character issue. The student may respond to the coaching from their teachers, or they may not. Therefore, setting a goal that punishes teachers for students’ less than adequate accomplishments is not right.
The wise man who wrote the fifth chapter of Proverbs instructs a young man to avoid loose women. Telling him that involvement with this woman will lead to a poor result, the author teaches the man to stay far away from her. Instead, the wise man teaches him that he should be entranced with his own wife (Proverbs 5:1-23).
This man has a choice. He can either listen to the wise man, or he can run after the other woman. So how is the wise teacher at fault if the man chooses the latter because of his poor character?
The apostle of Paul describes a group of saints who made right choices. These people listened to God and His teachers and they did what they said. These students of God accomplished great things, but some of them suffered for making right choices (Hebrews 11:32-38). But in God’s grading system they passed with flying colors (Hebrews 11:1,2).
God’s curriculum may not be an easy one. It may involve discipline, hard work and even suffering. But in the end He will reward us for listening to Him and doing what He says. But is surely isn’t His fault if we don’t.