Children should be offensive. Not like the obnoxious ones who are rude in the grocery store line-up. But offensive weapons in the great cause of the Kingdom. That's what the Psalmist said.

So, we read in the Bible, "Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth" (Psalm 127:4). Our mandate is to prepare children to be sent like arrows into times and places where we will never be able to go.  If they are properly trained, they will be strategic instruments to further the purposes of the Kingdom of God. Conversely, if we do not train them properly, we are liable to shoot ourselves in the foot.

The image of children as arrows reminds us that the trajectory of their life will make an impact somewhere. Flying arrows eventually hit something. But they need clearly defined targets, rather than being randomly shot into the air when our parenting and educational responsibilities are complete. The Psalmist's metaphor reinforces a principle taught in Proverbs where we are told that we are to "train up a child in the way he should go" (Proverbs 22:6). A 'way' presupposes direction and a destination; the idea of an arrow just makes the urgency of that more pointed.

So the key to hitting the target, if we put the two scriptures together, is training. That's not quite the same as education. Education may be general, providing an all-round background in knowledge and information and understanding. Most schools focus on this. But training is more specific. A different training regime is required for a sprinter or a marathon runner if they are to arrive at their very different goals. And so, in a Christian school, we must have an awareness of the uniqueness of the individual and recognize their need not simply for a well rounded education, but for personal training toward a target that the Lord has already prepared for their lives (see Ephesians 2:10).

One of the fundamental failures of many educational programs is the absence of personalized learning. Our task is not merely to teach information (which can, to some degree, be accomplished in a generic classroom setting); rather it is to train individual children. This marks the difference between aiming a particular arrow at a specific target, compared with sending a shower of arrows randomly into the air with no idea where they will end up. In a Christian school we have the privilege of working with a God who knows the details of the future he has prepared for each of our students, and who is able to give us the wisdom and insight to become a personal trainer contributing toward the accomplishment of the target he has set.

We explore this idea of children as arrows in Chapter 4 of "Pupils who can see" - a book that helps us build our educational programs with children in mind as it takes a look at a biblical view of the child as a student.

Pupils who can see is now available in all e-book formats through a variety of outlets at $1.99. 

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