Though methods have changed, we must hold fast to the original standards for Adventist education.
Too often, as scholarship increases, godly wisdom is given a secondary place in the lives of students. They come to value learning as the essence of success in life11 without comprehending education’s purposes. In this generation information has doubled, while knowledge—understanding that information—has halved; and wisdom—knowing how to use the knowledge—has quartered.
Adventist schools have long held high standards for healthy lifestyle that are now supported by public-domain research. Restrictions on alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, along with nutritious diets and physical activity are shown to contribute to health and longevity. Mass media extols the virtues of the Adventist health message while attributing severe illness and premature death to unhealthy lifestyle choices.14 Educators of all backgrounds acknowledge the influence of teachers on youth for life choices.
Nurturing relationships are paramount to growth and well-being. Teachers in our schools must be in words and character the godly men and women they wish their students to become. Guiding young minds should not be left to those who do not value life with God as its measure.15 True education is the most important work ever entrusted to human beings; and never before was its diligent study so important as now. Never was any previous generation called to meet issues so momentous; never before were young men and young women confronted by perils so great as confront them today.16
What do students carry with them when they leave our schools? Where are they going? What are they going to do? Have they been educated to stand wisely at the head of a family or community? Have they received a truly “higher education”?17
1 Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner, The School Book: For People Who Want to Know What All the Hollering Is About (New York: Delacorte Press, 1973).
Ella Simmons is an experienced educator and administrator now serving as a general vice president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.A.