By Mark Johnson
Those are dreaded words. As I write this, my youngest son has been back to school for a few weeks and he has quickly settled into the monotonous school schedule. Up at 7:30 a.m. (don’t you wish you could sleep that late!), on the bus at 8:30 a.m., and finally home at 3:30 p.m.. Moaning and groaning through the few minutes of schoolwork assigned for the evening, he finally is free to do what he wants. Play catch, video games or do what the family is doing for the evening.
Today he starts the ISTEP testing. Taking standardized tests that rate not only him, but his classmates, his school, city, and state on how well he and his fellow students are learning. This translates into where and how funding is distributed and spent on the state and local levels. Obviously this is not the only item used in those decisions, but it does play a significant role.
Each year, the tests are more advanced and the learning necessary for completion is more developed.
Somehow when we get out of school quite often we associate our education as complete, whether it be college or High School, but in reality life has a way of continuing to test us. So many skills are necessary to succeed in life that arc not taught in school, but the principles for learning arc there.
If you have a test coming, study and prepare yourself for the test. Know your material. Don’t wait until the last moment to prepare, but let study be your habit. If you are preparing all along, the final preparation will be much easier. In class, this can be as simple as retyping your notes on your computer after class, or rewriting them after the class is over so they are more legible. The more times you go over information, the more you pay attention to the details, the better you will be able to recall them. Paul said, “Study to shew thyself approved, a workman that needed not to be ashamed” (H Timothy 2:15).
Paul also knew that life needed preparation in order to overcome. He made that clear when he said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness” (II Timothy 4:7).
Life is full of tests. The young people under your care have to be prepared to face those tests that life throws at them. As it is up to the school to prepare the children for the education necessary to succeed in life, it is up to the Sunday School Teacher and the Youth Leader to help prepare their students for the tests that life will bring them. Too often, we look at the students and allow their attention spans or lack of enthusiasm to be reflected in the teachers desire to teach. As a life educator, it is your responsibility to prepare them for what they may not know is ahead. They may not want to prepare, they may not want to get ready, but life is going to happen. It will be better for them if you have prepared them for a lifetime of learning, growth, and success at living for God than for them to be surprised that life has tests. For them to be unprepared for when life tests them, and for them to fail their test, and fail at living an overcoming Christian life is a sad end when all of us know that they and we will be tested, and that they can overcome any test through the power of Jesus Christ.
Allow God’s Word to provide inspiration for overcoming. Prepare yourself, so you can prepare them. Pass on the Spirit of a prepared conqueror. Remember, there is a reward for those who faint not!