When I was interviewing a family for my dissertation, the father reflected on values reinforcement and faith development. He stated, “I think it is important for the home, school and church to support each other. I believe the socializing impact on the children is very, very significant.”
Valuegenesis, the study on faith and values transmission, found the probability of a person having stronger spiritual growth and commitment doubled when one had home, school, and church supporting each other. The conclusion was that children need good homes, good churches and good church schools in order to have a good chance to develop mature Christian faith.
Sunho, a student I taught recently, transferred from a state school to our Adventist school. His mum was supportive of the changes in her son. Over the course of the year, he became fully integrated into the school, and attended Friday night youth activities, the Wednesday evening discussion group, and church. He was baptized and became a strong young Christian. This year he gave a very powerful and inspiring testimony at the Year 12 Week of Spiritual Emphasis. For this young man, it is the family values being reinforced at both school and his new church environment that has made the incredible difference in his life.
Adventist education does not always work in isolation. Anna was a student who lived with mum in a very dysfunctional relationship. She was well known to the police, and we were her last opportunity prior to heading off to juvenile care. She loved the security and peace that our school provided, but several times she lost it and stormed out of the school, usually over very small issues. Finally, after several meetings with mum and Anna, we had to sadly say good-bye. Anna recognised she needed what we could offer, but was not willing to bring more supporting entities in to help her.
We try to do all we can to help reinforce family values. Our chances of doing this are increased if the family values mesh with the school values. The chances are increased significantly again if the family also attends church. This is why a number of Adventist schools include a “school church” on campus. It allows for the development of a worship community within the school community. It also provides the opportunity to strengthen that three-stranded rope which enhances the transmission of faith and values.
Because Adventist education is not focused only on academics but also on the spiritual relationship of our students with God, we should encourage our student’s families and our local church to partner with us. We want to see our students do their best. We encourage them to be responsible, dependable citizens who contribute strongly to their communities. The best way to ensure that this happens is to have the family values reinforced at school, and then given a Divine perspective at church as we catch a glimpse of the ultimate values in God.
This article is the ninth in a series of ten articles on the unique characteristics of Adventist education. The final article in the series will be published in two weeks. To view all articles in this series, along with other articles by this author, click here: Articles by David McClintock.
Note: Article written and posted in Australian English.