“But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.” – Matthew 12:36
There is a theme throughout the Bible of accountability. We are told over and over that sin brings consequences. There are many warnings in the Bible as to the importance of obedience and actions. It behooves us, in light of this, to teach our children that they will be held accountable for their choices and actions.
The best way to teach accountability is to hold children accountable. Too often we are tempted to “jump in” and make things easier for our children and keep them from having to experience consequences of their choices. We often pray that God will work with our children to bring them to him, and then when some crisis happens, we pray, “Oh no Lord! Don’t let them suffer!” Yet, it is often the crisis or suffering that brings them to our Lord.
In my opinion, our public schools are failing to teach accountability mainly through the policy of social promotion. Children are passed from grade to grade without having mastered the material they need. This is a real disservice to our children. It teaches our children that they will be promoted whether they do their work or not. It takes away much of the motivation for studying. We are doing children no favors by this practice. They just get in deeper and deeper over their understanding and the work gets more and more difficult. As they grow older, they begin to feel dumb and think that they can’t learn. Their self-esteem gets lower and lower. By the time they reach high school, they are often sitting in a class or two where they have no understanding of what the teacher is talking about. It is akin to us sitting listening to a lecture in another language. They get bored and often drop out of school.
I am presently tutoring three ladies at Pregnancy Life Line to help them pass their High School Equivalency Test. All three are excellent readers, but they came to me on first grade level in math. They said, “I wish someone had made me learn my multiplication tables when I was in school. Why didn’t they make us do it? I’m going to see that my kids learn them!”
Where did the idea originate that all children should remain with their own age in school? In society, children are not divided by age. They have to learn to get along with all ages. Children develop at different rates. Some children will learn some things faster than other things. They should be allowed to progress when they have mastered the needed skill for the next level.
Is it time for Christians to take a Biblical stand and insist that our public schools hold children accountable for learning the information they need to prepare them for the future? Are we, as parents and church workers, doing what we should to hold children accountable, or are we “sliding” over fundamentals creating a false sense of security?