It’s the time of year when we transition from summer to fall, from this year to the new year and from our children’s summer activities to the school year.
I found an interesting quote on the Biblical meaning of school and education in the article “Education in Biblical Times,” at biblicaltraining.org.
The article states: “Thus the primary aim of all the educational activity was religious (Gen 18:19). The aim was to train the young to know and serve the Lord (Deut 6:7; Prov 1:7) so that throughout their life they would not depart from this way (Prov 22:6). Thus religious education centered its attention on the Torah and aimed at educating the Jews for living.
“It was not merely an education to make a living but was concerned with persons and character forming. Knowing was not divorced from being and doing, and good character was seen to result from a right relationship with God through the study of the Torah.
“The primacy of the Torah embraced the whole of life from the cradle to the grave. One was never too old or too young to learn. It embraced every aspect of life also. From the time of Ezra onward, the life of the Jews was Torah-centric. They became known as ‘the people of the Book’.”
Here are some tips to reinforce lifelong learning as our children and grandchildren head back to school:
• Talk about school as a place to grow, learn, be with friends.
• Get something for your children that is new for the new school year.
• Associate the new school year with the new year, as Rosh Hashanah is just around the corner.
• Ask your children to talk about what they would like to learn in school this year.
• Discuss the value of education with your children, how it’s not only a tool to help them in their work life but also for greater understanding of different points of view and learning new ways to think.
Good character, integrity and strong Jewish values are all part of our children’s learning process, and also part of lifelong learning. Let’s consider school as part of the continuum of our children’s growth and learning, not just a place to learn facts and figures for a few hours every day. Our ancestors had it right: Education is not just about making a living, but is part of a person’s character and values.
PATRICIA RASKIN, president of Raskin Resources Productions Inc., is an award-winning radio producer and a Rhode Island business owner. She is the host of “The Patricia Raskin” show, a radio and podcast coach, and a board member of Temple Emanu-el.