Love the Lord Jesus Christ with all their hearts, as well as with their minds and their strength (Spiritual)
Education (discipleship) begins and ends with love. Every child needs to be motivated first and foremost and throughout their entire life by the love of Christ. It is their sunshine and their water for growth. And the goal of education is to love the Lord Jesus Christ with all our hearts, minds, and strength (Dt 6:4ff). Furthermore, students need to be filled with Christ’s love not only in their hearts, but also in their minds and strength. Love in the heart without a love in the mind, is like heat without light. Darkness can be exposed only if there is both light that brings truth, and the heat to melt the ice. And what good is loving God with our hearts and minds, if not also in strength, meaning in real action? Love of Christ is the actual and real motivation behind the entire educational process, in teachers and students. It is the power that will grow in the child and go out to the ends of the earth to change the world.
Delight in and graciously express the truth, beauty and goodness of God through writing, speaking, acting, drawing and singing (Aesthetic)
If God’s love motivates a student, surely then the first proper response of the student is to delight in the source of that love–Christ. But the student does not merely delight in God in her heart, but in all that she does. For that is why God created man in his image, and revealed himself in created things–so that man may more fully enjoy God. The chief end of man is to glorify and to enjoy Him forever, and the way to glorify God is to enjoy Him forever!
God can and should be delighted because it is God who reveals his truth, goodness, and beauty in all of nature and history. God is the artist, and God is the author of history. It is by delighting and imitating God that students become truly creative, because they are displaying the glory of God to its fullest.
Evaluate all things in the light of God’s Word (Biblical)
Scriptures say that “thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Scripture is God-breathed in every aspect, thus infallible and inerrant. It is the standard against which everything else must be measured. It is the light by which everything else must be revealed. Our hearts and our minds are so darkened by sin, that without the hard truth of God’s Word, we will distort and manipulate the truth, both in our personal lives, as well as our public life as citizens of a free nation.
Master language skills in grammar, reading, writing, and poetry, in English and Latin, and are able to speak persuasively (Language)
Language is a unique gift of God to human beings, not shared with other creatures. Since humans are made in the image of God, and the image of God is a reflection of God, language is a part of that image of God that helps us to understand and reflect who God is. Language is also the foundation of culture and civilization. In history, whenever language education flourished, culture and civilization flourished. This is the legacy of classical education. On an individual level, history also proves that those who have a good training in grammar, logic, and rhetoric become leaders and influencers because they have mastered the art of thinking, communicating, and persuading.
Develop a well-rounded competence in fine art, drama, music, physical activity, math, logic, and science (Skills)
An education is not complete without skills, but not just skills for a job or a career. Students need skills to create and build a culture that reflects the truth, goodness, and beauty of God. Just as a person who has many skills, but no conviction or a discerning mind, can misuse their skills for wrong purposes, a person with a conviction and a discerning heart, but no skills, can easily become puffed up in theoretical ideas. A training in the practical, common arts, is necessary for students to become humble servants of Christ. Therefore, students need to be trained both to enjoy God as well as to act for God. A combination of these two kinds of training will produce formidable leaders for God’s kingdom.
Read deeply, interact critically, and gain wisdom from the great works of literature and theology throughout the ages (Wisdom)
Wisdom is knowing how to live out our convictions in God’s truth in real life situations. This wisdom comes first and foremost from fear of the Lord (Ps 111:10), because God is all-wise and our hearts are errant. But since wisdom is application of truth in real life situations, wisdom cannot be gained without reading much about how people have lived out God-given convictions in their lives throughout history. No human work is perfect, so we need to read everything critically, in light of God’s Word. But much wisdom can be gained from a cloud of witnesses in the past, both Christians and non-Christians through common grace, who have lived out their God-given convictions in specific life-situations.
Honor their friends, humble themselves before others and speak the truth in love (Virtue)
Culmination of education is participating as a member in a thriving community of Christ and contributing to the development of a Christ-centered culture. This is the Christian version of Plato’s concept of eudaimonia. And as in Plato’s vision, this type of culture is developed only when individual citizens grow in virtue, which is character formation. At the heart of virtue training is love. Ultimately education should be about how to love God and our neighbors. Practically and pedagogically speaking, this means three things. First, learning how to honor other students. As heirs of Adam, children tend to act selfishly, until someone teaches them how to honor others, in their heart, speech, and action. Second, a training in humbling ourselves before others. This means being patient, listening to others, asking for help, trusting others, and being a good team player, a community builder. Third, students learn to practice loving by speaking the truth, and making sure that they are motivated by love as they are speaking the truth.