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Panel: Education and Character Development

Steve Dickman Lisa Beardsley-Hardy Doug Baker Ken Caviness Harriett Clark




  • February 10, 2018
    9:45 AM
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I want to begin this morning by introducing our our topic. And our topic is. Building character development. And I'm going to start by reading just a few Hassett is of the Spirit of Prophecy. And allow us to ponder those things as we are getting started this morning we want this to be interactive so we're inviting you to participate with us today and if you have questions that come up as we're discussing things we want to invite you to be part of this so raise your hand and we'll try to get a microphone to you and you can interact with a panel here this is not meant to be. A group of us telling you what to do it's meant meant to be an opportunity for us to discuss this topic of character building character development and to see what we can learn together you know our lessons this quarter have been on the topic of stewardship. And our God given abilities and talents were given to us as something to be cared for and to be developed and I think character development is actually a very relevant popping for stewardship as well and it doesn't happen to be one far lesson today but it's a very relevant topic that we are responsible and as teachers and as parents we are also responsible for the development of the character in our students so we have our a rather large responsibility in this area this comes from Child Guidance page one sixty nine point two it's very familiar to you and this is what it says character building. Is the most important work. Ever entrusted to human beings and never before was it diligent study so important as now the theme of our cause. Conference is what. Education for such times. And when you think about that theme now we're saying character building is a very important fact is the most important work ever and trust us and it deserves more study now than it ever deserved before and there's a reason for that. Never was any previous generation called to meet issues so Menchu as never before were young men and young women confronted by peril so great as come from them today. Reading this statement I would believe that Ellen White had read yesterday's newspaper and just wrote this that's what I would tend to believe because the words she use seem to apply more to us today than even probably when she wrote. And he goes on to say next paragraph paragraph three Here is your work parents and I would include teachers we kind of act like parents don't we when we're teaching We're kind like local parenthesis so parents and teachers to develop the characters of your children in harmony with the precepts of the Word of God this work should come first or eternal interests are here involved. The character building of your children is of more importance than the cultivation of your far. More essential than the building of houses to live in. Or of prosecuting any manner of business or trade so if you want to arrange your life. And line up your priorities. It seems what this is saying is this should be in the first place. So put it above farming put up a building put a business. That's the foundation now now that we've set the foundation in place of our discussion. I would like to begin this morning with our panel and. Asked the question. Knowing that this is of primary importance. And and knowing that we're on this journey already all of us know that characters important and we're trying to build character in our students and their staff. How do we do how do we do better in this area and what we have done till. Help. Early in our experience heritage Academy. We we felt like we would be successful if we brought in many. Highly capable speakers and we did that for I think about two years and we found that the the character of our students their spiritual experience was like a rollercoaster it would rise you know when we have a speaker in shortly after the speakers gone it falls until our next week or just up and down and up and down is very frustrating and one one summer we were just. Really you know commiserating and you know struggling in and praying about this and we came across we saw a sermon and we came across the passage in steps to Christ the passage of steps to Christ talks about what's commonly called a lapdog you know that was a certain. The sermon was about a lap dog. The idea is that we have these nice little tiny dogs and they're like cats you keep them in your lap and you at them and you you shower them with affection they don't do anything significant the just become just real. And Ellen White like in the experience of just coming in listening and drinking in all this spiritual food to a person who comes to a table and sit and eat eat and eat but never leave the table all they do is eat and you know she she's she makes the statement that the same in action that that would bring about the same physical condition that we would experience physically we experience spiritually we are not ministering to us. There's And and so for us in our in our experience that was the turning point we recognize that we had to have a program about reach and so from that point we intentionally taught students how to share their faith with others and put students in the community interfacing with people that was from that point we have always experience growth OK so what I'm hearing is that activity in Gates is a part of character building. How do we how do we get to the point where we're making progress very. Well at least one area and I think helping the students to have something personally to share so that they have developed any. I hate to say a plan but a part of their their own life become studying on their own having a personal devotional life teaching them how to study the Bible how to pray I mean you would think that by the time they were ninth graders. That was all be part of their life but most of our students come I mean they all come from Adventist homes and yet most of them have never had a personal devotional life and so it's very basic to their growth to to help a relationship with Jesus and it comes more you know unfortunately even teenagers learn how to study for task and how to do homework and they don't they study for Bible class most of them that and point in my eye and so it can't be just the fact that they have good Bible classes as important as those are it's it's teaching them how to have a won on relationship. OK so I'm hearing that we need more engagement in outreach. Involving young people and now I'm hearing that we need to encourage their spiritual personal devotional life so that they can enhance their connection with God. After because they want to ask you this morning you you see the world church and you've been here with us you've seen what we're talking about you have a broader view of this problem than we do what is what is your perspective as you see the world church in the education happening around the world and. You have read these quotes like we have many times before and you are out there in the field trying to see how we can encourage this to happen to better what is what is your experience in that realm. Not only live and just education but in education at large we share the same goals as I mentioned yesterday little this. Is a dark time and school that was started on mean there are many schools that want to do the same thing which is develop. And so they have a variety of activities just like we do have some of you are familiar with the Waldorf schools started by Rudolf Steiner and Sufi are soft is another branch they all want to develop a whole person and they use the same types of activities that we do using an expressive arts and. Outdoor activity and play and so on but the fundamental difference is what is the source of. True Light is it within the person that you're going out by these activities or is it something that comes from the outside. And so I think of Romans twelve to be transformed by the renewing of your mind not. Internal drawing something that's already there and humanistic sense but a drawing in God's spirit and our past that is educators as both of you have said in other ways it's the student. With with the price and it's that transforming and grating influence that ties together all of these elements and allows us to look around the world I see the greatest challenge of me. Here about what the source of knowledge is and the rightful place of Scripture and the rightful place of. The emitted Seventh Day Adventist teachers too many places we are forgetting what our real purpose is and we just focus on the economics and then we think we can by experts in this area hemisphere now physics and whatever that area is and transmit knowledge that's not what we're about we have to resist those in trends of the time just make learning knowledge and keep true to a holistic development and what source holistic is and that's. I want to read a statement and you kind of beat me to this a little bit and I'm glad for that because it gives good context for this. This is what the statement says in every generation. And in every life the true foundation for character building has been set the principles contained. The word. The only safe and sure rule is to do what God says. Now. Cavernous you you were just a few miles north of us here and you were involved in a university setting now it's a little higher level than most of us are at we're at the elementary and secondary level but. You're teaching in a field that is not necessarily what we would consider. Religious in nature because it's the field the science but as you have been here and you have experienced in and listen to this group I heard you say that you've been pondering how to put some of those things to work in your class tell us how you see character development coming in and this is part of this even the science curriculum. So let me say first that I really appreciate the focus that we have chosen for this morning for our time together because character development should be this is our highest work and Steve you used the expression I've been involved in higher education but really the highest education is we're talking about OK and them and the content must be secondary appreciated the focus of the presentations that we've been blessed with in this time and it requires perhaps a he reorientation because we are so often content oriented and that's particularly true in a university there there's content that the students need they need this in order to move to the next step. And it's progression if you don't have this you the next step but this is not the main thing. And the main thing is to come closer to the Lord and if we have all the learning all the knowledge all wisdom. In this continent that's not true because it's not. So. That focus in mind is a real challenge and I. Appreciate. All that in these meetings because it brings me back. Focus. I've had a couple of thoughts related to this how can we. Make sure that what's important what's critical doesn't get. Lost in multitude is and I keep coming back to Dr some morning devotions. Christ's way if we follow Christ's way of education if we learn we sit in the seat at the feet of the Master then we can't you can't go wrong but if we follow our own. Methods. Pedagogical methods which. Have been derived elsewhere then. Have true success so character developments or. Aspect of knowledge to learn from Jesus. To the Spirit through us it's. So. Yes. The big. Hitting is the best way to describe it is we often think of witnessing. Because that's what doctors months book is about. As meeting a total stranger. And then sharing her face perhaps leading them to a commitment but that's not the thrust the I mean the whole the whole point is that we are constantly in the presence of these students and these are our mission field and they're the ones who should be the object of our prayers and we should be praying for opportunities to speak to them to understand their heart to look for the keys to their hearts so that we can reach them and you know Jesus Jesus gave kind of a simple formula in John thirteen that by this all men will know that you are my disciples if you have love one for another in so simply if we are manifesting a love for the students if we manifest that we are seeking to gain eternal life for them that changes the whole atmosphere and effect and power of our school it gives an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to work and it it not only affects us internally but it enables our school to affect those who live around us. So in my service because I normally teach a satisfying class when I'm home in Savannah Tennessee. But I've been known to meddle. And I'm sorry this morning to do this but I think we really need to. To ask ourselves. This question. We've kind of opened up a topic we've seen that it's the most important work ever given to us and we've talked about some of these aspects of the devotional life and the knowledge that we give them make sure it's a knowledge from the Bible and make sure we're going to the real foundation of these issues last night when I sat here I had a little revelation as I was listening to Chester Clark kind of lead us through some of the history of education and bringing us to where we are and showing us the formation and the total picture of this whole thing and one of the things I heard him say and he's not here to defend himself this morning so you'll have to forgive me if I got it wrong but one of the things I heard him say was that there is an emotional and. Experience will side to this thing it's not just the knowledge and it's not it's there there is a mental issue here for sure but it's not just that it's not just the physical but there's this other side too that we often don't pay as much attention to. And the question I want to ask this morning is how. Is my character and as we ponder what we want to do for the students and this high and lofty goal that we want to reach having a character like Christ because another thing that I heard Chester say last night was he was asking the question in a way was causing me to ponder. What does. What does our relationship with the students need to be so that they can understand that we are also on a journey. I'm going to be just honest this morning I have not yet arrived where I want to be with. And even though I would like it to be different I would like to sit here this morning and say you know I I'm really close to where I think I ought to be I'm just going to tell you honestly that's not true. I don't think I where I'm where I want to be and I know I'm not where God wants me. And this morning as we're talking about character development I want you to take the opportunity to reflect personally. And I think we need to be more open and vulnerable with each other because it's where our growth can come and it's actually one of the reasons I appreciate coming to events like this because I can talk to other people that are on the same journey you know when you're in your institutional setting you have a responsibility to close advertise your school in the right way and to talk to people about certain ways things are going and you don't really like to hang out the dirty linen you know and I don't think that's necessarily what we should be doing but there's a time when we need to be very real with each other and we need to help each other along the way and this morning as we're talking about character building I want to reflect not just on what we want for students but I want to honestly reflect on what we want ourselves. And as we discuss these principles of character development. I want to take a moment to just ponder for me is this where I am. Is this what I'm doing. Is my devotional life what I really want to be. In my spending the time with God letting him speak to my soul so that what are some on says is true. That I can leave that spot and I can go forth and I can say yes Jesus is real to me today and I have something that's a bubbling over and it's flowing out of me. And it's going to affect the people that I come in contact with or am I getting up in the morning in such a rush in a hurry to get to the next house what's coming out of me so I'm just going to be real with least from my standpoint and I'm going to invite you to think about that as we talk together about this thing of character development it would be easy for us today. To sit and think about our students and just a list of things we want them to do list of things we want them to be but I want to reflect this morning what is that saying to me personally what does God have in mind for me personally and what areas does he want me to grow worse. So that I am actually the example I need to be and things are just flowing out of me it's not not forced out of me but it's flowing out of me in such a way that it's evident. That I'm not disconnected from the source of character and I resonate with that a lot. In that. There is a nation and I am. Often. Says that. As a teacher we must be well and students to be. That's hard. You know personally I was Can very convicted this morning. And morning devotion. Sometimes your schedule can be so full. Personally my schedule can be so full that I feel like you know I just can't do. And at the same time. I think it's once I get to the destination that I need to get to and begin doing what I'm doing then it's like I gain energy. So. I need I need God to help me and getting from here to there. To not. Let. What seems to be more than I can handle everything. But. In. OK. Had something to that just was some of that thought was reverberating in my mind and I remembered it experience this week in my class. And this can highlight how I personally should be bringing in what's important as well as just the content so in my issues in physical science and religion class we've been talking about the limits of logic and I shared some of these ideas with this group. So if we if we see how human reasoning is limited Well to start with we have to talk about how our reasoning process works and how we build knowledge so there's one I guess we'd have to say some content that needs the students need to acquire here so this is a word and I don't know if you've heard this word before but it's talk. So a tautology is something that's self evidently true true under all circumstances no matter what the pieces are that go into it the different options it's always true and I showed them this on a truth table so we have some background to cover but I have a favorite example a tautology something that's always true and. There are many examples that we could use. Some silly little ones which you like it will rain until it stops raining you know. That you haven't shared any new information. It will rain until it stopped or how far is it to my destination Well it's twice halfway. Again no extra information it's always true but there's there's one little illustration which I have found to be really useful and it brings out a spiritual thought suddenly right in the middle of higher education and I was just thinking I need she I need to actively promote sort of. The bad news is in the course of listening to good thoughts I lost the example that I was going to share but I need to do more to make sure that my examples like Christ's examples not only stick in the morning but help for character building comment on that as well that that teachers need to possess and Mexico characters and eat dress and care for all their habits says Curtis and they have to be themselves what they expect their students to be I often tell teachers that teachers are core of enterprise I'd like to just regress for a moment and tell you about the director of action and South America and and through at the time and I was a major florist one time staying in their home I mean back from the university and they in a place that face Arbor and I went out at night on the balcony and there were all these years up there and he told me standing there he told me that that week one of his country directors had been held that point in this life and they were. And he told me that he had to get I don't remember how many hundreds. He said. X. number of every year the water is. The country every day he was facing some prices are other food shortages disasters violence caring for people and so I know. This is this time and he said one thing I do is every year I take a vacation had two little girls. He said I take a full month vacation with my family that I was asked just cause I was leaving for vacation to go there was a hurricane and it was Haiti and he speaks French so he was asked to go there and he said I said no. In the face of that tremendous prices but he says I don't care for myself my family I. Swear and I know many of you and I know my. We so conscientious we want to do everything we want to provide the very best role model for our students and we push push we push physical limits as well but part of that symmetrical arc is learning to take time for our family to rest sleep have recreation and not have the go but all the time while we are to be ourselves what we want our students we are not. We're not we are human beings and we have to learn to sing now sometimes how to put limits how to have that balance because this world is full of hurt human there is no end to human need and hurt and that's what the Sabbath lesson is yes you work six days but you have asked part of being human is is fellowship with our fellow believers with God not he working machine all the time so pointing them to price not while we present the very best balance we can. So I came up with that. Came back to my neck started looking on my site and found. The illustration for something that's perhaps self evidently true and it's a quote from Ellen White citation which says if we will spend a quiet hour and this is the time spent with the Lord this is this is the most important thing then he promises that there will be enough time for all that's important and the the example I'm able to share with my class and then we ask perhaps that is that promise is not only promising that we will be more effective and efficient throughout the day but we have already done what is the most important. As educators we have a high and holy calling and a high ideal and we think we know all the quotation we can expect our students to rise above where we are and that that certainly is a goal for us to keep in our objective to keep in mind to keep striving for. That when we're honest with ourselves we know we have arrived at least most of us I speak for you offer me if I know I have not arrived and. And I think that while we are in this process that being transparent with our students can be very beneficial for them because they can look at us and made hopefully not always but hopefully they don't see the struggles were having and they didn't develop this attitude that says well you're up there you don't even understand what I'm going through and why I keep failing because you're you've already arrived and I believe in being transparent with them we gain more benefits than keeping up a facade as it were. When we could share the same. Those that we go through and how the Lord is helping the the steps the journey that we've been on the things we've learned he can be a huge blessing to them and I think encourage the binding process with our students because they don't sense this big difference this distance between us and them they understand that we realize and often they realize more our struggles and we think they do. But we're just a real weapon and I I believe I have I can think of several situations where. Just being able to share and has helped students to be more receptive to ideas that they can try things that they can do to improve. To gain victories that they haven't been gaining and I think when we're told that we should be as transparent as possible I It even goes into some of those areas that we would prefer were not as transparent but our students can benefit from learning from our experience and. OK So let me just we were doing some pretty discussion yesterday afternoon here and there were a few points we were making and I don't want to skip over those this morning because we told the panel we were going to give them just a little bit of thinking about it but we've covered several of my so I want to review at this point we kind of ask the question how do we do better we talk about balance and so I appreciate that bring the balance and it so important in this thoughtful hour that gives that law that says if you will do this and this will happen and it's always true that full hour is an extremely important hour in our day and isn't it and. And to look. We also talked in our preparation time about several other things and I don't know that when I have time to cover all these but I just want to be back here and I want you to think about these topics relative to your personal journey and character development as well as to what you're trying to do for your students now no way to question your intimate comment from question the obvious and. Because just a minute but I want to well listen he's so they can be a part of your thinking is be continue our discussion for just about another five minutes so here is where they were we said in our preparatory time that environment was something we should really think about as we help our students towards character development. And so that would be a question for us as well the environment we create for ourselves are we doing that appropriate. Technology has an impact on character development. How are we as staff using technology how we assess as teachers using our technology are we using it as a tool into its best advantage are we letting it use us you know we may limit the technology for the students and but have we limited it for ourselves do we have limits on how much time we will spend a certain task or do we let it kind of run wild in effect. In the other things we need to do. Doug brought this out yesterday afternoon and. It basically isn't best occasion helping the students investigate by studying Daniel and Revelation because when we study down your Revelation we see the high and holy character. And the high and holy character of our Savior. It helps us to pause and wonder is that the kind of character that we have that kind of character we're encouraging students just think about those things I'm going to take That's common we're going to go the audience question. I just want to speak to the concept of. Personally developing character there is a there is a point it's described in Luke Chapter eleven were disciples came to Jesus after he'd been praying and they said Lord teach us to pray the same way John the Baptist taught his disciples to pray and. Then he goes through it's very familiar to us all the Lord's Prayer one aspect of that that's brought out in Luke Chapter eleven is he said Give us this day our daily bread. And we might have a tendency to think low in terms of earthly things like I need to eat but he goes on Luke does by adding a couple illustrations and he says look if you have a friend who comes over your house at midnight and you have nothing to put before him you go to your neighbor's house and you knock on the door but if the neighbor says hey look I'm already in bed my children are asleep leave me alone if you stay there in you pound on that door Jesus says He will give you all the prep you need. And he says you know God knows how to give good things to you if if you are. If you continue to press you got response but then he goes and he gives another example which of you has a son if they ask you for bread would give you we would give them a stone. People are not like that so you who are evil know how to do good for your children so much more is your holy is your Father in heaven willing to give you the Holy Spirit when you pray for it and so he's equating in that that asking for bread for the Holy Spirit and that's that's the key ingredient that we've been talking about for us to be able to share our faith with our students and lead them she is the kingdom we must daily infused with the Holy Spirit and that does have to be a part of our daily routine to seek for that power. Thank you so. Yes. I have a senior here that has teachings about character. And. Well it meant if it's real thing if you've ever been in the Strands had any Here's a nice post by. Me says. He. And he determined his principal needs to hike nice and so beginning of the school year. And I said you know I can't use you can't. Senior has earned treat from one of our staff members like challenger kids. He takes the month five. Twenty six my. Miles up and down passes and peaks and I can't say that I could do that either but anyway he's learned that doing these challenges is good for him so I think it's good for me too and so I told him OK before Christmas break make an effort and I did I got three fourths of the way up. And then it got too dark and so I need to turn around and this one you didn't do it you're going to have to do it next time so what I'm trying to say is teaching them how to tackle challenges and encouraging them that these challenges are part of character development and I I think it's probably one of the greatest things I've learned it's just the school year it's not the cushy life that really cared develops my character if my life was easy my character would not go very far. So in any way in their own character development I just want to challenge us that we need to cease challenges with our kids show them how to be challenges that give us. Well we're really out of time and that's unfortunate because this topic continues to. I think it should continue to be something we think about and discuss and even open up with the students and just say let's sit down talk about character develop let's talk about what this means and how we can progress in this area you know as I look at myself I agree with the writing here and Matthew Chapter nineteen and. This is what Jesus with man. This is impossible but even leave him there he said but with God all things are possible that means that it is possible for God to continue to transform my character day by day the other text that I like is him lip in Chapter one Verse six being confident of this very thing. That he which hath. Be a good work in you will perform it. Till the day of Jesus Christ. So. Let's take the word of God for the way it reads trust him to help us as teachers and administrators to continue to develop our characters let's be transparent with our students that's engage them in a conversation. Let's talk about taking this journey together. Becoming more and more like our Savior. Thank you this morning for your suspicion and going to ask Dr Beardsley she goes up there it's that's power that's and prayer your Heavenly Father we are so grateful that you have revealed yourself to us that the more you reveal to sell through your son. Right you can do you to do this good work and we praise you for the gift of salvation that is our school and free and we pray that we might need to generously share that with our students interest Christ. This media was brought to you by audio from a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about. If you would like to listen to more sermons pleading with. Audio first or.


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