By W.R. Jones
School is starting earlier this year than I have ever known. Some are glad, some are sad, but like it or not young people must attend. At the beginning of school, teachers publish a list of “back to school needs.” From the first grade through college there are certain things a student must have. They differ greatly, but for that group they are needed. Please allow me to mention some “back to school needs” that are not on the teacher’s list. These needs cannot be bought with money. They are more important than any other need. Above all, they affect your happiness here and your eternal security in the world to come. Consider these thoughts.
Carry Honesty With You
Dishonesty prevails in many school rooms of our day. I plead with you, young people, don’t be a part of it. What is honesty? It means “honorable, hence, creditable, suitable.” “It is characterized by integrity and strait forwardness in conduct, thought and speech; free from fraud.” The Word of God says, “Provide things honest in the sight of men” (Rom.12:17). “Do that which is honest” (2 Cor. 13:7). “Having your conversation honest” (1 Pet. 2:12). In line with these Scriptures, the admonition I heard as a child was, “Honesty is the best policy.”
Honesty requires an honest heart and honest thinking. If you don’t have it on the inside, it won’t show on the outside. Let us ask, with whom should you be honest? First, be honest with God and his teachings. “Be not deceived, God is not mocked” (Gal. 6:7-8). Don’t try to fool God, you can-not!
Second, be honest with yourself. “To thine own self be true and thou canst not be false to any.”
Third, be honest with your fellow students. When you are honest with others you never meet yourself coming back. Fourth, be honest with your teachers. Promises should be kept. Assignments should be fulfilled or reasonable explanation made. Fifth, be honest with your parents. Good parents are trying to guide you in the right way and if you lie to them they are unable to help you. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Gal. 6:1). By all means, parents should be honest with their children!
Carry Moral Courage With You
Look at the definition of courage. “That quality of mind which enables one to meet danger and difficulties with firmness.” In the Hebrew (hazak), “to show oneself strong” (Num. 13:20). In the Greek (tharso) “be of good cheer, boldness, confidence.”
Moral courage means to show one-self strong against Satan’s appeals. Public schools belong to the people; both good and bad. The authorities can’t always legislate all the morals of your fellow students or those who teach you. Therefore, you must have courage! Don’t be afraid! Peer pressure may be great to lead you into sin. Don’t let them intimidate you into disaster. Have courage and in the long run you will be the better for it.
Carry Respect for Authority One thing greatly needed in our day is respect for authority. It is needed in the home, school, community and above all in the kingdom of God. Children are taught in both Old and New Testaments to respect authority (Eph. 6:1). When those in authority are trying to direct you in that which is profitable and righteous you should obey them. If they are directing you into that which is wrong then have the “courage” to say no. You must learn that authority is the tap root of decency, order, and happiness. Even if you can’t respect the life of your teacher or principal, try to respect the office. As you return to school, please take these “back to school needs” with you. They will serve you well.
Parents, you should realize the importance of secular education, but even more important, your children’s spiritual training. Both take time and effort on your part. Be sure you don’t neglect the spiritual.
Guardian of Truth XXXIX: No. 19, p. 1
October 5, 1995