A paradigm is how we view the world around us. A paradigm shift is an “Aha” moment when our perspective changes. We observe this in the story of David and Goliath. A young shepherd named David is sent by his father to take food to his brothers who are afraid to fight this 9.5 foot plus tall “giant” of a man as he thrashes them with his verbal insults. Their perspective and paradigm are they have no one big or strong enough to fight this giant! David is astounded that there is not one man, including King Saul, who is willing to defend the honor and God of Israel. Exasperated by their doubts, David remarks, “Is there not a cause?” David then tells King Saul of his plan to fight Goliath. Saul remarks, “thou art but a youth and he is a man of war from his youth!” David responds that he has kept and defended his father’s sheep for years and even slew a lion and a bear in defense of his flock. There was the paradigm shift. Everyone was afraid of the size and skill of Goliath. Instead David was thinking, HOW CAN I MISS!? He is so big I can’t miss hitting him just like I did with the lion and the bear! (1 Samuel 17:4-54 Bible KJV)
Education is our cause! Have you had your personal educational paradigm shift? I saw such a shift this summer with the courage of a young family in Southern Oregon with a tenacious mother that wanted a charter school in her town. When the bureaucracy ganged up on her and the other parents and denied them; they shifted their paradigm. They built a private school that most of the children in that town now attend. Micro-schools, home schools and charter schools continue to lead the way in post-COVID education. Parents and especially mothers have planted their maternal flags in the ground that their children and the education of such belong to them, not the state. How do we sustain such a bold yet natural, self-evident truth? Rabbi Jonathan Sacks stated, “To defend a country you need an army. But to defend a free society you need schools. You need families and an educational system in which ideals are passed on from one generation to the next, and never lost, or despaired of, or obscured. There has never been a more profound understanding of freedom. It is not difficult, Moses was saying, to gain liberty, but to sustain it is the work of a hundred generations. Forget it and you lose it.” Education is not a one-time event, it is a process and a character shift. It is generational thinking. It is understood that we are planting shade trees by building educational sanctuaries for children becoming great citizens and souls that will produce the shade of which we may never personally repose. It is generational thinking that is required to sustain liberty and families into the future.
One of my educational paradigm shifts came some 20-25 years ago. I was listening to a mentor, Oliver DeMille, talking about the founding fathers and our country. He noted that most were self-educated and set aside their business and personal interests to give to their communities and country. This is what they termed “public virtue”. A few years later Oliver asked me and others, “What are you doing for your grandchildren?” I did not have any grandchildren at the time, but I knew that my answer had to do with education. The shift was to stop dwelling on today and to think about the world my grandchildren would one day inherit. I thought to myself, what will I tell my posterity about the difficulties of our times? What did I do to build sanctuaries of learning, faith, and freedom?
Earlier this year our family took a trip to Boston. Near the city of Quincy is Penn’s Hill. It was the place where Abigail Adams took a very young John Quincy Adams to observe the Battle of Bunker Hill some 10-15 miles in the distance. She wrote of that day, “The day, perhaps the decisive day is come on which the fate of America depends. My bursting heart must find vent with my pen.” That was a paradigm shift seeing the world and place they lived would never be the same. John Quincy wrote of that day, In 1846 John Quincy Adams recalled, “The year 1775 was the eighth year of my age. Among the first fruits of the War, was the expulsion of my father’s family from their peaceful abode in Boston, to take refuge in his and my native town of Braintree…. For the space of twelve months my mother with her infant children dwelt, liable every hour of the day and of the night to be butchered in cold blood, or taken and carried into Boston as hostages, by any foraging or marauding detachment of men, like that actually sent forth on the 19th. of April, to capture John Hancock and Samuel Adams on their way to attend the continental Congress at Philadelphia. My father was separated from his family, on his way to attend the same continental Congress, and there my mother, with her children lived in unintermitted danger of being consumed with them all in a conflagration kindled by a torch in the same hands which on the 17th. of June lighted the fires in Charlestown. I saw with my own eyes those fires, and heard Britannia’s thunders in the Battle of Bunker’s hill and witnessed the tears of my mother and mingled with them my own, at the fall of Warren a dear friend of my father, and a beloved Physician to me. He had been our family physician and surgeon, and had saved my fore finger from amputation under a very bad fracture….”(https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/04-01-02-0150)
Have you had your educational paradigm shift as to what matters most? Education is where you will find it. Your soul is where you will nurture it. Your actions are where you will sustain it.