Tests; October 8, 2022

Proverbs 15:32 He who ignores discipline despises himself.
but whoever heeds correction gains understanding.

As a teacher for over 40 years myself, I was shocked and saddened recently to see a news item of a college professor who was fired because his students complained that “his tests were too hard.” The shocking part is that the school accepted the students’ demands, but the sad part, on top of the blow to the professor, is that these students indeed despise themselves, as the NIV puts it. The Japanese says they “waste their life.” Very few things worth doing are easy, and indeed it is the effort, the struggle, that makes us appreciate their value. Too many people today want something for nothing, not realizing that they are cheapening their own existence in the process. That is the tragedy of both lottery winners and “trust fund kids.” They tend to use the money in destructive, or at least wasteful, ways because they put no effort into acquiring it. We do our children, and indeed society, no favors when we fail to require of them honest effort. That requires telling them clearly when they are wrong or have fallen short. That’s where school tests come in. Some academic tests are indeed superfluous, but you can have no valid self-esteem without earning it. Dennis Prager and others have commented on this issue. Proverbs could in some way be called a compendium of common sense, but common sense is sadly less and less common. We need to raise our children to understand that actions have consequences, and satisfaction in a job well done is far more valuable than candy.

Of course this applies to me. Academics always came easily to me, and it was a necessary rude awakening when I failed two classes my first year in college, even though I had entered under the Honors Program. Thankfully, in a few things I got it right from the start. I knew, almost instinctively it seems, that marriage would be the biggest job of my life, but it would carry the greatest rewards. That has certainly proved to be true over the past 53 years and counting. I consider my marriage one of the crowning achievements of my life, and I couldn’t be more grateful. In various areas of my life I treasure some of the discipline and corrections I have received from various sources. Sometimes the Lord has had to tell me directly, but most often it has been through human agents. As a teacher, my tests are in a sense notorious, because it’s rare indeed not to have some students who fail, but then it’s also not unusual to have students make 100%. I am careful not to test on material I haven’t covered in class, but there’s always plenty of material that has been covered! In the first session with each group I always tell them what it takes to do well on my tests, but it’s sad how few listen! God has told us in the Bible what it takes to succeed by His standards, and going by that, putting in the effort, is always worth the trouble.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the many trials – tests – You allow us to go through, including the one right now with my wife’s nerve pain and back surgery. Thank You that she is essentially pain free right now, and is coming out of the mental fog brought on by the anesthesia and pain killers she has received. Help us continue to learn what You want to teach us through this, to be better disciples of Christ, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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