August has been designated as Education Month! There is no more fitting time to take a look at American education than now. To begin this month, we wanted to share with you the definition of education as written by Noah Webster in his 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language.
Noah Webster was often called the “Father of American Scholarship and Education.” And until recently he was lovingly and reverently called the “Father of American Christian Education.”
When that changed and how it changed will be explained in future posts. But for now, we encourage you to ponder the following definition of “education.” Compare and contrast it with our current thoughts and practices of education and talk to us. We welcome your response.
“Education, n. (L. Educatio.)
The bringing up, as of a child; instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties.”
So education, by definition is a series of instruction and discipline.
It is intended to enlighten the understanding,
Correct the temper,
Form the manners and habits of youth,
And finally, to fit them for usefulness in their future stations.
Webster notes that a good education in manners, arts, and science is important; but a religious education is indispensable!
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary along with the Bible and Shakespeare traveled across the prairies in covered wagons, as pioneer mothers taught their children when they sat in their wagons, when they walked by the way when they lay down at night and rose up in the mornings. (Deuteronomy 6:7)
Consider and ponder . . . Lest we forget.
(c) Patricia H. Smith