Ian Randall is an educator, artist and author at Cambridge University Press.
You can view examples of artworks or obtain further information here.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Christian Education - Orphans in the classroom

Hosea 14:3 .. in you alone do the orphans find mercy. 
Matthew 19:14 ... Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." 
From Wiki - 
In the common use, an orphan does not have any surviving parent to care for him or her. However, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), and other groups label any child that has lost one parent as an orphan.
I recently had the opportunity to attend a presentation by Greg Beech CEO from Homes of Hope.  He highlighted the overwhelming and distressing problem of orphans in our world. He explored the reason behind the UNICEF definition of an orphan, which includes children who have lost one or both parents. This definition sees the global proportion of orphans as 1/13 children.  Commonly a child will loose their father, leaving the mother and child in a most desperate situation, often resulting in the eventual abandonment of that child. In Jakarta, Homes of Hope are raising funds to build an orphanage to house up to 60 children. 

In affluent Australia there are school children who are in many ways orphans. Although they are not suffering the same plight as those in developing countries, nevertheless, they are abandoned and in alone in the world. Our orphans come from broken or multiple homes, living with Grandparents or careers, or with parents who have lost patience with an 'out of control' teenager. These are the children who are accountable only to themselves; they put themselves to bed, launder their own clothes, find their own money, prepare their own meals, care for their siblings and even are responsible for nursing other family members. Their lives are troubled and out of their control, they come to school without adequate food, without the basic school equipment, unwashed and out of uniform.

I wonder whether we need to care for these students as the orphans that they are.

Christian Education must emphasis the Christ in Education. If Jesus was at our school what would he be most concerned about?  I see Jesus ensuring that our orphans were fed, warm, washed, clothed, rested, listen to and understood, well before the bell rang for the start the school day. Jesus would give them the care and security all children deserve, see that their physical and emotional needs were met and then "off to class." 

Within our schools we need to consider how we can provide the facilities that our orphans need; breakfast clubs, fresh lunches, clean bathrooms and washrooms, counselling, medical and health assistance, spare clean uniforms and casual cloths . . . (?)

I think that Jesus would be one of those teachers who would always be late to class. 
Oh, and Jesus would teach Design and Technology.

Just a teacher thought,
Ian Randall

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