Ondervoeding of wanvoeding? Ons kinders se onderwys en die toekoms

Om te begin, hoop ek nie ek gee met die opskrif ‘n slegte smaak in die mond en neem mense se ‘opvoedkundige eetlus’ weg nie.

Ek het ‘n bietjie gaan kers opsteek by ‘n taalkundige en sy het die begrippe ‘ondervoeding’ en ‘wanvoeding’ soos volg verduidelik: Ondervoeding is gebrekkige voeding a.g.v. onvoldoende voedselinname of swak voedselopname, of die siektetoestand wat daardeur veroorsaak word. Wanvoeding is ‘n toestand wat die gevolg is van ‘n dieet wat ontoereikend is omdat dit te min (ondervoeding) of te veel (oorvoeding) van bepaalde voedingstowwe bevat. Wanvoeding is dus ‘n oorkoepelende term wat ondervoeding en oorvoeding insluit.

Bogenoemde beeld, idee of beskrywing van voeding in negatiewe sin, moet vervolgens in gedagte gehou word as ek verder gesels. Die vraag wat ek dan ook wil stel, en dis ‘n vraag wat deur ‘n apologeet en ‘n ene Cornelius van Til sover terug as 1936 in The Presbyterian Guardian, Volume 3, ook gevra is, naamlik What shall we feed our children?  Hy het die vraag gevra teen die agtergrond van die invloed van die modernisme op die onderwys. Vandag sou ons ook die postmodernisme en die effek daarvan kon betrek mbt die beantwoording van hierdie vraag.

In die lig van hierdie essensiële vraag, wonder ek soms en terloops of ons werklik na  diepliggend beredeneerde oplossings of antwoorde soek en of ons nie so vasgevang of verlam is deur die politieke, maatskaplike, sosiale, ekonomiese en individuele omstandighede en onderliggende filosofie en filosofieë wat dit dryf nie, dat ons die vermoë of energie verloor het om na die essensie van sake te kyk en konstruktief en gesamentlik oor ‘n opvoedkundige plan vanuit ons Christelike geloofsoortuiging te besin nie.

Kom ek kyk ‘n bietjie weer na die artikel wat Van Til in The Presbyterian Guardian geskryf het. Hy skryf vanuit die Amerikaanse situasie vir sy tyd, maar ek reken ons kan nie maar net eenkant staan en reken dit sê niks vir ons hier te lande nie of vir vandag nie. Van Til skryf:

“We know that the literature of the old Board of Christian Education was permeated with Modernism. But even if we are able to find literature that is sound, do we then have all that we need? Can we really believe that the only thing wrong with the old program was its Modernism? Our fathers had a far more comprehensive program of Christian education than we have now. Time was when the public school system of the country was virtually a Christian school system. That time is past and yet are we sure that there is no need for a real system of Christian education?”

Kom ek probeer vertaal met die idee om dit op ons eie situasie of konteks van toepassing te maak. Hou dus ons eie konteks die heel tyd in gedagte:

“Ons weet dat die literatuur van onderwysliggame en onderwys- en opvoedkundige forums deurdrenk was (is) met modernisme (of postmodernisme). Maar al ontdek of kry ons literatuur wat aanvaarbaar is, beteken dit dat ons alles het wat ons nodig het? Kan ons werklik glo dat die enigste ding wat verkeerd is met vorige of programme tans voor die deur van die modernisme (of postmodernisme) gelê kan word? Ons voorvaders het by verre ‘n meer omvattende program van Christelike onderwys gehad as wat ons tans het. Daar was ‘n stadium dat die openbare skoolsisteem van die land feitlik/oorwegend ‘n Christelike sisteem was. Daardie tyd is verby en tog, is ons seker dat daar nie ‘n behoefte is vir ‘n ware Christelike onderwyssisteem nie?”

Van Til gaan dan verder in sy artikel en wys daarop ‘n mens dalk genoemde vrae (in die aanhaling) die beste kan beantwoord deur te vra of die opvoedkundige invloede wat Christelik is, sterker as die opvoed-/onderwyskundige invloede is wat nie Christelike van aard is nie. Dan vervolg Van Til met ‘n beeld wat spreekwoordelik tussen die oë tref : “Imagine with me, if you will, a child now six years old. Then think of this child some twenty years from now. Is it likely, considering the education this child will receive, that it will be an intelligent member of the church at that time? Is it likely that this child will be full of enthusiasm and zeal for the truth when it comes to manhood or womanhood? In answering these questions we shall assume that the child we think of has the benefit of a truly Christian home. We shall also assume that the child’s Sunday school teachers were fully equipped for their task. We shall assume that the child has actually attended preaching services that were truly Reformed in nature. Still further we shall assume that the child is taught the catechism. These are huge assumptions but we must make them now, and ask whether all these Christian influences can counteract the non-Christian influences to which our child will be subjected in the next twenty years”.

Net vinnig ‘n opmerking: Ek wonder hoeveel van ons het vir ‘n oomblik gehuiwer en ‘n wenkbrou gelig by die woorde “truly Reformed in nature” en “taught the catechism”? Dalk is hierdie huiwering en frons-op-die-voorkop gevoel juis tekenend van ons eie gebrekkige blootstelling aan deurdringende ondersoek, en dus begrip. Maar wag, ek is weer terug by Van Til en sy beeld van ‘n sesjarige kind. Die kind word groot en groei op. Klink die volgende nie bekend nie, en kon dit nie net sowel ‘n verwysing na en beskrywing van ons eie situasie wees nie?

“Suppose then that our child goes to college. Many children eventually do. Will he go to a Christian college? This is not at all certain. There are not enough Christian colleges. A considerable percentage of our young people will continue to attend the public university or college. Besides, colleges that are not only Christian but truly Reformed are few in number. We think of our child, then, as eventually attending a modern university. Will he, upon graduation “join” or remain in the church? Will he be able to do either if he is honest with himself?”

Christengelowiges kan ook as die ‘kerk’ beskryf word. Maar ons kom ook saam in ‘n kerk om te aanbid. Die vraag vandag is of ons ‘n kerk kies na ons persoonlike smaak, gerig deur gemaksug en informaliteit, of is ons deel van ‘n kerk en gemeente waar die Woord in sy volheid verkondig/gepreek en uitgedra word – nie wat ek wil nie, maar wat God wil! In die 1930’s sê Van Til die volgende:

“It was not difficult for young people to “join” or remain in a church when that church largely failed to bring out the contrast between the teaching of Scripture and the teaching of the modern university. Under those circumstances young people were not compelled to make an intelligent choice. They could continue in the church because of “hallowed associations” and “noble traditions” connected with fine old buildings. But if the full implication of Scripture teaching for doctrine and life is set forth clearly and forcibly [eie beklemtoning], educated young people will have to choose between this teaching and what they have learned in the university. An intelligent choice for or against the truth will naturally replace decisions made on the basis of sentiment alone. We ask our young people to believe in Christ as their personal Saviour. Can they honestly say that they do, if they also believe what they have heard in the courses on science and philosophy?”

Die vraag is met wat ons kinders, jongmense en ja, entlik ons almal, gevoed word?Het ons ‘n grondige kennis van God se Woord om besluite in die lewe te maak en onderskeid te tref of is alles vaag? Van Til se vrae en antwoorde gerig deur God se Woord raak die essensie aan. Hoe antwoord ons self hierop in die jaar 2019?

  • What does it mean to believe in Christ as my personal Saviour? Among other things it means that I am a creature of God who has sinned against God by “want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.” As a sinner I am under the wrath of God forever. No mere man can do anything for me. Only God can save me. Therefore Jesus must be God. Therefore He must, in His human nature, die in my room and stead. Therefore the Holy Spirit must regenerate me.
  • But does university teaching agree with this? We trust that no one will argue that it does. Sonder om te veralgemeen gemeet aan ons eie omgewing en situasie en ‘verkondig’ deur die oorgrote deel van die openbare media: That teaching denies, to begin with, the foundation fact of Christianity, the fact of creation. Modern philosophy and modern science are in perfect accord in rejecting the Scriptural notion of creation. If the word “creation” is employed by some philosophers it is not taken in the Biblical sense. Then, too, the Biblical idea of sin as defined by the Shorter Catechism is set aside by modern science in general and by psychology in particular. Freudianism, for example, may say many ugly things about human nature but it has no use for the idea of an originally perfect creation and for the idea that man is, since the fall, guilty before God. Thus, according to this point of view, man does not need to be saved in the Bible sense of the term; why then should he confess Christ as his personal Saviour? To do so would be to prevaricate.

“But suppose our child does not go to college. Suppose he goes to high school only. This does not obviate the difficulty. The high school teachers have for the greater part been trained in the public universities and normal schools. We are, it would seem, quite safe in saying that the general influence on the high school pupils is largely the same as that brought to bear upon college students. Even if there are a number of high school teachers who are Christians they are not prepared, because of their lack of Christian training, to counteract the general non-Christian influences.

Net weer die vrae: Maar al ontdek of kry ons literatuur wat aanvaarbaar is, beteken dit dat ons alles het wat ons nodig het? Kan ons werklik glo dat die enigste ding wat verkeerd is met vorige of programme tans, voor die deur van die modernisme (of postmodernisme) gelê kan word?

Ek reken Van Til gee perspektief: If we are unwilling to make use of the natural means of instruction that God has placed within our reach we cannot expect our children to become Christians—useful Christians—through sporadic efforts of our own.

Waarmee word ons kinders gevoed, ook geestelik gevoed? Hoe lyk dit vandag?

  • Our child will certainly attend the grade school for several years and that for five days a week.
  • In Sunday school our child has learned the nineteenth psalm. As he goes to school those beautiful words, “The heavens declare the glory of God”; still reverberate through his mind.
  • But when he enters the school room all this has suddenly changed. There the “starry universe above” somehow operates quite independently of God. And what is true of “the heavens above” is true of everything else.
  • At home the child is taught that “whether we eat or drink or do anything else” we must do all to the glory of God because everything has been created by God and everything is sustained by God.
  • In school the child is taught that everything come of itself and sustains itself. This much is involved in the idea of “neutrality” itself. At best this means that God need not be brought into the picture when we are teaching anything to our children.
  • But is it not a great sin for Christian parents to have their children taught for five days a week by competent teachers that nature and history have nothing to do with God?

We have no moral right to expect anything but that our children will accept that in which they have been most thoroughly instructed and will ignore that about which they hear only intermittently. Ek sien ‘n prentjie van ‘n skoolkind wat geld gekry het om ‘n voedsame happie by die skool se snoepie te koop, maar dan staan hy voor die toonbank en word oorweldig deur die versoeking om eerder van alles behalwe die voedsame te koop. Hoe sterk oortuig is die kind op grond van grondige kennis en opvoeding om, wanneer dit nodig is en in gehoorsaamheid) die regte besluit te neem?

Maar onthou: “… are not our children “born and conceived in sin”? Will they not naturally accept that which is false rather than that which is true? Nor is the instruction by any means always “neutral.” 

Skeefgetrekte/verwronge prioriteite en ‘voeding’ is eie aan ons dag. Ek kan amper nie glo dat die volgende in die 1930’s geskryf en opgemerk is nie. Ek moet dit eenvoudig net deel.

If we Christian parents think of all this is it not really amazing that we have so sadly neglected the Christian training of our children? We take excellent care of the bodies of our children. We are becoming “vitamin minded.” We do not buy cabbages and potatoes but we buy calories and vitamins. We ask how much of the valuable vitamin D content is in this food or in that [Of ons skryf ons kinders in vir hierdie en daardie program en oefen hulle, en ons skree (soms histeries) en moedig hulle met passie aan; en skole rig heinings vir veiligheid op, en bou (soms op grond van persoonlike voorkeure en omdat niemand wil agter raak nie) die beste geriewe en velde en bane – my eie invoegsel ter wille van ons eie omgewing]. But [eie beklemtoning] the strange thing is that in the field of spiritual nurture we do not count the number of vitamin D’s our children get. No sensible parent will give his child food not of the best if the best is within his reach. No mother will allow her child to pick up what it may anywhere in the way of food and then when sickness comes suddenly feed that child nothing but cod-liver oil. Why then do we allow our children to have daily meals of spiritual food which has no vitamin D? Do we not care if they develop spiritual rickets? Do we not worry if they are spiritually underfed? “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”

Ek wil nie pessimisties na die toekoms kyk nie, maar ek wonder oor die volgende by wyse van vrae:

  • Is dit wat Cornelius van Til in die 1930’s skryf los te maak van ons situasie en konteks?
  • Is Christelike onderwys net ‘n kwessie vir ‘n ander land?
  • Is die feit dat ek ‘n dag met gebed in die klas begin, ‘n maatstaf dat Christelike onderwys in die ware sin van die woord tov alle vakterreine plaasvind?
  • Is daar ‘n wil en oortuiging by mense aanwesig wat hulle dryf om saam in Christus (by wyse van gesprekke en doelgerigte inisiatiewe) te besin oor Christelike onderwys en ‘n program daarvoor?
  • Hoekom is ek by die skool waar ek is en in watter posvlak ook al – in ‘n groot mate vir die gerief, aftreegeld, status en profiel, prestige?
  • Wat beteken “roeping” vir die onderwyser, leier en bestuurder van vandag?
  • Hoe gebruik ek my energie en tyd (my verantwoordelikheid) as ouer om my kind en kinders te lei in die waarhede van God se Woord, om nie aan hierdie wêreld gelykvormig te word nie, maar om eerstens God se koninkryk te soek?
  • Kan of sou my kind uiteindelik onderskei waarop dit neerkom?

‘n Laaste woord (en hopelik tog nie die laaste woord nie) van Cornelius van Til: In obedience to our covenant God we shall have to bring up our children “in the fear and admonition of the Lord.”

God het die eerste en laaste sê!

Groetnis!

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