Navigating Your Child's Education: Grades 6-8

2 min read

The Necessity of Challenge for Students

Jun 6, 2019 1:33 PM

Genesis 1 is the basis for our desire to develop creativity into students’ academic life. The nature of God as a creator means that, as His people created to be like Him, we glorify His nature when we act creatively. Moving just two chapters later in the book, however, we find Genesis 3 and the ugly ramifications of the fall of man. It is this chapter that forms the basis of the necessity of students to be challenged in school.

The actions of our progenitors in Genesis 3 have caused each of us to have a very different engagement with the world around us than God had originally intended. Instead of the fullness and shalom of the original creation, we deal in the thorns and thistles of the fall (Genesis 3:18). Even as redeemed people we do not escape these consequences. Every day we must persist in working through the challenges of thorns and thistles in our personal lives, in our relationships, in our cultural engagements, and in our vocations; and if you happen to be a student, in your learning and academic life.

New call-to-actionThere is no way around it. In fact, it is part of our calling that comes out of Genesis. Our work, our vocation that each of us does as service to God and to others—including studying and learning—will be permeated with challenges. The act of repairing the ruins of the world around us by cooperating with God’s redemptive work requires that we meet these challenges head-on and overcome them. We must do so with all of the tools that God has given us, including that of a disciplined mind, a generous body of knowledge, and heart that leans toward understanding and is led by the Spirit.

A classroom or a performance stage or an athletic field is an excellent laboratory for students to learn to identify challenges and solutions to them. Honing a craft, committing to the discipline of work, developing grit and determination, accepting the risk of not succeeding, and building spiritual fortitude are critically important skills that will be used the rest of their lives because the challenges continue well after their schooling ends. As parents and teachers, we give our students a gift when we strategically place appropriate challenges before them and cheer them on as they overcome them.

Troy McIntosh
Written by Troy McIntosh

Currently serving as Executive Director of the Ohio Christian Education Network, Troy has been in education for over 25 years as an elementary teacher, elementary/middle school principal, and as Head of School at Worthington Christian School. He and his wife Julie have three adult daughters. Troy loves spending time with students, especially when it is centered around asking and answering big questions. He is passionate about watching students grow and mature by learning new ideas and how they relate to their world.