Thursday, March 5, 2015

Video Games and Legos

How do you look at education? Seriously, how do you, in general, look at education? Is it another hoop to go through before you can do what you really want? Is it something that is lifelong that never stops?

I have found that people look at education in different ways, and depending on which way you look at it, it can become something to be accomplished, or something that never ends.

To illustrate what I am saying I like to use the example of video games and Legos. For many, education, especially Christian education is like a video game. We work our way up the ladder. We learn this class and that class, and everything is determined by our skill level. Once we make it to the top, we have this big hill to overcome. In video game language, we have the big boss to do battle with. In our churches this becomes confirmation, not that confirmation is bad or negative, but it is a hill that we must overcome. After this, we are done. We have vanquished the foe, we have defeated the enemy, we have graduated the school or church. We have completed our task. And so we prepare ourselves for the sequel, the next game in the series, but there is nothing there. Some churches try to deal with this, by setting up new rewards, new accomplishments, new hills to overcome so that the student is perpetually in a cycle of earning something. The problem comes when there are no more hills to climb, no more skills to get, no more levels to win. Once we run out of things to earn, and things to complete, inevitably, we lose the person working toward that goal. What more can you offer, if they are not working toward something, then, "why work" becomes the general mentality. We see this all the time in our youth. They become confirmed and with nothing left to do, they leave.

Another way to look at education is like the toy Legos. Legos are a set of building blocks that can be pressed together. You are limited only by your imagination. However, they also come in kits. You can buy a kit that builds a certain toy, whether it's an X-Wing fighter or a tower or whatever, with the kit and instructions you can build it. Looking at education in this way, things look very different. Each class is a block, different shapes, different sizes and with that, you can have some kits (a certain set of classes) Each of these kits have all the classes needed to understand or do something in particular. Some of the parts might be parts needed for something else as well. If you want to teach a class you might need a few different classes, but if you teach on another topic, not all the classes would need to be repeated. Like blocks, each class becomes it's own, you can build upon it and use the classes to build and do what you want. There is no graduation, the rewards come with the bonus of things you can do and learn.

Even confirmation can be seen like this. There are various classes that need to be done (a kit) and once completed as church we can continue with confirmation. Looking at confirmation this way makes it a part of the overall education, and not a graduation, a goal for sure, but not an end.

Look at how your approach Christian Education. Evaluate what you do and how you do it. Are we training up video game super stars ready for the sequel, or are we giving blocks for a lifetime of education?
Yep, all Legos.

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