This article was originally published by The Christian Science Monitor. Read and share it HERE.
As a new teacher of 9- and 10-year-olds in the Texas public school system many years ago, I was profoundly aware of the large gap between my students and those in the mainstream classes. My English as a Second Language class was made up of immigrant students, many of whose parents hadn’t completed their high school education and didn’t speak English themselves. I’d prayed to know how best to help them.
So it was heartwarming when one of my students found me on Facebook recently – several decades after I’d taught her – to share that she had graduated from college with a professional degree. That was a happy day!
There need to be many more such outcomes, particularly in the case of young girls, according to a new UN report. It claims that 10-year-old girls are key to global prosperity, citing their education as a top factor. First Lady Michelle Obama has seen this issue close up in her work with the nonprofit Let Girls Learn. She relates that often it’s not simply a lack of resources that prevents girls from continuing their schooling, but ingrained attitudes and beliefs, including “‘… that girls simply aren’t worthy of an education’” (“Why 10-year-old girls can lift the world,” CSMonitor.com).
This same attitude persisted in the United States over a century ago. For instance, Christian Science Discoverer Mary Baker Eddy lived at a time when a high school education was the exception rather than the rule for women and when only a handful of colleges or universities would accept female students. Nevertheless, through her own efforts, and with her brother’s help, she learned enough to become a teacher in her own right. First she taught school to children. Later she taught adults the Science of the Christ – her spiritual discovery of how to restore health and harmony based on the way Christ Jesus and his early followers had healed.
Later, Eddy wrote in her seminal work, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” that “… it is not so much academic education, as a moral and spiritual culture, which lifts one higher. The pure and uplifting thoughts of the teacher, constantly imparted to pupils, will reach higher than the heavens of astronomy; while the debased and unscrupulous mind, though adorned with gems of scholarly attainment, will degrade the characters it should inform and elevate” (p. 235).
It was this spiritual wisdom I leaned on when I was teaching in Texas. Continue reading HERE