How are you doing on your NCAA Basketball Tournament bracket? It seems almost everyone has filled in a bracket and monitors the outcomes to test their prognostication skills. Some outcomes are predictable while some offer supporting evidence for the premise that we do indeed live in a random universe! In case you’re wondering about the odds:
- Odds of someone randomly predicting a perfect bracket: 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808
- Odds of someone predicting a perfect bracket if he or she knew basketball: 1-in-128 Billion
- Odds of anyone in the U.S. predicting a perfect bracket if everyone knew basketball and everyone filled out a bracket: 1 in 400
Predicting outcomes for the NCAA Tournament is a low-risk, entertaining activity. When we think of the education of our children, it is a much more serious endeavor. Making choices on our bracket can be based on our knowledge of the teams or on any number of random formulas- favorite colors; which mascot would win over the other in a fight; alphabetical order; coin flips, or whatever.
Choices in the training of our children are always driven by our values. Lately I’ve been impressed with three priorities that should be considered when making educational choices.
- Formation over Information: It has been said that we live in the Information Age. The advances in the internet and technology provide what appears to be an infinite supply of information. But a true education goes far beyond the accumulation of information. It involves the formation of the affections of the heart and the disciplines of the mind. The spiritual formation of the soul will have an eternal impact on the student that extends far beyond the power of the information he/she has mastered. Certainly it is a both/and proposition, but today the emphasis on information tends to dwarf the importance of spiritual formation.
- Wisdom over Knowledge: In years past, the teacher was seen as the source of knowledge. The “sage on the stage” was to impart this knowledge to the students who were portrayed as empty receptacles. Today teachers are urged to be the “guide on the side” facilitating the engagement of their students in directing their learning rather than just dumping information. Knowledge can be transferred on the computer. Wisdom is obtained in life-on-life interaction. The guide is someone who has been there before and knows the way. The scriptures teach that wisdom is embodied in Christ and that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Hence, wisdom is best dispensed by those who know the Lord and can model the skill of living before their students.
- Character over Comfort: We all acknowledge that experiences of adversity are an essential part of the character formation. However, as parents, we all are tempted to try to keep our children from adversity, to smooth out the rough places, to intervene, and to keep them happy and comfortable. Granted, when they are happy and comfortable, it makes our lives more happy and comfortable, but that is a short range view to be sure.
Follow whatever rational or random formula you prefer on your bracket. When it comes to making decisions in parenting, perhaps these three values will be of benefit as you seek winning outcomes for your children.
Dr. Mike Sligh, Headmaster, has served at LCS for more than 40 years. To contact Dr. Sligh, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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