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That was then, this is now.


The song was written in 1907. But, when I went to Overbrook Eastover Elementary School as a first grader in 1955 we learned it. Evidently, what was educationally normative in 1907 was still the rule of thumb forty-eight years later. Only my geezer cohort will have any idea of the lyrics. I remembered the tune but had to Google the words. Several hadn't fallen from my memory bucket, but most had. For you newbies, here it is. You'll have to You Tube the musical score---

School days, school days Dear old Golden Rule days 'Reading and 'riting and 'rithmetic Taught to the tune of the hick'ry stick You were my queen in calico I was your bashful, barefoot beau And you wrote on my slate, "I Love You, Joe" When we were a couple o' kids.

Well, today it would be the stuff of class action law suits.

1. The Golden Rule is Christian doctrine. Singing this in school today would be forceful Christian indoctrination and a violation of freedom of religion.

2. "reading and 'riting, and 'rithmitic" are secondary elements of educational philosophy today. Shoot, most high school graduates read at a systemically accepted seventh grade level.

3. Don't even whisper the tune of a hick'ry stick in a modern school setting. Today it's the teachers who are beaten, corrected, and disciplined. Good grief!

4. Uh oh, there's the queen word. With our mess in gender identity the ideas of queens and beaus are new identity markers that have confused everything and everyone.

5. Better do that writing " I love you, Joe" on an iPad or other electronic device.

Not really all that cute or clever, the brain matter of a well-worn geezer. That was certainly then. But, it is the stuff of some good contemplation as school systems around America crank up the new school year this week. Shoot, the other day I was talking to our 11 year old grandson John Lewis about his first week in the sixth grade, middle school in his district. I told him Mimi and I would purchase a new book bag for him. He said thanks, but reminded us he wouldn't have books this year. All of his course material would be on his iPad. Shut my mouth wide open, he's going to need a small brief case in the sixth grade. When I told him we'd come to the dining room with him he said thanks again, and then told us he would be taking his meals in the school food court. Mocha latte and bagels please, Reese's pieces on the side. This is now.

But, all kidding aside, there's a place in this new educational world for time worn people like you and me. You and I can pray. And, there are several layers of this school days prayer life---

1. Pray for school boards, educational administrators, and school staffs.

I am reminded of the Apostle Paul's instruction to Timothy. He wrote, "First of

all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be

made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may

lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way" (1 Timothy

2:1-2, ESV). In my world these school leaders are in the realm of "high

positions" that can influence life, especially the lives of our younger citizens.

2. Pray for the teachers who instruct and train our children.

There are many Bible verses about Christian influence and living. They could

formulate our prayer plan for teachers. Take a few moments to review the

following texts and choose a few to be your prayer guide for the teachers in

your local schools---Numbers 6:24-26; Proverbs 31:25-26; Colossians 3:23;

Deuteronomy 32:2; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Colossians 3:17; Proverbs 16:3;

Galatians 6:9; Matthew 6:4; Titus 2: 7-8; 1 Thessalonians 5:24; and many

others.

Many of our teachers are bold Christians who must enter this secular world

every day. Eyes observe every movement, ears absorb each word, and they are

constantly under Christian conviction to be doers of the word and not hearers

only. Pray the Whole Armor of God over them daily (see Ephesians 6:10-20).

Pray for their wisdom, courage, and boldness as they witness in this alien

environment. Take every chance to tell them you are praying for them.

3. Pray for the children.

This is the strange new world of education and it can be threatening. Pray for

their safety, their learning, and that they would be recipients of his grace which

is sufficient for every circumstance.

Paul wrote many encouraging words about our prayers. One is special to me just now---

You must also help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the

blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

2 Corinthians 1:11, ESV

Does it matter, these prayers. Yes, they do. They mattered then, and they matter now.

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