No colorful posters cover the walls of Winslow Homer’s painting, The Country School. No bright backpacks lean against the benches. Two of the boys are barefoot, and most of the children probably walked to and from school.
There are many ways this school room is different from yours. But in the big ways that matter, these children are no different from you.
Their books may have few pictures, but they’re interested in what they’re reading. They may play crack the whip at recess instead of four square, but as soon as the bell rings, they’ll rush out the door to run and jump and yell.
Sometimes they may have had trouble sleeping and be tired, just like you. They have best friends who share their interests, and little brothers and sisters who try their patience. One of them may have gotten in trouble that morning for not doing his or her chores.
And they’re just like you in another super important way. They’re in school to learn and prepare for their futures.
- What are some things these children may have wanted to do when they grew up?
- What do you dream about becoming when you grow up?
God has given you a unique combination of skills and interests to use for good in His world. He may call you to be a teacher to help people learn or a health care worker to help people heal. Perhaps He’ll use your interest in the ocean to do research about coral reefs, or an interest in insects to restore habitats for bumblebees.
Most important of all, these children also had someone who read the Bible to them, so they knew that, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Psalm 24:1, NIV).
They also learned from the scriptures that, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7, NIV).
Even if you’re not in a situation where the Bible is read, you can read it yourself or go to church and Sunday school, to hear and learn more about the Lord, who “will guide you always” (Isaiah 58:11 NIV).
Whatever gifts and talents God has given you, school is a great place to discover your interests and develop skills for doing good now and in the future for God and His world and all those who live in it.
Even Jesus, God’s very own Son, went to school to learn, just like you. When Jesus was twelve, He and His family went to Jerusalem for the Passover, as they were accustomed to do. While there, Jesus went to the Temple where He sat with the teachers, listening and asking questions (Luke 2:41-52). That was like going to school. And like other Hebrew boys, Jesus would also have learned in a synagogue school in his village of Nazareth.
We know Jesus worked hard and learned all He could about God, His Word, and His world, because Jesus used that knowledge about birds, rocks, and trees, and all kinds of things from God’s creation to later teach people important lessons about God’s love and care for us.
At the end of Luke’s account of Jesus as a child we learn that “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” Luke 2:52, NIV).
Prayer: Thank You, Lord for giving me skills and interests. Help me work with all my heart to learn how to use Your gifts for Your glory in the world.
Some things you can do this week to work with all your heart :
- learn this verse: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men ” (Colossians 3:23 NIV)
- Think of 2 things that will help you become a better listener
- Reorganize your assignment book so you can keep better track of and finish your homework on time
- Help another student or a younger brother or sister in a subject you know and enjoy
Molly also has lessons to learn. She has learned to sit and lie down and even to stay on her mat in the kitchen when we make dinner (unless there’s cheese involved). She also loves recess when she can chase her ball.
I pray that whether you are in school in person, or online, or homeschooling, you get off to a wonderful new school year where you’ll learn about lots of exciting things and enjoy friendships and good snacks. (Molly made me put in the bit about snacks!!)
If you’d like to enjoy making an art project related to The Country School, be sure to join Molly and me for next week’s art project! You can subscribe above and never miss the fun!
And Before You Go, here are some other ways you can enjoy great art from a Christian perspective, as well as get related devotions and art activities.
- If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. Just click the sign-up button above on the right. You’ll receive a free guide to making art museum visits a fun masterpiece for your whole family. Even if your family isn’t into museums, the quarterly issues have lots of fun stuff for kiddos!
- Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages, and coloring pages. There’s also an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.
What an amazing lesson to share with our children, grandchildren, etc. Ms. Kathy. Art history, history, and theology lessons all rolled into one! Thank you ma’am. I can’t wait to see where these conversations lead.
Thank you, J.D. These are all topics I love to learn and teach about! May those conversations lead to blessed times of sharing and insights!
Kathy, you share beautiful truths in this devotional. This picture reveals so much about children, their backgrounds, and the chance to learn. Well written, friend.
Oh, thank you, Jeanne! I love this painting. My mother, who was a teacher also kept a copy of this in our home. I so pray that our children will have a more normal school year and get to enjoy school and friends again!
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Kathy, you have shared so many wonderful lessons from Winslow’s painting, both for children and those of us who are older. I loved the nature pictures and your reminders that Jesus attended school and worked hard to learn. I’m looking forward to the next segment of your series.
Thank you, Katherine! I’m so glad you enjoyed these lessons and the pictures! It is so amazing that Jesus attended school! Can you imagine what an engaged student He was!
Kathy, I think it’s so important for children, young adults, to be reminded of the ways in which Jesus grew. The four ways is our framework for today and God will bless our efforts to mold and direct our children in that fashion.
I so agree, Becky, it’s super important! And I know you are doing such a great job of that with your grandchildren and with your writing.
Kathy, the way you bring Molly into the conversation always makes me smile. You have a fun style of offering inspiration, and if I were a kid I’d want to meet you and Molly in person!
Thank you, Dawn! Your words are such an encouragement! Including Molly has helped me, I think, to remember to make my words as kid-friendly as possible!