Fables tell us a story with a deeper meaning.  Here is a home education fable.

Once upon a time there was a great kingdom.  In this kingdom nearly everyone sought the will of God to do what was right.  One of the principles followed by parents was to provide for the education and training of their children.  In fact, they had a saying that when a parent trained up their children in the ways of the Lord, when the child was older, they would not depart from those ways. 

However, over the years, the people grew tired of trusting to God to guide them in the training of their children.  Sometimes they did well and sometimes they failed miserably.  The inconsistency in their performance of raising their children led to times of hardship and heartache in addition to times of peace and prosperity. So, the people started to look for other ways to train their children.  Their clergy warned the people that abandoning their responsibility for raising their children was rejecting God’s wisdom.  If they choose a new system for education, it would soon start taxing them and eventually become a tyrant over them.  But the people insisted.

Soon a system was created that was called the State Approved Understanding and Learning system, or SAUL. SAUL’s mission was to raise the children to know God and to follow Him.  Initially SAUL was very successful. SAUL fought the kingdom’s enemies of ignorance and immorality and won many battles.  But over time, SAUL’s focus turned towards its own power and sustaining its dynasty.

Some of the parents realized that their children were growing up to be slaves to SAUL and not seeking the will of God.  So, they rejected SAUL and sought a new approach to raising their children.  This approach to education relied on God again and was conducted in the home by parents. It came to be called the Domestic Alternative Venue for Instruction and Discipline, or DAVID.  

DAVID was unafraid of the giant of ignorance and defeated it in a spectacular manner at a battle that was known as the battle of standardized testing.   However, DAVID was not only strong, it was compassionate and empathetic.  Many found that DAVID could create a sense of peace and contentment within a family that was akin to the music of a talented harpist.  In fact, for a short time, DAVID’s soothing music was appreciated and rewarded by SAUL. 

But soon SAUL became jealous of DAVID.  The people of the kingdom were praising DAVID.  And SAUL recognized that DAVID was a threat to his dynasty and control of the kingdom.  By this time, SAUL had lost sight of the fact that its mission was to raise the children to know and follow God.  Instead, Saul was consumed by the desire to promote its own power and control.  So, SAUL sought to destroy DAVID.  But the more SAUL attacked DAVID, the more people flocked to DAVID’s banner.

Despite SAUL’s animosity, DAVID never attacked SAUL, but instead continued to focus on seeking God’s will and serving God’s people.  At times DAVID had to hide from SAUL.  Fortunately, DAVID had friends who were close to SAUL and these would send warnings to alert DAVID to danger.  Meanwhile, DAVID regularly sought God’s wisdom and followed it. 

Over the next several years, DAVID fought battles against ignorance and immorality that protected the kingdom, yet SAUL continued to try to destroy DAVID.  At times, DAVID had the ability to directly attack SAUL, but DAVID held back.  A battle between SAUL’s forces and DAVID’s forces was likely to bring harm to the people of the kingdom.  Instead DAVID continued to seek to serve God and the people of the kingdom and avoid interactions with SAUL.  God guided and protected DAVID though many struggles and confrontations with SAUL over the next few years.  Eventually SAUL was destroyed in the battle with ignorance and the people of the kingdom turned to DAVID who restored their trust in God.  And the people of the kingdom then lived happily ever after.

Lessons from our Fable

There are three lessons we want to highlight from this fable. The first lesson is that the state approved understanding and learning system, referred to as SAUL, loses sight of its original mission and becomes consumed by the desire to protect itself and its power.  This is a characteristic of most government-run systems.  The bureaucracy does not measure success in how it serves its constituents but rather in the size and power that it can control.  This is the inevitable end of all bureaucracies that are not held to tight accountability by those who create it.  It may still perform some valuable services, but its primary focus becomes the growth and power of the bureaucracy.  And anything that it perceives to be a challenge will be fought with all the resources available to the bureaucracy.   The bureaucracy will not fight fair and will not negotiate in a reasonable manner.  Its goal is the destruction of the challenger and the protection of its own power and control.

The second lesson is that even though the upstart home education system known as DAVID does not directly confront the state-run system, SAUL, it needs to be wary of SAUL and guard itself from attacks.  DAVID’s results are evident to all.  DAVID does not embrace self-promotion and challenge SAUL directly.  Instead DAVID stays focused on serving the people of the kingdom and being obedient to God’s will.   It does not seek to overthrow and supplant SAUL.  However, DAVID is aware that SAUL is trying to destroy it, so DAVID takes the necessary actions to protect itself.   And DAVID must stay constantly vigilant and wary because SAUL will attack with both open and devious means.

The third lesson is that God is to be trusted in all situations.  At times things looked bleak for the kingdom during SAUL’s reign.  But God raised up a DAVID.  Even when SAUL was determined to destroy DAVID, God provided safety and refuge.  At times that refuge looked strange, yet it served God’s purpose and strengthened DAVID and his followers.  And that is ultimately the lesson we need to take away from this message.  We must do what God calls us to do and trust that he will protect us.  We should be wary, but not fearful of the government education system.

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Mike Scruggs