A call to embrace the blessing of education

6 years ago Triangle Editor 0

school-and-educationFall break is over, and we are all dragging ourselves out of bed at the last possible minute to make those dreadful 8 a.m. classes. We are lamenting to our friends over our four-­shot lattes about how we wish we had just one more skip left to use. We are marking off the days until Thanksgiving break with a mix of enthusiasm and exhaustion only found in college hallways.

Education doesn’t feel like a blessing when we are adding to our sleep deficits and doling out Benjamins for textbooks most of us barely crack (that may explain those less­-than-­stellar midterm grades, by the way). But education is a privilege so few have and so many long for.

In fact, one in six children in low and middle income countries will not even finish elementary school, according to The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Last Monday’s chapel speaker, Jean Clement Chery, was almost one of those children.

Chery painted a picture of a desperate children. He recounted tales from when he was a young boy, living in a remote village in Haiti, and his greatest desire was to go to school. This was a desire, he said, that was unlikely to be fulfilled because his parents could not afford to send him.

“Everyone strongly believed that education was a vehicle to get out of poverty and into a better life,” Chery said of the people in his Haitian village.

For Chery, unlike many of the children in his village, the story did not end in crushed dreams and unrealized potential. At the age of 7, he was sponsored through Compassion International by a group of women from the United States. This is what enabled him to go to primary and secondary school in Haiti. He went on to receive a bachelor’s degree and multiple post-­grad degrees in the United States.

Most of us at Bryan College have never feared we would end up uneducated. We did not wonder whether or not we would get to finish elementary school. For a lot of us, we never even questioned if we could afford to go to college. We had college funds. Or we earned scholarships. Or we took out student loans. Somehow, we knew we would get an education.

As we walk across our manicured campus and retreat to our well­-heated dorm rooms, we cannot fully grasp the unmet desire for an education so many people around the world are faced with. We can let their stories change our hearts, though.

Maybe you can afford to sponsor a child through Compassion International right now, and that’s great. Maybe you can’t, but that’s okay, too. Maybe the best first step is to tune our hearts to gratefulness.

We live in one of the richest countries in the world. We know where our next meal is coming from, even if it is a bad day in the dining hall. We get to wake up every morning and make that trek across campus to classrooms filled with professors who want nothing more than to educate us about both their areas of expertise and about life.

May we all change our prayers from a short­sighted, “Lord, please let this season end soon” to a compassion-­filled, “thank you, Jesus.”