Friday night football, backpacks, new clothes, homework, book reports, mediocre lunches. Does that list sound familiar? If you pretended you were on the game show The Pyramid and answered, “Things associated with school” you would have won the prize. Here I am on the first day of school with five of my ten grandkids.
Reading the “school” list may have sent fearful chills down the backs of some of you and others of you were smiling thinking back to the “good ole days!” Here’s another word associated with school that will probably cause all of you to squirm just a little. TEST. There it is. Probably the most dreaded word in “school vocabulary.” If that’s true then I would guess the worst two words are POP QUIZ. I can still get butterflies if I think about it very long.
To be quite honest, I really had a love-hate relationship with tests during my school years. I hated a test that I didn’t study for, but I loved a test I was totally prepared for. Are you with me? Remember how fun a “fill-in-the-blank” test was when you knew all the answers? I would write as fast as I could so I wouldn’t forget an answer before I had the chance to put it on the paper. Now, educators are smarter than they used to be and most tests are of the multiple choice variety. We had them when I was in school, but they were the “easy” tests because the answer was at least on there somewhere and the choices weren’t too hard.
But somewhere in the eighties, educators learned that memory work is the lowest form of learning (who knew?) and sought a way to measure higher level skills of thinking and processing information. Thus, the new multiple choice tests were born. They now include at least five choices, sometimes six, with two of them sounding alike, one totally opposite of the other five, one having nothing to do with what was taught, but you’re not really sure, maybe you didn’t hear her say you were to read that chapter, and then just for good measure they throw in “none of the above” and “all of the above”. Those are the tests that cause you to walk out the door with a headache yelling, “I have NO idea how I did!” And you truly don’t.
Yes, school is tough. Measuring a learned skill is tough. For most of us, those kinds of tests are now either happily tucked away in our memory banks or, if your had a very organized mom, in a plastic bin waiting for your own kids to discover and taunt you with later. In any case, most of us would rather not relive those days of studying and cramming information into our brains and are quite content to help our children get through the ordeal without ever mentioning our own “test” history.
But on closer examination, a test isn’t always a bad thing. A good teacher uses tests to measure how well he or she was able to get across a new skill and a serious student does the same. Actually, testing can be a most effective tool for evaluating many areas of our lives.
II Corinthians 13:5 says, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless of course, you fail the test?” Just as a serious student of math or history would need to be tested, we, as serious students of God’s word, need to take the time to ask ourselves the hard questions. Not just the memory work, but the multiple choice questions that really make us think. And if we don’t come up with the right answer, we need to study a little harder. Then be ready for a pop quiz or two, every now and then!!
Here’s wishing you all a great week. Live this week and every week knowing God loves you!