American Heirlooms - December 2018




My children attend our small, local school run by our local Mennonite church. It’s the same school I went to, and often I see my former classmates dropping off and picking up their children. Parents and the church community here both take an active role in the type of education students receive. This helps keep the learning centered on our goals, which are designed to ensure spiritual safety. Our children’s education is Bible-based rather than secular. That’s not to say our children don’t excel at, or understand, a basic academic education. In fact, we encourage academic excellence, to the best of a child’s ability. As a craftsman, where would I be without the math and problem-solving skills I learned at this school? But more importantly, where would I be without God and His Word? So hold that thought…

As a background to this, in the mid-20th century many Amish and Mennonites were dealing with government regulations that took the responsibility of children's education away from their parents. It was a rocky time. Since the government was stepping in, our people were concerned that they were being pushed out of their children’s upbringing. Some Amish parents were even jailed for sending their children to their own schools instead of being bused to public education. The situation moved all the way to the Supreme Court, where our position was recognized to continue educating our children the way we deemed best.

live life, to find fulfillment, and to obey God. I’m happy these traditions were secured for future generations. These aren’t customs we keep for custom’s sake; these are lifestyle choices based on God’s Word. There’s a saying I once included on my email signature: “Only the best endures.” It’s a call to see and recognize this well-known truth: that what we allow ourselves to think, say, and do all affect our future. It’s a call to lead the fullest, purest lives we can. And it’s a call to understand that we have to prepare ourselves in order to achieve our divine hopes.

And so at our school, we’re teaching our children about the most important ways to

–Ethan Zimmerman

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