My father-in-law is on my short list of all time favorite people. (And not just because he said I could marry his daughter. 🙂 ) He has been a voice of reason to me for over four decades. A lot of what I believe about life and truth, comes from him.
I’ve recently been wondering what life was like before we pushed God out of the public school classroom so I asked “Dad” if elementary school teachers taught that evolution was a theory or a scientific fact. I also asked him if the Biblical worldview was taught in grammar school.
Keep in mind that he was in grade school in the late 30’s so this is his unique perspective at that time in our history. With his permission, I have published his answer below:
Thanks for your questions. My memories of my public grade school are vivid. Some teachers started the day reading a story from the Bible, or asking one of the better student readers to read. The teachers were definitely believers. I do not recall the creation story being emphasized, but we were told there is a “theory of evolution.” We celebrated Christmas and sang carols and had Christmas programs.
In high-school biology, one teacher taught us that our heredity was carried in our genes (traits, looks, body weaknesses, personality, etc.) We discussed the x and y chromosomes and the difference in males and females. She also told us about fossils from former generations. It was a good foundation for my first college class in zoology. It was in college that the professor poked fun at the creation story. My roommate poked me with his elbow when the professor laughed and said he had heard the world “evolution” was taken out of the dictionaries in Arkansas.
Arkansas has had a legislative history as to what must be taught in public schools. I don’t recall the specifics, but you can probably find it on Wikipedia. I can remember my college chemistry teacher was open about his belief in Christianity. So, the best thing that came along later in life, was theprofessor at Berkley who came out with his statements about the STRONG EVIDENCE for “INTELLIGENT DESIGN.” That was probably 35 years ago. Some of the local well known media supported it and there was a public meeting held at (our) church to discuss it. The discussion was well attended by the surrounding community.
What I have read about cellular biology and the intricate mechanisms it contains, gives GREAT SUPPORT that there is DEFINITELY design in animals and plants.
Thanks Dad for this vivid picture into your classroom as a farm boy in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Hard to believe how things have changed. May parents and grandparents across this great land take every opportunity to remind our kids that they didn’t come from monkeys but rather they are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. So much good can come from a healthy self-image based on truth.
Something to think about.