Today, April 9, 2011, marks the 16th anniversary of the homegoing of my dear husband, Allen Smith. Though these many years have passed, his memory remains and I wanted to take a moment to recognize his faithful contribution to our family and to the ministry of the Pilgrim Institute. He served this ministry faithfully and at great sacrifice. Though his quiet demeanor often left many, who did not know him well, ignorant of the heart with which he served.
Recently, I came across a journal which he had kept during a visit to Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1983, as we prepared ourselves to lead an historic/literary tour later that year. Not disposed to writing, I enjoyed the depth of appreciation which his words represented and I am sharing a portion here, unedited:
Plymouth Rock — “Not impressively large, physically, it is nonetheless a monumental marker of great significance in the chain ever moving westward. ‘Not much of a rock,’ was a fellow visitor’s comment. This was promptly followed with ‘one of them must have stepped hard on it to make that crack in it.’ Thus within the first few moments of reaching that historic site, I was aware that many Americans are disappointed in the physical size of the monument and simultaneously either unaware of or untouched by the historic import of the place. From there we crossed the street and ascended the stone step up the side of the hill to the first burying ground of our forefathers. When mentally reviewing the records from that historic first winter and then seeing the granite sarcophagus in which the collected bones of those first pilgrim victims repose, I am made humbly grateful that their faith could envision and bring to be a small ‘stepping stone as it were’ on the pathway to a settlement, a colony and finally a nation filled with the greatest liberties ever yet held by mankind. On that granite monument are the names of those who, having reached an unknown continent, yet were not long permitted to enjoy the bounty that dominion over that portion of earth would surely have been theirs in the years that were in time to follow. They had given their property, efforts and ultimately their lives to obtain a place for a new nation to be formed.”
Yes, it took great sacrifice to produce this nation and, in retrospect, I realize that it takes great sacrifice to establish a ministry, but I am grateful for God’s goodness in giving me this godly husband for some 36 years and the vision which we shared for restoration of this great nation, America. My prayer is that God will continue to bless and that God’s Hand of Providence will be remembered in our nation and in each individual life who may read these musings. — Ruth Smith
“Giving thanks always for all things . . .” Ephesians 5:20
The Pilgrim Institute ministry, since its beginning, has benefited from the contribution of time by many volunteers across the nation. Without their ideas, expertise, and labor, we could not have offered many ministry opportunities.
This blog is an example, as the encouragement for such a tool came from a home school mother and entrepeneur from Kentucky, Gina Glenn. Thank you, Gina, for your encouragement, but also for the many hours you gave to “making it happen”. In addition to home schooling and assisting her husband with their book business, Gina gives countless hours to assisting other Moms as they endeavor to implement the Principle Approach to American Christian Education in their homeschools. Check out Gina’s blog, where she shares her thoughts and insights.
I would be remiss if I didn’t also acknowledge all of the assistance which my grandson, Jonathan Whittaker, has given to set up the blog and be sure that it is running properly. His many hours of self-study in the field of computer technology have proven a blessing for the Pilgrim Institute.
Launching Pilgrim Institute Online has been a vision of the Pilgrim Institute ministry for many years. After many years of discussion and prayer for direction to this end, we are grateful the Lord opened the door for this idea to come to fruition. We are especially grateful for the time and skill of Tim Stafford and the staff at Liberty Building Forensics Group in Zellwood, Florida, in designing the first online course. Your patience and labor are greatly appreciated. And we recognize George DuBose’s vision, which made this project possible. Thank you to all.
Participants from California to Florida, and states in between, are already benefiting from the Online Course. We look forward to many others joining us as they seek to reclaim America’s Christian history and to restore the Biblical foundations of our nation. Our prayer and desire is that this will only be the beginning of Online training available through the Pilgrim Institute.
Our prayer is that the Pilgrim Institute ministry will be faithful to its purpose and vision and that the Lord will continue to guide us to individuals who share that vision.
One of the keys to implementing the Principle Approach to American Christian Education is to teach not just facts or information, but to present principles and ideas. These will remain with the student long after the facts have been forgotten.
As a teacher prepares lesson plans for each day, it is important to identify the main or Leading Idea for the individual lesson. This Idea will govern the content of the classtime and any student work. Webster defined an Idea as a concept, thought, opinion, image in the mind, proposition, or principle. The Idea is what will remain with the student and will be supported by the facts and material selected for the classtime.
The confirmation of the Idea being taught will occur as the student reflects and reasons concerning the Idea taught through questions and tests. It is easy for the teacher to fall into simply teaching facts and information. To avoid this pitfall, identify the Leading Idea for each lesson and make it a part of your planning for the individual class.
If you are unfamiliar with this approach, please consider an example from The Mighty Works of God history series. The example taken from the Teacher’s Guide to the Self Government volume, introduces children, as early as the primary grades to the ideas of thinking governmentally. What a tremendous opportunity to teach our children and students to learn to govern their own actions.
If you have been teaching The Mighty Works of God series, we invite your comments on the effect of teaching Leading Ideas.
One of the events, which I enjoy sharing as I teach America’s Christian history, is the Boston Tea Party, including the reasons and the events of that night. Why did those individuals resist by dumping the tea? One historian, Richard Frothingham, wrote this:
“The resistance contemplated was in general such action as might be necessary to thwart by lawful methods this ministerial measure. The idea had been grasped in America that there was a Constitution which limited the power of kings, lord, and commons. . . But political science had not devised the peaceable mode of obtaining redress in such cases in the manner suggested by Otis, – an idea embodied subsequently in the powers vested in the Supreme Court of the United States, and familiar to the American mind. This tribunal declares such legislation void. The only way then to defeat an odious scheme to collect an illegal tax was to follow the methods, as circumstances might dictate, of popular demonstration, which had long been customary in England, and thus render the law inapplicable. . . .” [emphasis added]
In 1773, the only means of redress was popular demonstration. In many countries around the world, this remains the only opportunity for seeking redress for unjust laws and tyranny. But America has a form of government which provides the legal means of redress, which does not require “popular demonstrations” to seek that redress. Do we fall into these activities because we are ignorant of our constitutional principles, impatient with those who we chose to represent us, or ignorant of the meaning of representative government?