An Individual’s Journey with the Principle Approach – Part II

An Individual’s Journey with the Principle Approach
Second in a Series
Ruth J. Smith

Good intentions certainly failed as I began this series many months ago. My apologies to the readers who have been awaiting the second part of my journey. Check here for the first in the series.

My brother was pastor of a church in Iowa where they had decided to start a Christian school. When he became aware of the Principle Approach, the Lord led him to implement this methodology in the school. In 1973, the Lord led us to move to Iowa, where I could assist in the beginning of the school and help to implement the philosophy and methodology of the Principle Approach to American Christian education.

The challenges were great! Remember, James Rose hadn’t published A Guide to American Christian Education — He and his faculty were still working through the steps of how to implement this Biblical philosophy and methodology in the Pilot School in California. There was no series like The Mighty Works of God.

The summer of 1974, Miss Hall and Miss Slater of the Foundation for American Christian Education were presenting a week-long training course in Denver. I knew I had to attend the class! The family sacrificed to make this trip possible. I didn’t want to miss a single word — front row, tape recorder in hand, and notes taken as fast as I could write. The ideas were amazing . . . It was inspiring but, oh so challenging! How could we teach these ideas to the students?

Those audio tapes became a college course for me and I eagerly soaked in each idea. I listened to those sessions over and over again. How delightful to hear Miss Hall’s recounting of God’s Hand in historic events from the Spanish Armada to events of the Revolutionary War. Miss Slater’s inspirational teaching presented so many ideas that it seemed there was no way you could begin to teach these ideas. But I knew this was truth and somehow I must impart this to the students in my classroom.

The telephone calls to California to Verna Hall and Rosalie Slater began in earnest. These ladies were so patient. Some memories stand out — Discussions with Miss Hall about historic events or trying to think through decisions. When I would begin to ask my many questions, which I liked to do, she would say, you have to “think governmentally”. However, in Miss Hall’s inimitable manner, she didn’t explain what that meant. I would hang up the phone and think, what does she mean when she says I need to “think governmentally”.

Have you learned what it means to “think governmentally”? Join us for Part III of this journey to find that answer. And we promise it won’t be such a long wait. 

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