Gwyn Schneck, MEd, has a unique set of skills allowing her to guide students into promising opportunities and outcomes Read More
Scripture: Genesis 4:6-8
One honor student found the key to a science vocabulary quiz online. He found it on the text book’s corresponding website. He texted twenty of his best friends. Twenty honor students then went online and memorized the answers. They all scored 100% on the vocabulary quiz their teacher handed out. How many honor students cheated and tried to go an easier route?
This sounds like a hypothetical mathematical word problem! However, it was an actual life changing event for twenty one honor students that I worked with. The school’s position was that 21 students cheated academically—did not do their best effort, honest work; however, most of the students and their parents disagreed. They stated that if the teacher used something that was answered online, then the students were not at fault for locating the information and using it. In fact, they should be commending in thinking creatively and problem solving. The school did not back down, and these student’s discipline records were forever altered. This “scandal” received national attention and made the national news. Was it fair to punish the students for being creative and outsmarting the teacher and the system? The debate on talk shows was very heated. These were students who had never been in trouble in their lives! Now they had a permanent blemish on the discipline record that colleges would see.
Apparently this was one of the first lessons God tried to teach Cain. Able brought God his very best livestock for an offering. He sacrificed not only the animal, but his best, most expensive animal, and he did so with a willing, righteous heart. On the other hand, Cain tried to cheat God with the lesser value produce for his offering. Not only was it lesser quality, but he gave it with a less than obedient, loving attitude. When God did not find favor in it, Cain was angry. God reminded him that his offering would be accepted if he brought his very best with a willing heart. However, Cain remained angry. The rest is history. His life went on to be cursed by God. Cain became an unproductive, restless wanderer of the earth. He left Eden and lived the rest of his life in a sinful world. His sons were not blessed by God, and his lineage died.
We need to teach our teens to give God their best honest effort, their best shot, their best everything. Better an honest best effort than a perfect product with someone else’s effort. When a consequence of not giving their best hits them, the adults around them must let them suffer and feel that consequence. Follow up with encouragement to do what’s right and change their attitude and motivation. There is no better time than when they are teenagers to learn this most important lesson. By learning to offer their honest best with a willing heart they can avoid the later consequences that Cain chose to suffer.