Welcome to the start of the Fall 2017 School Year.

This post is for teachers AND students. I hope it encourages you to start the semester strong.

You have heard of the Three R’s of Education – Readin’, Ritin’, and Rithmatic.

But there are three other R’s that are a vital part of education. In fact, they hold the key to progress in the first three R’s.

They are Responsibility, Respect, and Reverence.


How many problems in education would be fixed immediately if all parties thought about THEIR particular responsibilities. The state, the school boards, the school administrators, the teachers, the students, and their parents (grandparents or guardians) all have responsibilities that cannot be eliminated. The other parties cannot fill the role of any missing member of this set of responsible parties.


Even when it is hard to give or seems unearned. Respect should be taught, and it should be modeled. Be the first to offer respect, especially when it is difficult to do so. There are many impressionable eyes watching your behavior. I’m speaking to the parent, the teacher, and also the student. Be the first to offer respect.

(Repetition is the mother of pedagogy.) Be the first to offer respect.


This is the least obvious of the 6 R’s. But I think reverence is the master key that is missing in many schools.

I always associated reverence with holy places or churches. But actually, reverence is simply recognizing a place as being special.

School is a special place.

The Christian world view would agree with this concept. Education is a part of what we call Common Grace. It is a gift from God just like our fruitful planet and our rational minds.

What if we taught reverence for the actual school?

It was a different time and a different economic situation, but when I was in school, it made sense for a teacher to challenge me if I put my feet on the desk with the question, “Do you put your feet on the furniture at home?” The implication was “no”. And if I wouldn’t do it at home, then I shouldn’t do it at school. But this question doesn’t make any sense to many of our students.

Some of our students don’t have furniture or even homes.

New questions could be asked,

“Is that how you treat the place that is changing your life for the better?”

“Is that how you speak to a person who is pouring their heart and soul into your education?”

“Is that how you treat your fellow students, who are trying to better themselves just like you are?”

I say we raise the bar – not just to the first three R’s for state testing purposes, but to the 6R level – where students recognize their responsibilities, where they respect the dignity of those behind them, with them, and above them in the educational endeavor, and where they come to revere the facilities and persons who daily sacrifice on their behalf.

We raise the bar for the staff as well – where they seriously approach their responsibilities, where they will be the first to offer respect to each other, the students, and ‘the bosses’, and where they will also revere the facilities. Yes, even those broken down facilities that will not quit in the task of changing lives in Huntsville and beyond.

What a master key reverence can be. When combined with the other 5 R’s, we can do AMAZING THINGS at our schools.


Where do these thoughts come from? Well, when it comes to taking the initiative, we have no better example than God. 

8 But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. [Romans 5:8 CSB]


Therefore, let us be the first to offer all things good.

Darren Williams

Who is DW?

What does he believe?