First, through their education students are learning to master themselves so that they are self-ruled before they ever talk of mastering others. The freedom our children are given through their education is a freedom that is first an inner willingness and an acquired habit by which they rule themselves. Some people have the idea that being free means that you don’t have a master. But real freedom is the freedom that comes from mastering yourself in service to another.
Day in and day out, while at school, teachers require students to obey them and to submit themselves to their instruction. That may seem to some students like a slave simply obeying his master. But actually what is going on is that day by day students are being trained how to die to oneself and submit their will to something greater than themselves.
They are learning how to master themselves, because if we can’t control ourselves, sin will control us. Without self-mastery we are just slaves to sin. That’s how the Bible speaks of us: as slaves to sin who will never be free until Jesus Christ sets us free. But once Christ sets us free from the terrible domination of sin, He teaches us and disciplines us to master ourselves and deny ourselves, and then we are liberated to love Him and love our neighbor because we know how to obey. And we are also ready to be leaders of men who exercise authority because we first have learned how to submit ourselves.
The home and the classroom are proving grounds of self-mastery.