Wednesday, May 9, 2012

It All Begins in the Home

Baby Bennett with his proud father
     One of the reasons that my husband and I decided to teach our children at home was not because we felt we had superior abilities in all subjects, but rather, we wanted to train up our children in a Christian worldview so that they would see God in every subject they studied.  My husband being a doctor had science and math skills, and I had a degree in communication and loved English and history.  Together we spent time teaching our children to see the God of order in math, the God of creation in science, the God of communication in English and the Lord who is sovereign in history.  We read together, laughed together and worshipped together and central to all that we did was the Bible.  It was crucial for us to pass on the faith we had found in Jesus Christ, and this is biblical as well.
     In reading the Bible this morning I came upon this passage of scripture in Judges 2:6-7, 10:  "When Joshua dismissed the people, the people of Israel went each to his inheritance to take possession of the land.  And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the Lord had done for Israel.....And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers.  And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that He had done for Israel."   God had brought His people into the promised land, and they saw the mighty miracles of the Lord as He drove out their enemies.  However, when that generation passed away, the next generation did not know what the Lord had done, and as a result, they turned away from God and worshipped idols.  So who was to blame for this serious sin?  Why did they not know what God had done for them?
     If we look back to God's admonition to His people in Deuteronomy 4:9 we read:  "Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life.  Make them known to your children and your children's children..."  In another passage in Deuteronomy 6:6-9, we read:  "And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the door posts of your house and on your gates."  In these passages, the Lord makes it clear that the responsibility for teaching what He has done and what He has commanded rested not only with the priests and leaders but foremost with the parents and even the grandparents.  Unfortunately, the generation that entered the promised land with Joshua had failed to do this.  As a result, the next generation did not know the Lord and His mighty deeds so they did not remain faithful to Him.
     Whether we home educate our children, send them to private school or public school, as parents we have the responsibility to train up our children to know the Lord and His plan of salvation.  We also have the privilege of teaching them Bible doctrines in our home through catechism and Bible study.  We cannot rely solely on the church to do all the teaching.  It also must come from the home.  The earlier we start this instruction the better our children and grandchildren will know the truths from God's Word.
     Most teachers I meet in my work place tell me how they wish that parents would be more proactive in the education process.  They need to support, encourage, and assist their children to become lifetime learners.  If there is no involvement of parents in this process, the child will be less likely to succeed.  The same is true when it comes to spiritual education.  It begins in the home.
Briggs and Branson at play
     As many of your know, we have a growing number of grandchildren and on three different occasions, I had the opportunity to observe how they were being taught about the Lord in their homes.  Our grandson Gavin (3) has learned to pray before each meal and delights in leading us at the table.  Briggs, 2 and 1/2, said a goodnight prayer when my husband and I were babysitting and he thanked God for the gift of His Son who died on the cross for our sins.  Both Branson( his brother who is 4) and Briggs loved reading a Bible story before bed.  What a treasure!  Then, this past week, we rejoiced at the birth of another grandson Bennett, and his older  brother Aiden (3 1/2) held him and sang "Amazing Grace" all the way through as he rocked his brother.  Children learn by observation, by instruction and by example.  I am blessed at how our grandchildren are being instructed in the things of the Lord.  As a grandparent, I want to be a positive example as well teaching them how the Lord keeps His promises and cares for us daily.
     In addition to teaching the truths of God's Word, as parents we are called upon to discipline, in love, our children.  This is so important so that they can grow to be not only good citizens but self controlled warriors for the cross of Christ.  An undisciplined child is a heartache to his parents, and has difficulty learning as well.  Again, this begins in the home with firmness and persistence stopping the disobedience immediately not waiting till we have warned the child five times.  It is a hard job but one that bears fruit as the child grows.
     If we want to see real change in our country, it begins in the home...all of our homes whether we are a parent or a grandparent.  Presently, we have many in our country who have grown up like the generation of Israelites who had never heard of the Lord and what He had done for them.  Is it any wonder we have such a secular society?  How could it be anything else?  However, we have the ability to work in the sphere of our families to ensure that our children and grandchildren know the truth of God's Word and His work on our behalf through His Son Jesus Christ.  God has commanded us to pass the faith on.  May we diligently apply ourselves to this task.  Selah!

I welcome your thoughts and insights my friends.
   

4 comments:

harmamae said...

Yes, I agree parent's responsibility in educating children is very important. It is one of the reasons my parents thought it was so important to send me to a Christian school. Even then, you can't just leave everything up to the school. Teaching about God is one of the most important things, after all.

Barbara Thayer said...

How true Harmamae. I went to a Christian college as well but there was plenty that was not solid at the college. It is so important to have a firm foundation so we can keep on keeping on in the faith. I am grateful to parents who laid the foundation in my life! I pray I did a good job with our children!!! Thanks for stopping by my friend!

Christina said...

A wonderful and biblical post.

"Presently, we have many in our country who have grown up like the generation of Israelites who had never heard of the Lord and what He had done for them."

This is a sad but true statement. May this generation be driven by the emptiness and futility of the world to settle only for the truth of God in the face of Christ.

Thank you for these reflections Barbara.

Barbara Thayer said...

Dear Christina...you are welcome. I read and re-read that scripture for such a long time and thought about it. God's Word is so profitable for us from Old to New Testament because man has not changed. Our hearts are dark until the light of Christ shines brightly in them. I do pray for the next generation that Christ will shine forth to illumine the world we live in. It all begins in our homes! Thanks for stopping by and sharing.