June 25, 2012

Parents & Children

What is the duty of a parent?  Wow, where to even start with this topic!  Some good recommended reading would be Charlotte Mason's second volume of Home Education, available free online.  Now, I have not read the whole thing yet myself, but having just returned from our state homeschooling conference, I can talk a bit about what I learned there.

One of the conference speaker's was Israel Wayne, author of Homeschooling with a Biblical Worldview, which I purchased, and Full-time Parenting.  He firmly believes that it is our duty as parents to educate our children.  There are multiple verses supporting his belief, and non which support institutionalized learning, even through a church.  I don't take quite as firm a line on this, because the Bible does not anywhere prohibit institutionalized schooling, but I do believe that letting someone else take on the bulk of your child's education is a mistake, because their moral development should be part of every moment of their day, not just before and after the school day.  This is why I began our homeschooling journey a year ago, and you can see my take on it at Why I Home School, as well as our goals.
Over at Simply Charlotte Mason, there is a series about "weed-pulling" which speaks about how it takes constant vigilance to keep our garden (children) weeded (free of bad habits).  This is one of the hardest duties a parent has, in my opinion.  Its constant, tiring, exasperating work and the pay-off is often not seen for at least a month, sometimes years!  To be a consistent parent is the most important part of "discipling" and disciplining your child.  In CM's own words, "It is hardly too much to say that most of the failures in life or character made by man or woman are due to the happy-go-lucky philosophy of the parents." Vol 2, pg 87.  We must get this right!

At the conference, this was underscored and emphasized in various ways by multiple speakers.  It is our duty to raise up Godly warriors, to defend the faith and honor our Lord (Rick Green of Wall Builders, paraphrased).  It is our duty to live by example, which is, in fact, the most difficult thing of all (Malia Russell of Homemaking 911).

How do we become everything that God wants us to be as parents?  It doesn't come naturally to us, and is made more difficult if the children aren't with you much of the time.  You can say, "Well, they will surely learn this in class at some point, so why try to deal with it now?" instead of realizing that its an issue now and if not dealt with, that weed will continue to grow and take deeper roots in your child.

Israel Wayne said something that has stuck with me, about how homeschooling is the perfect pressure cooker, with all the ingredients necessary to burn away our self and mold us into the image of God.  Think about that.  Only under heavy pressure and the right temperature can a rock become a diamond.  Only with the heavy pressure and responsibility of preparing our children for a future of serving God can our own issues (impatience, selfishness, laziness) be brought to the forefront of our minds.  We see our own flaws glaring back at us in our children and are forced to stop and say "Whoa!  Is that really what I look like to them?".  Once this is revealed (and trust me, it doesn't take long if you are homeschooling or trying to habit-train more than one child), you have two choices.  Pretend you are fine and have it under control, and tell your children to do as you say, not as you do.  Or beg God for forgiveness, mercy, and lots of help so you can change and be the person they can follow and trust.  Which will you choose?
So what are a parents duties?
  • to love and care for
  • to provide for physical and emotional needs
  • to disciple and pass on our own beliefs
  • to prepare them to live on their own
  • to educate 
We need to ask ourselves what the purpose of education is for a child, and for ourselves.  Without a goal, and without knowing what your own worldview is, you risk missing the mark completely.

Know what you know and why you know it, and purposefully pass that on to your children.

This post is linked to the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival, hosted this week by Piney Woods.

1 comment:

  1. A lot of great points!! Discipline is definitely the hardest part of parenting, and most homeschooling issues are really parenting/discipline issues.

    In Catholicism we have the concept of purgatory...it's basically a final period of painful sanctification so that our souls will be purified before entering heaven...I often say that parenting is purgatory on earth.

    When I hear couples say that they choose to never have kids, I often think about the opportunity they are missing to become more fully the person that God intended them to be...as well as all of those hugs and kisses and love.


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