I’m a Christian parent, as well as a homeschooler. Some posts will reflect how faith influences what we do in educating our children. This is one of them. 🙂 These ideas are applicable to any Christian parent, though…regardless of the schooling methodology they have chosen for their children.
I attended a Christian University for my Bachelor’s degree. In the bookstore, you could open any volume, whether written by a “tried and true” theologian like Spurgeon, or a new contemporary author, and you’d find the same thing on the inside cover. A disclaimer. A brief blurb with words like:
“The fact that a product is being sold by [this store] does not constitute an endorsement…of the contents or of any entity associated with the product…”
Because people are human. People make mistakes and can be mistaken. People are sometimes wrong about one thing, but not about another. People are fallible.
“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” John 17:17
Truth. Pay attention to your children, that they are using biblical truth as their standard, and not social norms, the standards of another family or friend, or the world’s idea of morality. God’s Word is an unchangeable standard. In a changeable world where it seems every ounce of truth is “up for grabs” and material for debate, it is so important for us to provide this solid, predictable, consistent foundation for our kids.
God always means what He says. He always keeps His promises. He never changes, and is not fickle. His promises hold weight, simply because He made them. They are backed by His attributes–He is holy, infinite, all-powerful, everywhere-present, unchangeable, eternal, all-wise, all-knowing, self-existent, self-sufficient, good, gracious, merciful, just, and so much more. Always.
Sanctifying. We are so prone to look around us, and compare ourselves with people (and we can always find someone we feel is “worse off” than we are, and so easily justify ourselves according to their standard). Teach by word and example that it is what God says, and choosing to live by His words, which sanctifies us.
The word sanctify means “to set apart” for special use or purpose, that is, to make holy or sacred. And that job is God’s, for He is Jehovah Mekoddishkem, “the Lord who sanctifies” (Ex. 31:13).
We must continually caution ourselves as moms, who discipline and try to shape the character of our children every day. Our efforts do not sanctify. We must never communicate to our kids that good behavior is synonymous with sanctification. It may be associated. It may not be. Very wicked people can behave well. Teach them the truth of James, that our faith is proven by our works…works are the healthy and natural outgrowth of faith, not the basis of it.
Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Obedience which springs from love, (not fear, self righteousness, or mere duty) is the ultimate goal. We help our kids attain this by deepening their walk with God.
Comparison. Remember the story of the publican and the Pharisee? By what standard was the publican measuring his life?
“The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.”
How about the other man (and remember, publicans (or tax collectors) were viewed among the worst in their society for being untruthful scoundrels!), who found himself “justified” and “exalted” at the end of that story?
“And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.”
“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” 2 Corinthians 10:2
We moms can play the comparison game too well. Comparing one child’s behavior to another sibling’s, comparing our kids with another family’s, comparing our parenting to that of another mom…the list goes on.
Guard your heart. Compare *vertically* (what God has to say) rather than horizontally (what fallible, frail, fallen human beings have to say).
You’ll find it is a very freeing thing.