Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Swift Kick in the Pants

One of the perennial temptations for parents is to farm out their responsibilities for their children. I did not say delegate; I do not mean letting others help, direct or instruct their children. A parent can do that and still retain their responsibility in the matter.

No. I mean actually abdicating their responsibility. For example, when junior is failing at school, the parents blame the tutor. Or junior. When, in this instance, one key problem could be the total lack of involvement from mom and dad. They are so busy through-out the week--tennis, bible study, over-time, vet, house-hold chores--neither parent bothered to organize their time to sit down and find out how junior was progressing intellectually and spiritually: was junior disciplined with his own time? or did his mind wander? was his attitude about math good, bad or indifferent? Perhaps he has unrepentant sin that is distracting him?

The parents probably thought they were delegating their schooling when it actually became an excuse to put their kids out of the way of their own pleasures. Or the parents were too myopic. Or even lazy.

In such cases, the parents need a swift kick in the pants.

More families are realizing the importance of their duty before God: to train their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. They are getting their collective pants kicked by faithful teaching and preaching of the Word. More churches are realizing that they were demanding too much time and energy from families. Something many Reformed churches have realized for centuries.

But God not only uses church officers to call his families to faithfulness, at times he also uses friends, and Christian teachers and even homeschooling.

Homeschooling has been a swift kick in the pants for many a family. And that is a good thing. Forced to be intimately involved with junior's education--his ABCs & 123s--many quickly learn that education is more than mere intellectualism.

Junior has a lazy attitude. He disdains learning. He cheats on tests. Mom and Dad are beginning to realize that when they let junior keep his room a mess, he keeps his education a mess too. The importance of character comes to the fore. The character of not only junior but the attitudes and expectations of the parents. Disdaining Sunday worship. Watching TV all day. And chronically skipping family worship. Such parental slips add up.

And they influence junior.

Homeschooling for a number of families creates physical closeness that may help facilitate a familial closeness. Mixing homeschooling with strong parental willingness, wisdom and Spirit-wrought effort is a powerful combination. But it is only lasting if the Gospel cements the family together. Knowledge of that Gospel which wrought the Reformation is a must.

God uses many methods to point his children toward their responsibilities. Some subtle and kind and others more direct and blunt. We prefer the former but usually need the latter. And homeschooling can provide that swift kick in the pants.

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