24 July 2007

why i homeschool, part two~ are our children called to be salt and light?

As I referenced in my earlier post, why i homeschool, part one~the Biblical basis for homeschooling, I came across an article written by Dr. Brian D. Ray, Ph.D. that sums up quite well why I feel so passionate about homeschooling.

In my first post, I talked about the Biblical basis for homeschooling. One argument many Christians use is the "salt and light" argument. This basically says it is okay for me to put my child in school (any school, not just public) as Christians are called to be salt and light to the world. Is this argument Biblical when it comes to our children? I don't think so, and again, I am going to quote from Dr. Ray's article.

"Where in the Bible is the prescription for parents to pour their young ones as salt and light into a hostile environment? Where is there a Biblical command for them to send their six-year-old (or twelve-year-old, for that matter)-who has not clearly been born again by the power of the Holy Spirit and his gifting has not yet been identified as evangelism-to go out, alone, to take on the unbelieving 40-year-old teacher, the 33-year-old pagan bus driver, the 52-year-old sexuality-education Freudian or feminist school psychologist, the plethora of anti-godly books, music, video, and more that comes with government schooling?"

For those who make that argument, think about how difficult it is for us, even after walking with Christ for years, to not laugh at a dirty joke, to excuse ourselves from a gossipy conversation, to resist the urge to watch the latest video. Do we expect our children to stand stronger than we do? What about not putting a stumbling block before little ones? The Bible teaches it would be better for us to have a millstone tied upon our necks and be cast into the sea than to cause a little one to stumble! How many stumbling blocks are we expecting our children to soar over when we immerse them in an environment that glorifies and calls normal the lusts of the flesh?!

Okay, so what about junior high or high school? Can we expect them to be salt and light then? I believe that yes, occasionally the Lord may call certain individuals to that, but not normally. There is the occasional individual that possesses the calling and strength of character and maturity in their walk with Christ to be able to stand in that environment as salt and light. But how many teenagers, in the middle of adolescent hormonal changes coupled with tremendous peer and media pressure, do you know that can and would do this effectively? I think most still need to be sheltered and discipled by their parents at this age. Consider also that when Jesus did finally send out his disciples to minister, He sent them out in groups of two. Fellowship, accountability, encouragement, prayers of agreement. King Solomon, the wisest man to have ever lived, given wisdom by God Himself, said in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, "Two are better than one...If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!...Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken." That, coupled with 1 Corinthians 15:33, "Do not be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character'," should give all of us pause when we consider this argument. More often than not, our children will be conformed to the pattern of the world more than they will affect it for Christ. It takes a lot of salt to effectively season a pot. Are our children, then, battle-ready giants able to take on our culture alone?

Another point to consider is that Jesus was released into his public ministry at the age of 30. Thirty! The Apostle Paul, an adult, was not released into his ministry immediately after his conversion. And he had seen and heard Jesus audibly! He had a dramatic conversion, yet he was still sheltered and discipled for several years before he was ready to go into the world. Do we expect our children to take on American culture, with all its godlessness and glorified sin, all on their own? For seven hours a day, five days a week, before they have even walked with Christ in the maturity and awareness that comes with age? What are we thinking?

I am challenged by this in so many ways. Convicted, really. How many stumbling blocks do I put in front of my children? I don't want them to be normal. I don't want them to think that having boyfriends/girlfriends and a broken heart is normal. I don't want them to be so aware of pop culture that they have to have the latest music, clothes, etc. in order to feel okay about themselves. I don't want them to think a "rebellious period" is normal. I don't want them thinking bad language in moments of frustration is okay. I don't want them to think it is normal for men to be ignorant, stupid, or wishy-washy. I don't want them to think a woman gets her worth from a career or that children are just a trophy, or even worse, an afterthought. I don't want them to think that hurtful sarcasm is funny. Yet, these are all things they are surrounded by. We don't even let them watch regular tv, yet it still permeates our culture. They learn it from other people. The children in Sunday School, the lady at the grocery, their friends at New Song. God help us. Give us wisdom and insight into how to and why to protect and shield our children in such a way that we are in the world, but not of it.

Our children are going to be taught, trained, and indoctrinated by whomever they are spending the bulk of their time with. That is who is going to be discipling them - teaching them, training them, and indoctrinating them. Indoctrinating not meaning brainwashing, just being taught doctrine, whether it be religious doctrine or just how the world works. I do not want Uncle Sam discipling my children. It's hard enough for me to do it, I most certainly don't trust him to :o)


Wendy said...

Shyla- Thanks for this. It is confirming what I've been working through. I used to have the idealistic viewpoint that my kids would be so grounded spiritually that they could be a 'light' in the public school system. But now with a three year old, I'm realizing how ludicrous those ideals were, since I can't even guard my kids from my bad influences. :)

Dad, Mum, Children said...
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LittleArrows said...

Stumbled across your blog site. Just wanted to say. Thank you for putting this article on your blog. it puts words sentiments that I find hard to explain! I shall be keeping you comments on file in order to pass on to those that try to make this point with me. From Clare Homeschool mother of 4 in the UK

"How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about arithmetic, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness." ~GK Chesterton

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2012 November