Other Thoughts on Instilling Morals as Dads - Part 3
- Sunday, January 20, 2002
Just the other day, I was talking to a very well respected, home-schooling mom. She was questioning whether she was really doing the right thing by keeping her kids at home for school. We had a long and protracted discussion about all of the benefits of a home education, especially in respect to instilling morals. Here are a few of those thoughts for your benefit.
We need to realize that the individualized, personal interaction with each child is the place where true home schooling is confirmed. The difference between other forms of education and the home school is the opportunity to provide one-on-one education with our students. What this ultimately comes down to is time. It does not take rocket science to figure out that our time with our children is the main factor in giving them an advantage over private and public school education.
For most of us, this is obvious, but not easy to maintain. As we previously stated, dads find a real challenge juggling work responsibilities with instruction. Finding ways to be involved in your children's lives may take creativity. Evenings and weekends may demand sacrificing time with the guys to spend it with the kids. As fathers, we cannot cede our role as the leader of our home. Being dad gives us unique opportunities to instruct our children in creative ways. We do not need to feel that we have to teach in a sterile, classroom setting. We can just be Dad. Go play ball with your kids at the Y. Work together in the yard. Split wood together. Go to a concert together, or to a park. Spend time together with your kids.
Overall, it will be in the crucible of daily life that our children will learn to discern truth. Hopefully we will be able to teach them valuable lessons while they are in our homes, so that when they are on their own later, they will not have to suffer through foolish choices. Out there in the real world, they will not have our protection from the consequences of their choices.
Developing Godly character (Yes, you can do what is right.)
As we teach our children to learn discernment, we are moving them toward learning self-government. Until we give our children the ability to control themselves independently of our oversight, we are not done. Our goal is to make our children realize that not only is there a right and wrong, not only do they need to be able to discern between good and evil, but that they have a moral obligation to do what is right. Only when all three of these objectives are met, do we see the development of Godly character. We have two decades to accomplish this with each child (give or take a few years), with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
We have to obviously prepare our children for the future by giving them the information they need to learn in order to be productive members of the society they will be entering. But once again, we must keep in mind the primary purpose of education from a Christian perspective. The Apostle Paul explained it in one of his letters when he reminds Timothy that "the goal of our instruction is love out of a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith."
In practical terms, we are aiming to instill character in our children that will formulate and solidify over the years. In this sense, it is more than a "program." It is a process. It starts with instilling a love for learning, and then teaching by instruction and example, until such a time as our children - each, individually, through his own choices and motives - own it. As a result of our careful, methodical efforts, they are able to move into gainful employment, career success, solid citizenship in our great country, and most importantly live uprightly before and in the fear of their God.
The goal of our instruction
We have taught our children a phrase to help them understand where character comes from. It goes like this: Our choices govern our actions, our actions grow into habits, our habits decide our nature, our nature becomes our character, and our character will determine our destiny. That wraps up what we have said in this chapter quite nicely.
Jesus Christ has the keys to Heaven, and wants to provide them to anyone who believes in Him. He said, "I am the Resurrection and the Life; He who believes in Me, even if he dies, yet shall he live." We make no apology that we want our children to gain this knowledge as their most important choice in life. To miss this would be to miss the whole point. It is the basis of everything else.
Dads can do a lot to exemplify this example in the home. Moms tend to be more sensitive to this as models. Together, parents need to tell their kids, "Be followers of us as we are of Christ." This is the ultimate gift we can give our children.
Our prayer is that the Lord will empower you and provide you with the grace to succeed. The rewards will be worth the costs. Your efforts will impact not only your children, but also their children and grandchildren. May the Lord richly bless your home school, in every way.
David and Laurie Callihan are authors of the book, The Guidance Manual for the Christian Home School: A Parents Guide for Preparing Home School Students for College or Career. Their ministry includes their Web site, www.davidandlaurie.com, a great resource for parents to instruct your children from birth through high school.
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