I do not have a weekly agenda, per se. I don't try to plan ahead what we'll discuss or what probing questions I'll ask my boys. Things just happen. Sometimes I'm prepared for them and sometimes I'm not.

Like me with my disdain for cleaning up after the cows, my boys are not particularly fond of the chores I exact from them. That's okay. For now, they will help me because I asked. They may view me as an inconvenience to their sports time or an obstacle to their "social development," but I know that a little work never hurt anyone. They are gleaning knowledge of how to honor their father that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. As they grow, so will their motivation, and I'm looking forward to some rewarding payoffs. You see, as our relationship deepens, they, too, will change. The "fear factor" will be substituted with reason (it's already started in two of them) and one day, reason will give way to mature love.

It's not book-learnin' as they say here in Appalachia. Rather, it's learning the slow, rubber-meets-the-road, practical lessons in life. It's the day to day application of elementary biblical concepts that Jesus Christ used in dealing with men; the very same principles His Father used. The natural man may initially respond to his Creator out of fear. Then, as he grows in knowledge, his heart attitude adapts with the change in relationship until a fully matured love has emerged. One day his heart dictates a new motive to his will and the result is joyful satisfaction and fulfillment. Well worth the pain. Well worth the time. Well worth the investment.

My dad, Anthony Martin Palla, passed away in January, 1997. How I miss him. He was a handsome, masculine, "man's man." I love what he did for me during those long hours of cleaning up after and caring for the animals. I love the perseverance he demonstrated to me. I love how the Lord used that simple barn as a schoolhouse to instruct me in honoring my father. For not only did I learn to love and honor him, but I have developed a rich love and honor for my heavenly Father as well. My name, Timothy, actually means honoring God I love talking with Him, listening to Him and one day I anticipate looking into His beautiful countenance. Through my earthly father, I have learned to love and honor God as well as His Son, Jesus Christ; who, incidentally, was born in a barn.

Timothy Palla is the pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in the Lucasville/Minford area of southern Ohio. He and his lovely wife, Jennifer, have five children: Drew, Dane, Aidan, Ethan, and Meghan. They have been involved in home schooling for eleven years. You can contact him at: tpalla@rocketmail.com

This article was originally published in the May/Jun '04 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine. For more information, visit http://HomeSchoolEnrichment.com.