Instilling Morals In Our Children - Part 2
- David and Laurie Callihan Authors
- 2003 5 May
In our previous article we discussed a portion of the historical path that American education has taken over the past century and how it has influenced the nature of modern moral education of our children. One of the flaws of the modern public schools is that facts are value-neutral.
Unfortunately, even in Christian schools and home schools, we are not immune to making this same error. As parents, we must be consciously aware of ways to provide the necessary moral training and proactively provide means to teach right and wrong to our children. Easier said than done, you think. We agree.
But that doesn't mean it is impossible. In fact, it is imperative that we do. If you question this, please read our article, Parent-Directed Education on Focus On The Family's web site in which we illustrate God's calling on parents to take ultimate responsibility for education, rather than the state or church.
For the first 70 to 80 years of compulsory education in this country, which only commenced in the 1880s and 1890s, depending in which state one lived, our children were taught that God was relevant in their public schooling. Classes began with prayer and Bible reading.
Then in 1961, atheistic activist Madelyn Murray O'Hare persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court [School District of Abington Township, Pennsylvania v. Schempp, 83 S.Ct. 1560 (1963)] that the philosophical "wall of separation of church and state" meant that prayer and Bible reading in public schools were unconstitutional. Historian David Barton points out in his book, "To Pray or Not To Pray," that this was not necessarily the stating point of God's irrelevance in public schools, but in fact may rather have been the natural resultant conclusion. The late Dr. Francis Schaefer said over two decades ago that we entered the post-Christian era in our country in 1935; it just took another 25 years for it to trickle down to the grass roots level.
As religion was removed from education in the 1960s, many Christian parents came to realize that the most important learning wasn't able to occur in the classroom-the teaching of morality and religion. Subsequently, Christian education in the form of both private institutional and home education has flourished over the next three decades to the present time.
As parents, we command the strongest level of sway in our children's lives. For this reason, it is critical that we live as consistently as possible with our children. We must live a holy, righteous life in front of them. We must be an example of good so that our children can experience a strong influence to develop their own internal moral compasses.
Furthermore, we must recognize that our children need to be converted to Jesus Christ. They do not become Christians without an experience of new birth. Jesus Christ said it best when he stated that "The Kingdom of God suffers violence, and violent men take it by force," (Matthew 11:12) and again, "men are pressing their way into it" (Luke 16:16). We must encourage our children that they too enter the Kingdom as children, no matter what their ages. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6; I Peter 5:5; Proverbs 3:34-If God says the same thing three different places in scripture, we probably ought to take it very seriously, don't you think?) All of this needs to be included in our instruction, if we are to educate our children in a Biblical and Christian manner.
We must also convey a respect and high view of Scripture if we are going to expect our children to take its words seriously. Our respect for religious freedom, liberty of conscience, and other principles of faith will only make sense if we live them ourselves. Our children will see our hypocrisy as quickly as anyone. If we live a lie, they will know. We must be consistent if we are going to expect them to be.
Teaching about humility, repentance, compassion, grace, kindness, peace, gentleness, meekness and tenderheartedness should be integral to our home schooling instruction as much as English, Math and History. And spiritual lessons should be integrated within these subjects. Otherwise, our instruction is just sterilely academic.
During the early years, we can instill principles of Christian virtue that are imperative for incubating essential concepts in their formative minds and hearts. How do we do that? We will elaborate in our next article.
You can learn more about this subject and many other practical answers in our book, The Guidance Manual for the Christian Home School: A Parent's Guide for Preparing Home School Students for College or Career and on our web site, www.davidandlaurie.com.