3 Simple Steps to Teaching Worldview
- Lea Ann Garfias Homeschool Educating Family Magazine
- 2014 7 Jul
For many years, my husband balanced a double life. Though by day he shook hands and handed out suckers at the local bank, by night he changed into a secret identity. And one evening, my daughter found out.
Each night, he left after everyone slept and returned just before dawn. Silently, he crept back under the covers where he would snore until the alarm clock woke him up three hours later for his unassuming day job. And few people were the wiser.
Until one night, our toddler daughter crept downstairs to use the restroom. Lo and behold, if she didn’t catch her father returning, in the middle of the night, through the front door.
His secret was out. She knew in that moment that she had witnessed the superhero’s return, exhausted from a night of fighting crime. It must be true: her father was Superman.
Our children often use what seems to them perfectly logical reasoning to jump to completely wrong conclusions. My preschool son believes that simply wearing underpants and no shirt will make him a slave, because his Sunday School illustrations show biblical slaves in similar garb.
We asked you on Facebook to share similar stories, and they are just as funny. Gayle’s nine-year-old daughter believes the gallbladder must hold urine, because word bladder is in the name. Becky’s son insists it is dangerous to drink diet cola, because the word die is at the beginning. Amanda and Jessica both have children who don’t recognize black or white people, because no one is really all black or all white.
As homeschool mothers, one of our most important jobs—maybe the most important?—is simply to teach our children how to think. A sobering thought, since I don’t always have my own head on straight.
With the rise of worldview everything—worldview seminars, worldview experts, worldview books, worldview courses—there is a permeating feeling that we don’t know how to think, let alone how to teach our children what to think.
And though I am the first to admit that worldview is important—I’m attending those worldview classes, reading the books, and now writing articles myself!--I wonder if it must really be that confusing.
Worldview is simply how to think: one’s own perspective on the world, on philosophy, on religion, on truth itself. While it is true that these issues can be pretty deep (how often do we work the word epistemology into a conversation?), the fact remains that we mommies can teach worldview to our young children.
We mommies are teaching worldview to our children.
What do we do most often every day (other than pick up something we just stepped on)? We answer questions. A million and a half are hurled our way (not counting why?) daily. And each of them offers another teaching opportunity.
“Why are there no dinosaurs at the zoo?”
“Are boys only different from girls because their hair is shorter?”
“Where do barbarians live today?”
“Why does Shakespeare talk funny?”
“What’s for dinner?”
How we answer these questions and more lead our children in truth of some kind. We mommies are giving our children a framework, a perspective, a set of presuppositions that will guide their future reasoning, assumptions, and beliefs.
“What is Adam’s birthday?”
“How high is heaven?”
“What time is Daddy coming home?”
The apostle Peter described this very process:
“Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).
We see in this verse there are simply three steps to simple worldview instruction.
First, we need the right attitude toward the young one asking. Answering with meekness—a humble strength—may not be a terrible challenge when admitting to a preschooler that mommy does not know all the dinosaur names by memory. But I can say from experience that much prayer and repentance often follows toe-to-toe confrontations with an argumentative adolescent.
Meekness, though, may be the most important part of training our children in right thinking. We all know from experience that our children learn from our example so much faster than from our lecture. Why do I, then, forget to demonstrate a teachable humility toward academics, theology, and relationships? Will my children learn how to learn if I only model stubborn refusal to hear or acknowledge another perspective?
How am I demonstrating meek readiness to my children? Am I delighted or drowsy on Sunday morning? Am I enthusiastic or complacent during read-aloud? Am I inquisitive or cantankerous over math corrections? Am I delighted or critical about writing assignments?
And that’s just my life, not mentioning my children’s work!
If I ever achieve an attitude of meekness (not likely to happen before absolute sanctification), maybe I can begin working on the action of answering itself. Not easy, since I know not one of the answers to the questions above.
Hey, I am all for independent learning. My two most-used phrases around the house are “Look it up” and “READ BOOKS!” (the latter said with much emphasis in response to a vocabulary question).
I wonder, though, if such emphasis on “teach yourself” might, at times, be my own pedagogical laziness. If I don’t know the answer to my child’s question, why don’t I care to find out for myself? And why do I command my children to demonstrate more intellectual initiative than I practice?
And finally, after getting my attitude straightened out and making my actions more exemplary, perhaps I can focus on the real priority of training my little thinkers: sanctifying God.
How sanctified—holy, set apart, high and lifted up—is my God in my own heart, mind, and emotions each Monday through Friday? How often do I teach phonics to his glory, revel in algebra by his design, inspect science for his perspective, and meditate on his moving in history?
How much worship and awe do my children see from my interaction with God’s revealed truth in my daily life?
My daughter now realizes her father is no relation to Clark Kent, and that for many years he loaded trucks in the middle of the night for UPS. He still is, however, a superhero.
But still, my five-year-old does not yet understand the difference between one year and one century. My teen does not see the purpose of calculus. My daughter would rather watch Netflix than fold the laundry. But they are children, and they are still growing in perspective and purpose.
Daily I am convicted, however, that what my children need most is not another textbook, lecture, or seminar. They need a humble, repentant mother to model progressive sanctification.
And that is the most important worldview assignment for us all.
Lea Ann Garfias is Executive Director for Home Educating Association. A homeschool graduate and home educating mother of four, Lea Ann explains biblical worldview for the common mommy in local and national homeschool publications and on her website WhateverStateIAm.com. You'll find her practicing her violin and piano, reading thick books, and drinking strong coffee in Dallas, Texas.
© 2013 by Home Educating Family Association. All rights reserved. Used with permission. Originally published in 2013 Issue 1 of Home Educating Family Magazine, the publication with the most meaningful discussions taking place in the homeschooling community today. Visit hedua.com to read back issues and for more articles, product reviews, and media.
Publication date: July 18, 2014