We have all wished, at one time or another that our children would just FOCUS! However, do you think God has ever wished for our focus? Where is your focus? As home educators, we can easily get focused on what the world, state, relatives, etc. believe we should teach our children. We tend to (at least on some level) focus on how our children compare with those who attend public or private school. We focus our curiosity on how well our children would score on state mandated standardized tests. We focus self-evaluation on whether or not we, as their teacher, are providing them with all the tools, skills, and information they need to be successful in the world.
Recently, God gently revealed that, although the above-mentioned concerns can be valuable to a degree, we, as teaching parents, have to focus on ONLY ONE objective to ensure the 100% success of our children!
Please allow me to take a few moments to help you, who have already grown up, to fully grasp the benefits of first learning this concept as a child. Have you ever been frustrated with your children? Sure you have, and so have I. Okay, have you ever been angry with your husband? Yep, me too. One more... have you ever been exhausted with the mundane tasks of wife and motherhood? Yeah buddy... we all have. However, during those times, where was our focus? How much valuable time and energy has already been lost in your lifetime during your own seasons of "unfocusedness"? Do we want our children to experience that same unnecessary loss?
So, what does our own focus have to do with helping our children be 100% successful? Understand that I am not talking about the kind of temporary focus it takes to complete multiple digit multiplication, long division, or even quadratic equations. I am, however, talking about a focus that will allow them to accomplish their ONLY assignment while upon this earth... completing God's plan for their lives.
We all know that it is easy to tell our children what they should or should not do. We all know that it is easy to buy the perfect book for them to read that explains how others have chosen the right path. We all know that it is easy to take them to church and allow the preachers and teachers to give them theological directions through life's journey. However, we are called to teach our children God's ways "talking about them when you sit at home, when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up" Deuteronomy 11:19. This scripture does not instruct us to just tell our children or give our children a book or even send them to be taught by others. Scripture does not meekly request that we teach our children only if we feel up to it. Scripture does not quietly plea that we teach our children only if our own lives are smoothly sailing along. Scripture does not timidly imply that we should only teach our children if we are not too tired. Instead, this scripture commands us to do the job our selves anyhow, anytime, and anywhere!
In a previous article, I brought up the bad habits of laziness, stubbornness, and selfishness. Now, I'm bringing them up again. Why? Well, these are constant, habitual destroyers of focus... or at least they are for my family and me. Oh, and I almost forgot, pride... another very effective demolisher of focus. There may be other focus exterminators as well for you and your family, but these are the ones I can speak with experience about having had and continuing to have a close personal relationship with all of them. If we are frustrated with our children, angry with our husband, exhausted with wife and motherhood, which bad habit was our focus during those times? Were we too lazy to get up and parent our children before a situation got out on our nerves? Were we too stubborn to negotiate? Too selfish to cooperate? Too prideful to ask for help? Hmmm... is anyone besides me feeling uncomfortable?
So... how do we most effectively teach our children to focus? God's plan is obvious and clear. Children were created to learn best from their parents, and learning is most naturally accomplished through example. Ah, there it is... example! If we are lazy, stubborn, selfish, prideful, etc., we are guaranteed the exact same attitudes from our children. If our own focus is off, then off will be our children's focus.
So, where should we be focused? I know, you know, and as children of God we well know exactly where our focus should be... we should be focused on Him! Scripture tells us whether at home or abroad, during day and night, we continuously teach our children in all we say, do, think, and feel. Our children know the meaning of every wink, scowl, nod, and every sigh without us ever saying a word. Likewise, they can easily identify our focus before we ever say a word and, later when our words may sound on target, our children can most certainly see through any futile attempts to feign a God-focus.
Our one and only goal as teaching parents is to train our children to stay completely focused on God's will at all times no matter if they are tired, bored, angry, sad, happy, frustrated, confused, proud, and on and on and on. Will this enormous task be easy? Well, no, and He never said it would be! However, it will be much less complicated if we keep God as the precise and constant center of our own focus regardless of what distractions Satan may present. Once we determine to keep a God-focus, then, and only then, can we effectively teach our children though our example.
The bible says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths" Proverbs 3:5-6. Within a God-focus, there is no opportunity for bad habits to slither in.
Are you God-focused today? Have you set aside your laziness, stubbornness, selfishness, and pride to focus on Him? Without doubt, the absolute best investment you can ever make in your family is first seeking God wholeheartedly yourself. When you take time to eagerly seek Him first, your children will naturally learn to do the same, and then, and only then will you all be 100% successful!
Michelle Painter is a wife and best friend to Bobby and a mother to 3 wonderful sons. She is a former Texas public school teacher called by God to home school. She considers home schooling a challenge, a privilege, and an undreamt of blessing. She prays that others may glean encouragement, empowerment, and blessings from what she writes. She would love to hear from you at email@example.com.