I don't know the exact blog I should put this on, but I will start here. It starts with a concern about assumptions made about our children that aren't based on the big picture.
Before I start this blog, I want my readers to know that I believe wholeheartedly in home-schooling, or home-education, but this article is not a ploy to make people feel guilty if they are not home-schooling. Home-schooling is a good method to use to prepare our children spiritually for the world. But it is one method that has worked well for many. You may not be homeschooling, and perhaps you don't want to do so. Pay attention though to what I am saying, regardless of whether you homeschool or not.
I am writing to parents who have trusted in Jesus Christ as Savior and who are in living and growing in God's kingdom.
The issue at hand has come up in the battle for parents who have chosen to homeschool, primarily. The argument goes like this; "You are sheltering your child." Or, "You are too overprotective." Or, and here is the one which concerns me, "Your child needs to be out in the world, being a light to others."
Yes, if you are a Christian and are raising your children to fear God, there will come a time when your child, if he or she responds to the Gospel properly, will need to be out in the world, being a beacon for the kingdom of God. Your child should represent God well. But it won't happen in the first grade (there are possible exceptions that I won't cover at this time). It won't happen in the second or third grades either. What is the reason for this?
Your child needs training, teaching, equipping, nurturing, and a host of other things while he or she is young. If your child is in a public or private school, away from home, you still have the privilege to do these things with him or her. If your child is at home, it is much easier to work with your child in these areas.
I was not homeschooled, but I learned a lot from my parents, because they spent a lot of time teaching me things. They took us places and spent time with us. I probably learned more from them than I did from my teachers! Part of that was probably due to the fact that I was sick a lot and at home, but, even more so, it was probably due to the fact that while in school I was in a harsh environment, and no one could walk me through it. I had to fight for myself and I didn't know how to do that or even to know how to respond to that. I wasn't equipped to do any spiritual battles that I was facing while at school every day. I didn't even know I was in a spiritual battle. Eventually, I didn't learn anything while I was at school because I had to spend so much time protecting myself and fighting battles that I wasn't ready for.
Our children don't know they are in a spiritual battle either. It is a battle for their souls. How will a young child respond when a teacher is picking on him or her? What would God have your child do in response to getting beat up, either physically or with words spoken by others? Are you ready to help your child respond Biblically in these situations that will come to him or her while in the school or when he or she is involved in activities outside of the home? Is your child ready to process a teacher who is Gay or who is living with a person outside of a marriage relationship? How will your child handle threats to his or her life that could possibly come during any year of school? Will your child be able to process tragedies that happen in other families, seeing situations like that with Biblical eyes?
Whether your child is away from home during the day or at home, parents need to be equipping them for the real world. Before long, they will be out in the real world. Will they interpret the things going on around them Biblically, and are they ready to respond in a God honoring way, or will they see those things as normal and right, and end up belonging to the world?
Our job is to help our children learn to separate light from darkness, truth from error, right from wrong, and good from evil. We do this by teaching them and spending time with them, not by sending them to Sunday School hoping they will 'get it' one day. God gives parents the responsibility of teaching and training their children. Children do not learn by being thrown into difficult situations and trying to figure their way out. Most are not ready to 'fight their own battles' yet. As they watch us fight the battles in our daily lives, they will learn how to fight for themselves. It doesn't just come automatically because we are Christians.