Thursday, June 21, 2007

Christian Education: The Parents

The parents are the primary educators of their children. This is not an option they can pass off to others; this is a biblical command. It is the parents who are to train and rear (and discipline, as needed) their children. (See Deut. 6 as one of several passages on this subject)

My wife and I have four children; we are the primary educators of our children. That we "employ" professional teachers to teach them the 3 R's or that we send them to Sunday School or Patch Club in no way diminishes our responsibility—we are only delegating that responsibility, temporarily, to another individual. If that individual does not train our children biblically, it is our responsibility to remove the children from that individual's tutelage.

What are some of the necessary qualifications for parents, in order that their children may receive a Christian Education? I offer several (if you have more, please add your wisdom to the discussion):

  • Ideally, both parents are saved, dedicated servants of God. While there are many in today's older generation who testify of being brought up in an unsaved but upright home—where the expectations were the same or higher than what we expect of Christian people today—this is very rare today. Even among Christian families, an upright upbringing is not a given.
  • The parents must be proactive, determined, and grounded in the Word, with the an attitude of "I'm going to do whatever God wants me to do so that I can rear my children to be His servants." Yes, that means the parents must avoid certain entertainments, and music, and activities, and people who will influence their child against God. Saved, dedicated servants will do those things. (Yes, there are children today who will become great leaders for the cause of Christ—as there have been others in the past—who did not have this kind of parenting. Praise God for His grace and His working in anyone's life!)
  • If the parents choose to place their children in a Christian school, then both parents and school need to be on the same page where biblical matters are concerned. They must be standing together on God's Word. Parents must also be prepared to remove their children from the school if the school's philosophy deviates from the Truth. This does not mean the parents have to agree on every jot and tittle of how the school operates. The parents may wish the school had a different lunch program, or that recess were in the afternoon instead of the morning, or that their child took Geometry in 11th grade instead of 10th. These are not issues demanding separation, and parents sometimes need to get a grip on the fact that the school cannot (and need not try to) make everyone perfectly happy with everything. But when the school departs from the Word and does not train children biblically, separation is the proper response.
  • If the parents choose to homeschool, they must do so within this same philosophy of Christian Education. Homeschooling is not a frivolous matter, and to do it properly is not easy. The parents need to provide a biblically-based curriculum that is Christ-centered, academically excellent, and well-rounded. They need to provide opportunities for the children to serve God. And, yes, they too need to "separate" themselves from organizations, etc., which do not promote a biblical philosophy of CE.


pamm said...

I just have one question. To decide that one is "spiritual enough" to have kids is kind of arrogant on the part of that person. Are we not to be growing in Christ every day? If someone waits until they can afford children, they will never have them. This appears to be the same mentality.

Thank you.

Ken said...

Those of us who have children have a biblical responsibility to "bring them up" properly; this blog entry refers to their education. Every parent has a God-given duty to become more like Christ so that he or she can train up the children to be more like Christ--but this same duty applies to every Christian, parent or not. None of us is perfect at this, so each of us must "be growing in Christ every day." Thanks for your thoughts.