The Father’s Responsibility for Education

For I have chosen him [Abraham], so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him (Gen.18:19).

Throughout most of human history, fathers have been considered the authority figure of the home and family. I believe that this is a good and wholesome thing.

But with authority comes responsibility. When it comes to homeschooling, fathers cannot leave the ultimate responsibility to their wife. It may be inconvenient, and it may go against their grain, but men must provide the leadership for the family’s education.

Why is that? The vision for education should spring from the father. What’s your vision? What do you want for your childrens’ education? What do you value for them?

Children look to their father for leadership and example. They see and understand what it is that he values. If it’s only food, football and car-racing, they will understand that. But if they see and understand by his actions that he is taking a consistent interest in the “what and how and why” they are learning, that is important.

It’s negligent for a man to leave this to his wife. He may say, “I’m too busy,” or “I’m not the academic type,” but education is not primarily about academics. It’s about values. This is what God identified in Abraham’s oversight and training of his children, and it is evident that Abraham was very particular about ethics and values, right throughout his life.

For all we know, Abraham may have been disinterested in academic subjects, like some men today. But he was clearly interested in the law of God. After he’d died, God said about him that “… Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws” Gen.26:5). If men will (like Abraham) assume the leadership of the home and family in terms of assuming responsibility for the values their children are learning, that will have a big impact on them.

The Bible commands fathers to “…bring them up in the discipline and admonition of the Lord” (Eph.6:4). This means that a father must be involved with his children. It means 2-way conversations with them as individuals as they grow up. Education cannot be separated from this, for in reality there is no sacred/secular dichotomy in life. Everything is to be “unto the Lord.”

Its fifteen years since we were formally homeschooling. But when this was happening, I liked to check on our sons’ work 80% of the time. Was my wife a diligent overseer? Yes, but that was not the point. Five minutes with each child four times weekly meant that I could be personally up to speed with what had happened that day. It’s not hard, but it requires consistency and a touch of discipline.

Abraham and Sarah’s discipline and training produced Isaac. Isaac and Rebekah produced Jacob, while Jacob and Rachel produced Joseph and Benjamin. The male offspring grew to be responsible God-honouring individuals: patriarchs in their day. Generational linkage through diligent, God-honouring, discipling parents.

What will your fatherhood have produced, fifty years from now?

What will you do now, to ensure that the outcome is one that pleases the Lord?