Children Don’t Need School (13)              

Working Together in Education

By Andrew McColl, 7th February, 2023

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is no one to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart (Eccles.4:9-12).

Ideally, both parents should have a role in their children’s education. Parental academic ability always helps, but it’s only one component. In my mind the most important thing in the educations of children is parental fear of the Lord, because it always leads to wisdom, firstly for the parent, then the child.

Both parents should be responsible for what is the chosen material or curriculum to be used. This helps us to guard against individual excesses or obsessions that a parent can harbor, and we can all be guilty of this. What we want to do is to prepare a child for life, and for each child there could very well be differences in this, though much core curriculum may be the same for all.

Last year I spoke with a Mum who had educated her children at home for years, but when they got older, they figured out how to “gang up” on her. Not overtly of course, but they wouldn’t stop griping and complaining about how hard it all was, and how much they must be missing out on. Dad was always busy at work, and he left it all with Mum (always very unwise), so before long she threw in the towel, and that was the end of that. All too easy. They knew how to push her buttons when Dad wasn’t around, and get their way. But ten years later, it hasn’t gone well for them.

My experience has been that most fathers understand the basics of Maths, and are commonly able to help their children with it. The fact that Dad may be away working during the day is irrelevant. He can spend some time with each child when he gets home, examining their work and seeing how they are progressing, and converse with them at other times on all manner of subjects.

The books might be closed on the weekend, but that doesn’t mean that Dad’s not asking questions! In my book, that’s simply parental responsibility: making sure that things are happening, successfully.

I’m certain that if Dad is sensible, children will appreciate his interest, and time. Boys in particular need to know that education is not just a “Mummy thing.” Seeing Dad deliberately and consistently examining their work and asking questions to see how they are progressing, and holding them to account, does make a big difference for them. They’ll look forward to this time, and they’ll then tend to think,

I’m important to Dad, and my education’s important to him too.

Not only does it lead to children appreciating, loving and respecting their father, but it should then lead them to want to emulate him, too. Now this is heading somewhere important! Consider this little poem:

         Some may own castles on the banks of the Rhine

        And hire an orchestra each evening at nine;

        But richer than I they never will be,

       ‘Cause I had a Dad who spent time with me.

It was Abigail Van Buren who wrote,

If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them, and half as much money.


What should sensible parents be seeking?

Healthy, long-term consequences from their efforts and their example today.

By God’s grace, this is possible for all parents. Isn’t that what you’re hoping to accomplish?

Children Fascinate More Than Adults

— • —

When you’re sitting at a meeting, and at stake are big results,
The CEO demands to know with whom you did consult;
But your dreaming of the treasure from an ancient Mayan cult—
’Cause those who dream like children fascinate more than adults.

When you find yourself at tea-time with a dozen dolls in dress,
And a gaggle of young girlies who demand a short address,
On the need for courtly manners, you will not be found at fault,
For the children of your household fascinate more than adults.

Grown-ups see their unmown grass as a project not completed;
Children see your jungle lawn as a kingdom undefeated.
It’s a difference in perspective of what’s best to exalt,
’Cause those who dream with children fascinate more than adults.

There’s something truly tragic when adult hearts grow cold,
To the beauty and simplicity of the stories they were told.
Some spend a lifetime hoping that someday they can recover
The dream-like sense of wonder, from the books once read by Mother.

It’s childlike faith, not childishness, which captures our devotion;
The preciousness, the purity and power of their emotion.
They prove an antidote of hopefulness to trials and tumult,
’Cause those with faith like children, fascinate more than adults.

There’s time enough for grown-up things like bank account and bills.
Why miss an opportunity for tea-time with your girls,
Or fighting Nazis with your boys-producing great gestalt?
’Cause the children of your household fascinate more than adults.

There’s a wisdom found in boyhood that comes from chasing rabbits,
Unencumbered by the worries of a thousand grown-up habits.
Like fearing, faking, fawning, frowning, and foiling the day
That could be filled with lovely things that children do at play.

Don’t get me wrong: I recognize the need for grown-up themes,
And putting aside milky treats to chew on meaty dreams.
Adulthood clearly is the goal; our end maturity,
But notice please that this is what our children aim to be.

The boy who cuts up worms today, tomorrow is a doctor.
And the patriot girl sewing flags, tomorrow is a mother
Who’ll teach the generation next to know their history,
And through her joyful play today, sew seeds of liberty.

It’s the childhood dreams of little girls and little boys at play
That make for truly visionary kings and queens some day.
So don’t be too dismayed or take this as insult:
But the children of your household fascinate more than adults.

— • —

By Douglas Winston Phillips

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