Beginning with Home Schooling (31) – Home Schools and the Tea Party

Gary North

Reality Check (Oct. 17, 2012)

I have just read the best article in National Review that I can remember in the last 40 years. Of course, this is not saying a great deal, because I stopped reading National Review about 40 years ago. I used to write for it occasionally. My introduction to the magazine was in the fall of 1959, when I was a freshman at Pomona College. I read it faithfully for about five years, and intermittently until the early 1970s. After that, my interests shifted.

The article I refer to has a great title: “The Last Radicals.” It was written by Kevin D. Williamson. It begins with this paragraph.

There is exactly one authentically radical social movement of any real significance in the United States, and it is not Occupy, the Tea Party, or the Ron Paul faction. It is homeschoolers, who, by the simple act of instructing their children at home, pose an intellectual, moral, and political challenge to the government-monopoly schools, which are one of our most fundamental institutions and one of our most dysfunctional. Like all radical movements, homeschoolers drive the establishment bats.

I think this assessment is correct. Homeschooling now qualifies as a movement. It is certainly radical, in that it has taken a public stand, with money on the line, against the public schools.

It stands against the only American institution that can legitimately claim for itself this unique position: it is the only established church in the nation. It has a self-accredited, self-screened priesthood, as every church must. It has a theology. Its theology is messianic: salvation through knowledge. But this knowledge must be screened and shaped in order to bring forth its socially healing power.

Massachusetts was the last state to abolish tax funding of churches. That was in 1832. In 1837, the state created the nation’s first state board of education. It was run by one of the crucial figures in American history, the Unitarian lawyer Horace Mann. He believed that the public schools should perform much the same function that the established Congregational churches had performed for two centuries in Massachusetts. The schools would produce what the churches had failed to produce, a new humanity. They would transform sin-bound man by means of education.

This outlook is what R. J. Rushdoony called the messianic character of American education, which is the title of his 1963 book. The book is a detailed study of the two dozen major theorists of American progressive education. In that book, he observed that the public school system is America’s only established church. In the same year, liberal historian Sidney E. Mead made the same observation in his book, The Lively Experiment. Rushdoony opposed this established church, while Mead was its acolyte.

Rushdoony became one of the major spokesmen of the homeschooling movement in the mid-1980s. He testified repeatedly in court cases where the state had brought charges against homeschooling families.

AN OLD TRADITION, FORGOTTEN

In 1987, he testified in the case of Leeper v. Arlington. A group of homeschooling families sued the city of Arlington, Texas. There were over 1,000 districts in Texas. They won. Their attorney said in 2011, “After the victory that God gave us in that case, the prosecutions [of homeschoolers] stopped in all the other forty-nine states.”

Sharpe brought in Rushdoony as an expert witness. “His testimony was way beyond anything I’d hoped for. It was one of the few times in my career that I ever saw a witness destroy the attorney who was trying to examine him.”

Sharpe took a unique approach. He believed that a 1915 Texas law had established parents’ legal right to teach their children at home. The 1915 law was a compulsory schooling law. It exempted private school students. From 1900 to 1920, 60% of Texas families home schooled their children. This had to be the frame of reference for the law’s exemption, not tuition-funded schools.

In his court testimony, Rushdoony made a crucial point: homeschooling was an old tradition long before the formation of the United States.

The basic form of education in much of the colonial period as well as for a long time thereafter was the home school. In the Massachusetts Bay Colony there was an attempt to limit colonization to townships to keep the population concentrated. Some of those did have formal schools in the form of a building where all of the children came. But apart from that, it was private or home schools that prevailed in most of the colonies. There was a limited amount among the wealthy southerners of tutorial schooling, but for the most part it was home schooling. This continued for a good many years thereafter in much of the United States, particularly on the frontier.

There was another major factor. It came out under cross-examination.

You must realize that it was only with the depression that we had in most states compulsory attendance to high school, and it was, I believe, with the depression of the 1930’s that they began to extend compulsory attendance laws through the eighth grade. Prior to that, if you gained reading, writing and arithmetic essentially in the first three or four grades, it was held that you were schooled.

Americans today think that the existing educational system, K-12, has been around for a century. It has, but hardly anyone went through this entire system prior to World War I, and those who did were generally urban residents.

A RADICAL RESTORATION

It is common for every radical movement to appeal back to an earlier era in which its first principles were widely accepted and adhered to. That, surely, was the rhetoric of the American Revolutionaries, 1770-76. They claimed the ancient rights of Englishmen. That did not make them any less revolutionary in the early 1770s.

The author of the NR article remarked that the homeschooling movement “has a distinctly conservative and Evangelical odor about it, but it was not always so.” Then he described the work of counter-culture radicals of the late 1960s.

The movement’s urtext is Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing, by A. S. Neill, which sold millions of copies in the 1960s and 1970s. Neill was the headmaster of an English school organized (to the extent that it was organized) around neo-Freudian psychotherapeutic notions and Marxian ideas about the nature of power relationships in society. He looked forward to the day when conventional religion would wither away — “Most of our religious practices are a sham,” he declared — and in general had about as little in common with what most people regard as the typical homeschooler as it is possible to have.

There was a revived interest in homeschooling by counter-culture activists, but they arrived late in American history. They presented themselves as radicals, but their formal agenda — homeschooling — is older than Mom, America, and apple pie.

There is an astounding loss of memory regarding homeschooling. Those who have written the public school textbooks and devised the ever-changing curricula for the “state normal schools,” as they used to be called — teachers’ colleges for educating young women — have systematically dropped this story down the Establishment’s memory hole.

The author cites some blistering attacks on homeschooling by the tenured radicals who have succeeded in capturing the state-licensed and often state-funded institutions of high education. One of them is a Georgetown University law school professor. Here is a sample of his rhetoric.

The husbands and wives in these families feel themselves to be under a religious compulsion to have large families, a homebound and submissive wife and mother who is responsible for the schooling of the children, and only one breadwinner. These families are not living in romantic, rural, self-sufficient farmhouses; they are in trailer parks, 1,000-square-foot homes, houses owned by relatives, and some, on tarps in fields or parking lots. Their lack of job skills, passed from one generation to the next, depresses the community’s overall economic health and their state’s tax base.

He cited no literature regarding the academic performance of home-schooled children. He did not mention the national geography bee. In 2002, here were the results. Over 20% of the finalists were home schooled. They constituted 40% of the final ten students. At the national spelling bee that year, 27 of the 167 contestants in the finals were home schooled. Yet they constituted only 2% of the students eligible to compete. (http://www.mackinac.org/4364) This kind of dominance has continued ever since in both contests.

This drives public school defenders nuts.

What are the statistical facts? The article cites Brian D. Ray, who specializes in homeschooling. Ray says that

Repeated studies by many researchers and data provided by United States state departments of education show that home-educated students consistently score, on average, well above the public school average on standardized academic achievement tests. To date, no research has found homeschool students to be doing worse, on average, than their counterparts in state-run schools. Multiple studies by various researchers have found the home educated to be doing well in terms of their social, emotional, and psychological development.

Williamson could not resist citing Dana Goldstein, who wrote a piece in Slate. Don’t homeschool your children, she pleaded. Home schooling is “fundamentally illiberal.” It is too individualistic. “Could such a go-it-alone ideology ever be truly progressive?” And homeschooling dilutes the pool of academically motivated students in the public schools.

She said that “poor students do better when mixed with better-off peers.” I can understand this. So, “when college-educated parents pull their kids out of public schools, whether for private school or homeschooling, they make it harder for less-advantaged children to thrive.”

In short, make your kid a guinea pig. I would have added this: “Don’t imitate the vast majority of Congressmen who live in Washington, D.C., who refuse to send their children into the Washington, D.C. school system.” But her logic is surely impeccably progressive. She recommends wealth-redistribution — in this case, academic wealth.

LIBERALS VS. HOME SCHOOLING

The author lists three reasons why liberals hate homeschooling. First, Progressives do not trust individuals. They also do not trust voluntarism. I would have invoked the model: Nanny Bloomberg. He got the New York City health department to extend such a law. Consider this book title: It Takes a Village.

Nine-tenths of American children attend government schools, and most of the remaining tenth attend government-approved private schools. The political class wants as many of that remaining tenth in government schools as possible; teachers’ unions have money on the line, and ideologues do not want any young skull beyond their curricular reach. A political class that does not trust people with a Big Gulp is not going to trust them with the minds of children.

He notes that it is now considered impossible politically or legally to outlaw home schooling. So, the bureaucrats want to regulate it.

The second reason for the hostility is that conservatives and Christians are so numerous. The church is outside government control, and this bothers Progressives. Nothing except sexual activity is supposed to be outside government control. “Progressives are by their nature monopolists, and the churches constitute real competing centers of power in society.”

The third reason is that home school teachers are mothers. This means they are in two-parent families. The husband supports the family. We know what Progressives think of that stereotype! The author is correct: “As its critics best appreciate, homeschooling is about more than schooling.”

It is, indeed. It is a call to return to traditional values of the American past. It is a call to return to old-time education — two centuries before the little red schoolhouse and the McGuffey Readers.

In the background of Christian homeschooling, there is the echo of that most hated phrase in the history of Progressive education: “In Adam’s fall, we sinned all.” Those were the opening lines of the New England Primerof 1686. They still hold up.

RON PAUL AND THE TEA PARTY

The article ends with comments on Ron Paul and the Tea Party.

They comprise conservatives on the verge of despair at trying to achieve real social change through the process of electoral politics and the familiar machinery of party and poll, with its narrow scope of action, uncertain prospects, and impermanent victories.

Some may be on the verge of despair. I do not notice any sense of despair in the Tea Party circles I travel in. That may be because I travel in the homeschooling wing of the Tea Party. There, I find a different attitude: “We’ve got the goods.”

Bottom line: when you take on America’s only established church and can hold your own, decade after decade, you are not humbled by the quality of the Presidential debates between a pair of Harvard Law School graduates.

The author sees the Ron Paul movement and the Tea Party as in need of an infusion of homechool-like confidence.

There is a different model for reform being practiced in more than 1 million American households, by people of wildly different political and religious orientations. Homeschooling represents a kind of libertarian impulse, but of a different sort: It is not about money. Homeschooling families pay their taxes to support local public schools, like any other family — which is to say, begrudgingly in many cases — and the movement does not seek the abolition of local government-education monopolies. (It should.) Homeschooling families simply choose not to participate in the system — or, if they do, to participate in it on their own terms.

This is the result of the system. But the heart of the system remains divided. Some parents pull their children out of the moral and academic slough of despond that public education has now become in fact, and which it always was in principle, which is why it wanted money coerced out of voters. Other parents want to replace the social order through the power of example, what John Winthrop called the city on a hill. He said that on board the Arbella, as it sailed in 1630 to New England. The Puritans had pulled out of England in order to build New England. They had a destination. They had a rival vision. This vision is not the vision of Progressivism.

And that is a step too far for the Hobbesian progressives, who view politics as a constant contest between the State and the State of Nature, as though the entire world were on a sliding scale between Sweden and Somalia. Homeschoolers may have many different and incompatible political beliefs, but they all implicitly share an opinion about the bureaucrats: They don’t need them — not always, not as much as the bureaucrats think. That’s what makes them radical and, to those with a certain view of the world, terrifying. (//www.garynorth.com/public/13291.cfm)

To Progressive educators everywhere, let me say in confidence: Be afraid. Be very afraid.

When you have bet the political farm on a system that cannot get good students in the doors free of charge, and which has lost the power of compulsion to get them in the doors, your movement is comparable to the Congregational Establishment in (say) 1800. MENE, MENE, TEKEL, URPHARSIN. You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting. Your days are numbered

Beginning with Home Schooling (30)

British Columbia Supreme Court Muzzles Father on Gender of Daughter

By Michael Rozeff (www.lewrockwell.com), May 1st, 2019
The states that are the foremost bearers of Western civilization are increasing their use of force in moral matters that traditionally, rationally and morally are and should be beyond any state’s powers. By doing this, Western states are becoming more totalitarian. The results are horrifying, horrendous and shocking. The leaders of Western civilization are destroying Western civilization.
These new and enhanced intrusions are actually part of a deeper longstanding trend of greater state initiation of force. That major trend includes both major parties in America. It’s manifested in domestic socialist legislation and in foreign aggression, such as in the attacks on Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. The newer cultural, personal, family, religious and moral intrusions are becoming more and more noticeable and outrageous. They are profoundly stupid and destructive, but they are ongoing nonetheless. The tide against them has not turned yet.
British Columbia in Canada has a Family Law Act that empowers the court to intrude in a family in order to “protect the safety and security of the at-risk family member…” The law allows the court to assess risks very broadly in order to effect such protection.
This might be reasonable if a father were threatening his daughter with a knife or pistol, but what if the father insists on calling his daughter “she” rather than the pronoun “he” that the girl prefers? What if the father tries to persuade “Maxine” to abandon the hormone treatments she thinks will make her “Max”? What if the father gives interviews in which he refers to her as Maxine and argues against the ill-effects of ingesting gender-related hormones? What if the court decides that all of these actions place Maxine at “a significant risk of harm”?
These what-ifs (not the knife or pistol) have happened in neighboring British Columbia. Its Supreme Court has decided that using pronouns, using persuasion, providing information and speaking to media make a father guilty under this law. The court has muzzled him.
The trend in Western law is to turn personal matters, personal moral matters, non-violent matters, emotional matters (like purported hate), non-physical matters and communications matters into supposed crimes with perpetrators and victims. This is similar to jihadists thinking that a Christian church doing them no harm is an enemy, or a cartoonist making fun of their God is an enemy, and that they have a right to kill in order to stop such “insults” and “invasions”. This is similar to students rioting against particular speakers on campus because they consider their words “violent” or “insulting”. This is similar to laws that intrude upon labor relations and laws that demand hiring and promotion be along racial or sexual lines. This is similar to laws against hate speech. This is similar to laws and practices that demand diversity, meaning preferences of one sort or another and disregard of standards and qualifications that matter for job performance.

The wisdom of Ayn Rand in Galt’s speech and later Murray Rothbard stands higher and higher, for they clearly distinguished between the initiation of physical force and what one may rightly say or do.

“Be it a highwayman who confronts a traveler with the ultimatum: ‘Your money or your life,’ or a politician who confronts a country with the ultimatum: ‘Your children’s education or your life,’ the meaning of that ultimatum is: ‘Your mind or your life’—and neither is possible to man without the other.”

Western law is becoming more and more the highwayman, the initiator of physical violence. “Your children’s gender or your life” is indeed “Your mind or your life”. The state cannot intrude beyond controlling the initiation of physical force and into the moral territory of religion, speech, family, and persons without destroying its own basis and civilization; and yet this is exactly what it is doing.

Break up with the Public School

By Elizabeth Cameron (www.lewrockwell.com), 26/10/2013.

Public schooling in America has become a nightmare.  It is a tax-feeding, compulsory, monopolistic indoctrination tool of the state that has more to do with control than it has to do with education.

Consider this statement by Robert M. Hutchins, former President of the University of Chicago, and Chairman of the Board of Editors of the Encyclopedia Brittanica:

“The countries of the West are committed to universal, free, compulsory education.  The United States first made this commitment and has extended it further than any other.  In this country, 92.5% of the children who are fourteen years old and 71.3% of those between fourteen and seventeen are in school.  It will not be suggested that they are receiving the education that the democratic ideal requires.  The West has not accepted the proposition that the democratic ideal demands liberal education for all.  In the United States, at least, the prevailing opinion seems to be that the demands of that ideal are met by universal schooling, rather than by universal liberal education.  What goes on in school is regarded as of relatively minor importance.  The object appears to be to keep the child off the labor market and to detain him in comparatively sanitary surroundings until we are ready to have him go to work.

The results of universal, free, compulsory education in America can be acceptable only on the theory that the object of the schools is something other than education, that it is, for example, to keep the young from cluttering up homes and factories during a difficult period of their lives, or that it is to bring them together for social or recreational purposes.”

Dr. Hutchins was the Chairman from 1943 until his retirement in 1974.  Those words were published in 1952, in The Great Conversation, Volume I of Brittanica’s Great Books of the Western World.  He was discussing, and pleading for, traditional liberal education, based on a study of the accumulated wisdom of the great thinkers and writers of the ages, as contained in the Great Books.

The school system that Dr. Hutchins was criticizing might look like nirvana if compared with the public school of today.  In those days, they did not have psychotropic drugging or the labeling of school children with mental disorders for demonstrating “inappropriate” behavior.  They did not have the police state mentality that is proliferating today.  They did not have random psych-drug-induced slaughters of children in schools as a tragically familiar event.  They did not indulge in “zero-tolerance” arrests of little children who had the poor taste to commit childish acts.  They did not have the psych-based feel-good system of assessment that undermines academic achievement today.  Yet by Dr. Hutchins’ accounting, they were doing little more than detaining those students, keeping them off the streets and out from under foot until their labor was needed.

Fast forward to 1965, and the enactment of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which opened the door to federal funding for all sorts of mental health professionals in the government schools.  This was a watershed in American education.  However bad the schools might have been before this event, the formal establishment of a federally funded psychological paradigm in the schools triggered a long and inexorable march, continuing to this day, toward the dumbing down, medication and indoctrination of its students, as if the goal were specifically to prepare them to add their labor to the economy while snuffing out any individual creative power or any motivations they might harbor toward bucking the system.  Individuals schooled in this way are being victimized by an educational structure that can only be antithetical to their best interests; and skilled teachers, attempting to educate students within this paradigm, are at a terrible disadvantage.  They cannot peel away and construct their own creative programs, but must try to work within a fixed and stifling model based on government decrees from faraway bureaucrats.

When a student has difficulties under this system, as so often happens, the student is generally blamed and is sent to see the school psych, or via the parents, the local psychiatrist or even the family doctor, and the blame is officialized with a diagnosis.  This is followed by the writing of a prescription to make the student more tractable.

As if that were not enough to make the school environment unsuitable as an educational setting, the proliferation of school shootings over the years has added a certain element of physical risk.  This is unnerving for everybody; we are pretty sure it is going to happen again, but nobody knows when or where, so all we can do is hope and pray that it doesn’t happen to our kids, at our school.  And even assuming that we escape this horror, we still have to endure the burgeoning police state that is developing around the schools to try to ward off future attacks.  This makes for an environment that can be uncomfortable if not downright forbidding.

This kind of arrangement is hard on the kids.  It is hard on the teachers.  It is hard on the parents.  They are trying, most of them, to conduct the very natural and normal business of education with an unnatural, abnormal and coercive “schooling” environment.

I have seen no evidence suggesting that this can be fixed without separating the local school system from federal control and manipulation, and this is not likely to happen.  The system is too deeply entrenched.  It is not open to competition, and it has its own agenda.

The divergence of this agenda from the expectations of most parents was starkly highlighted by a statement made in 1973, in the keynote speech at the Childhood International Education Seminar in Boulder, Colorado, by Harvard psychiatrist Chester M. Pierce:

“Every child in America entering school at the age of five is mentally ill because he comes to school with certain allegiances to our founding fathers, toward our elected officials, toward his parents, toward a belief in a supernatural being, and toward the sovereignty of this nation as a separate entity.  It’s up to you as teachers to make all these sick children well – by creating the international child of the future.”

I do not know a single parent who would actually choose this kind of educational framework for his children, if he thought he really had a choice, but the public school system has become such a ubiquitous part of our society that it can be hard to see it for what it is and what it has become.  It can be hard to break away.  We just naturally assume that, because it is here and has been here for so long, and everybody accepts it and is used to it, that it must be okay.

It can help to read the work of somebody who has been deeply immersed on the inside and has stepped back to take a good look at the institution of public schooling.  This has been done, and beautifully, by John Taylor Gatto, former New York State Teacher of the Year, whose tireless research into the historical development of our school system and its unspoken purposes is detailed extensively in his brilliant book, The Underground History of American Education.  This book would be a good place to begin research… that and a long close look at your local public school.

Fortunately as awareness of this problem has grown, an increasing number of parents have decided to take matters into their own hands, and so homeschooling, among other options, has been growing by leaps and bounds.  With the explosion of online resources, the opportunities for these families are expanding like never before: Kahn Academy, Robinson Curriculum, the Ron Paul Curriculum, just to name a few.  Heck, the local public library is a pretty good starting point for developing a curriculum, all by itself.  It is an exciting time for independence in education, and the many successes of homeschoolers across the country have provided solid evidence that we can do better for our kids outside the system.

So study up on it for yourself; and if your own research supports this view, and you can find a way, then take the plunge and break up with the public school: get your kids out, to someplace safer, where they are not at risk of getting assimilated by the Public School Borg, or worse.  This applies to teachers, too.  If you can find a way, bring your talents out into the private market where they can flourish.  We need them!

For every person, every family, who breaks free, we as a culture will come one step closer to getting the compulsory government school system out of our lives and away from the honorable work of helping our children to get a real and independent education

Beginning with Home Schooling (28) What’s Love got to Do with It?

               

(Editor’s Note):

This article highlights a great need within Public Schooling, but it has enormous implications for the home schooling family, too. A family’s example, and specifically the example of parents, is probably the prime factor when it comes to the successful education of children. I can endorse nearly all of it.

              What’s Love got to Do with It?

By Sharon Lamberth

A few years ago, while serving as principal of a high-risk elementary school [in the U.S.], a student, whom I will call Jack, was brought to my office. It was not Jack’s first office visit and, as with prior visits, the reason for this one stemmed from an inability to control his anger that led to aggressive behaviours.

On this particular day, while talking with Jack, he suddenly looked at me and said, “Are you married?” After answering that I was, he then asked, “Why?” I could tell by the look on Jack’s face that he was most sincere in his inquiry. He then proceeded to tell me that his mother was living with a man to whom she was not married, and the man was not his father. He went on to say that his mother and biological father were also never married. Seeming to have a need to stay on the subject, Jack proceeded to share that his mother and her current boyfriend “argued all the time” and he wished they would go their separate ways, adding, “but then it probably won’t be long before there will be someone else.”

Jack’s life had been a revolving door of live-in boyfriends, some of whom had told him to call them “Dad,” which he sometimes did hoping that by doing so a father-son relationship might evolve; a relationship that he could count on and hold onto but that never happened.  At best, Jack’s understanding of his own emotions was limited. His teachers and fellow students observed in him an angry student with a chip on his shoulder. On really bad days, when the chip became a log, a visit to my office was inevitable. As I listened to this young boy, it struck me that he had never truly experienced unconditional parental love, critical to healthy development in children.

My 34 years in education taught me many things about children, one being that anger is often a mask for fear – fear of failure, fear of being rejected, fear of being unloved or unlovable, fear of what the future holds, fear of abandonment, and so on and so on and so on. I saw many “Jacks” over the course of my career; children who didn’t know how to give or receive genuine love; children whose lives were so chaotic that what felt like sincere parental love one day was likely destroyed the next in the form of rejection, broken promises, abuse, etc. Classroom teachers regularly observe students showing residual effects of a dysfunctional family life: falling asleep in class, taking on the role of parent in an effort to protect younger siblings, struggling to keep up academically, difficulty focusing on learning due to the weight of their emotional baggage, to name a few.

Throughout this nation, parents and children suffer from a lack of understanding of what healthy love is. As a result, the struggle to raise emotionally stable children is at the root of many, if not most, of the problems that ail our society today. Healthy love embodies the biblical teaching of loving one’s neighbour as oneself. It is kind, respectful, and nurturing. Healthy love manifests itself in actions as well as words, recognizing not only our own needs, but the needs of others. Jack had never known this type of love. As a result, he was not able to engage in healthy relationships with his teachers and peers. Without a healthy love of self, he was also not able to tap into his personal potential. Jack spent his days using anger to help him cope with his feelings of rejection and defeat.

Another one of Jack’s coping mechanisms was playing video games. Some of the most popular children’s video games exploit violence and aggression and can lead children to believe that such behaviours are acceptable and, in fact, normal. A report released by the American Psychological Association (APA) on violent video games concluded that there is a “consistent relation between violent video game use and heightened aggressive behaviour, aggressive cognitions, aggressive affect and reduced prosocial behaviour, empathy, and sensitivity to aggression.” It should be noted that researchers continue to banter back and forth as to how, and the degree to which, violent games impact children. However, from a common-sense standpoint, it was clear to me that seeking solace in video games was problematic for Jack. At age 10, he was already being set up for failure on multiple fronts.

For years, the educational system has tried to fix society’s problems by pouring more money into new programs, revamping curriculums, creating magnet schools, adjusting grading scales, implementing block scheduling, promoting zero suspensions, etc., etc., etc., all with limited success. Resources are being exhausted in attempts to instil motivation in students through external means. External motivation alone, however, is unsustainable if the internal pull that creates a personal desire to succeed is lacking; a pull necessary to achieving sustainable success. Jack seemed to be void of any constructive intrinsic motivation. The motivation to play video games was nothing more than a desire to escape (albeit temporarily) the pain and frustration of his life.

The educational system cannot be expected to singlehandedly fix a problem that it did not create. Fixing the problem lies, primarily, in fixing the family. Emotionally unhealthy families produce emotionally unhealthy children and emotionally unhealthy children struggle to reach their optimal potential. Until parents recognize, accept and resolve to make fundamental changes to ensure that they provide their children with unconditional parental love and effective parental leadership (cornerstone principles for raising children) the current cycle will continue.

Breaking the cycle will require a return to common-sense parenting; on re-educating parents on traditional parenting practices that were the norm before post-modern psychological ideologies took hold in the late 1960’s and attempted to undo the logical parenting practices that served families well for generations. Ideologies that imply that as society changes so too must parenting techniques. The result has been nothing short of disastrous. Society may change, but human development does not. Throughout history, all have gone through the same seasons of life (infancy, toddlerhood, childhood, adolescence) that lead to their emancipation from the family (adulthood).

The family is the backbone of any successful society. As such, the ultimate goal for all children is to become respectful, responsible, resourceful adults; a goal that requires parents to make developing strong character in their children the number one priority. Developing strong character is not dependent on academic achievement, sports recognition, popularity, brand names, family social status or income. Character is a by product of parenting that is solidly rooted in love and leadership.

The crisis within the American family must be addressed with a seriousness that hasn’t been seen in almost two generations. If, as a nation, we fail to make this a priority, Jack’s story will live on in yet another generation of children.

Sharon Lamberth

Certified Leadership Parent Coach

ABOUT SHARON

Sharon is an educator whose career has spanned over 30 years. She has served as a home-hospital instructor, elementary school classroom teacher, curriculum facilitator, assistant principal and principal. Married for over 35 years, Sharon is the mother of two adult children and a grandmother. Her approach is both compassionate and forthright, with the goal of helping the next generation parent from a position of love and leadership using a common-sense approach.

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Beginning with of Home Schooling (27)

Children and Education

By Gary North, from “Unconditional Surrender,” 1994, p.181-184.

Children are a tool of dominion. They are to be sacrificed for in their youth. They are to be instructed carefully and continually in the law of God.

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up (Deut.6:6-7). 

The time spent in training children in God’s law is time well spent, for it is a capital investment. It does produce the next generation of godly, dominion-minded families. The Bible says, “train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).

This leads us to an extremely significant conclusion: education is the moral responsibility of parents.  They are the ones who must determine whether or not their children are being taught the truth. They are responsible before God for the rearing of their children. They are held responsible even for the content of their children’s education. This is why it is a great responsibility to bring children into the world.

The modern State has asserted its responsibility to educate children. This is the means by which the modern State has arrogated to itself the position of the established god on earth. The government schools have become the established religion of every nation on earth. Humanism, which is the worship of man and his works, rests on this crucial institutional foundation:  the tax-supported, State-regulated, hypothetically neutral, deeply religious humanist school system.

There can be no neutrality, yet the government schools have almost completely stamped out Christianity and the law of God by means of the neutrality myth. The State forces Christians to finance schools that teach a rival religion, the religion of humanism. The State has also attempted to regulate Christian and independently financed schools. At every point, the State has substituted tenured bureaucrats who are virtually impossible for parents to remove from authority, while it has removed parents from the seats of power in setting curricula or any other standards.

The modern State, which is a messianic, supposedly man-saving institution, has used the tax-supported, compulsory schools as the primary means of stealing children from God, by removing them from parental control. Christians complain about taxation, but they have tithed their children to the State. They have abdicated their financial responsibilities – “Let the State finance my children’s educations”– and in our day, they have abandoned almost all other aspects of their instructional responsibilities.

They have turned the production of citizens over to tax-financed, State- directed schools. The priests of the religion of humanism have been able to enlist the support of many generations of

Christian parents, who have decided that it is easier to transfer the responsibility for educating their children to bureaucrats hired by the State. Naturally, parents have to delegate responsibility to someone. Few parents have the time or skills to educate their children at home. But the fundamental principle of education is the tutor or the apprentice director.

Parents hire specialists to teach their children along lines established by parents. The private school is simply an extension of this principle, with several parents hiring a tutor, thereby sharing the costs. But the parents, not the tutors, are institutionally sovereign.  Since someone must bear the costs, education should be parent-funded.  Anything else is a transfer of authority over education to an imitation family.

Children are to honour their parents (Ex. 20:12). It is the first promise which is attached to a commandment: “… that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee” (Ex.20:12b). So the parents owe their children education, food, shelter, and care, but the children owe their parents honour. This means financial support. There are mutual obligations based on personal bonds. No one in the transaction is to become an endless giver, and no one is to become a perpetual recipient.

The modern messianic State has intervened here, too. The State promises to uphold men

from womb to tomb. The State promises to become the new father. The impersonal, bureaucratic State has substituted its rule for the father’s rule, and its children– perpetual children– are to remain obedient to it all the days of their lives.

The Bible tells us that children grow up and begin new families. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Gen.1:24). There should be no perpetual one-way obligations. Parents are to train their children to be obedient, but also independent. They are to foster maturity in their children. The State wants perpetual children, complete obedience. The State is a sad imitation of a family. It is a pseudo-family which threatens human freedom.

Beginning with Home Schooling (24) “In Everything I Showed You…”

You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me. In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than receive (Acts 20:34-35).

I am convinced that most people who commence Home Schooling, hardly know what they are getting into. We certainly didn’t. I didn’t know that it would lead to moving interstate for two professional jobs, amounting now to thirteen years, and still going.

Nor did we know what it would mean in terms of our children, how it would flavour their upbringing, or their attitudes as adults, but it has. Parents have to think about this. I don’t for a moment claim it’s always been easy, but I haven’t seen any negatives, either.

This is what we were supposed to be doing, from the beginning. The idea that we could delegate education to an institution, and then try to find Biblical validity for the practice, is comic at best.

Parents have to accept that they are going to be central to the practice of their children’s education. In fact, if Abraham did this successfully, God said it would lead to him inheriting the promises of God. He said concerning Abraham,

For I have chosen him, 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 promised him (Gen.18:19).

What is a key to success in this?

John Paton was a missionary to the New Hebrides islands, from 1887. His missionary predecessors to the islands in 1839, were killed and eaten immediately they set foot there, so he knew this continued to be a very dangerous place; it most certainly was.

What inspired him to go there? His father of eleven children was a man devoted to prayer, praying with his family daily. Many years after attaining adulthood, Paton wrote,

How much my father’s prayers at this time [i.e. as a child in Scotland] impressed me I can never explain, nor can any stranger understand. When, on his knees and all of us kneeling around him in Family Worship, he poured out his whole soul with tears for the conversion of the Heathen world to the service of Jesus, and for every personal and domestic need, we all felt as in the presence of the living Saviour, and learned to know him as our Divine friend.[1]

Consequently, before he was twelve years old, Paton said, “I have given my soul to God, and was resolved to aim at being a missionary of the cross, or a minister of the gospel.”[2]

The apostle Paul took this matter of personal example, very seriously. He wrote to the Corinthians,

Be imitators of me (I Cor. 11:1). 

He wrote to the Philippians,

The things you have learned and received and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you (Phil.4:9).

He wrote to Timothy,

The things you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also (II Tim.2:2).

And then,

You followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, and sufferings… (II Tim.3:10).

Conclusion:

It’s a big thing to try and live up to Paul’s parting words to the Ephesians, “in everything I showed you…” But if godly parents will take this charge seriously, they will most likely like Abraham, inherit the promises of God, along with their children. For,

A righteous man who walks in his integrity- how blessed are his sons after him (Prov.20:7).

Is that what you’re living, working and praying for?

 

 

[1] Quoted in John Piper, “21 Servants of Sovereign Joy,” 2018, p.543-44.

[2] Piper, p.545.

Beginning with Home Schooling (26) Judges 13 and Christian Education (II)

Historically, the biggest intruder and violator the family, the church and a free society has confronted, has been the State. It was the State under Pharoah that kidnapped the Hebrews and murdered their babies, and sought to kill Moses (see Exodus 1-2). It was the State that murdered Jesus’ forerunner John, that tried to kill Jesus as a baby (see Mat.2), then murdered Him around AD 33. Not content with this, it then attacked His church (Acts 12:1-3; Rev.13:1-7).

It was the State under Henry VIII in England that opposed the Reformation. He had the great translator William Tyndale strangled and burnt in 1536, and Henry’s daughter Mary was named “Bloody Mary” for good reason; she put some 300 Protestants to death.

The twentieth century graphically bore out this homicidal tendency of evil governments.[1] Its tyrants didn’t only kill those of other countries in war, they began and continued with their own.[2] Any Russian, German or Chinese person under the reigns of Stalin, Hitler or Mao, had very good reason to be afraid for their life, at the hands of their own government.

Thus the care and education of children is committed to parents, so it was to Samson’s future parents that the angel spoke. He firstly visited Manoah’s wife (v.3-5), then at Manoah’s request (v.8), he appeared again, to his wife (v.9). When she then hurried to find her husband, and he returned and beheld the angel, after identifying him, he asked,

Now when your words come to pass, what shall be the boy’s mode of life and his vocation? (v.12)

The angel does not answer Manoah’s question directly. He merely gives Manoah a summary of his original direction to Manoah’s wife, and twice (v.13-14) directs her to do what he commanded her, in their first meeting.

Why is this relevant? Jordan’s comment is helpful:

Why did God appear to the woman rather than to her husband? Is it because Manoah was a bad man, so God had to bypass him? Not at all. It is because the theme, again, is the Seed of the Woman. God appears to the mother, to instruct her how to raise up the Seed. Similarly, God appeared to Rebekah, not to Isaac, to give instruction about the primacy of Jacob over Esau (Gen. 25:22f.). [3]

Whilst both parents have the responsibility to raise their children, it is evident that in this case, along with Rebekah (Gen.25:22-23), it is the mother who received the word of the Lord, and in this case, she is to avoid any wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing.

Matthew Henry’s comments here are helpful:

Observe from Manoah’s enquiry, [1] In general, that, when God is pleased to bestow any mercy upon us, our great care must be how to use it well, and as we ought, because it is then only a mercy indeed when it is rightly managed. God has given us bodies, souls, estates; how shall we order them, that we may answer the intent of the donor, and give a good account of them?

[2] In particular, those to whom God has given children must be very careful how they order them, and what they do unto them, that they may drive out the foolishness that is bound up in their hearts, form their minds and manners well betimes, and train them in the way wherein they should go. Herein pious parents will beg divine assistance…[4]

In this case, the angel gave Manoah no more information than he’d given his wife. He actually summarised what he’d already said, reinforcing to Manoah, “Let the woman pay attention to all that I said” (v.13).

Manoah’s question to the angel related to his future son’s vocation. But a person’s calling is way more important than their career. In the examples of Samson, John the Baptist and Jesus, all of whom were conceived miraculously, they were all destined to die violently, early in life. None of them had a career, that we know of. Manoah’s question to the angel (“What shall be the boy’s mode of life and his vocation?”) was a legitimate one, but the angel gave him no answer to it.

Was it for this reason? Gary North has defined a calling from God as

the most important thing that you can do in which you would be most difficult to replace.

Conclusion:

The thing that was uppermost in God’s mind in relation to Samson was his calling, explained by the angel to his mother:

…he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines (Judges 13:5).

If parents are to prepare their children for anything, it is for this: their calling. Vocations are fine, but they must be secondary to the call of God.

Now here’s my question: what has God prepared your children for?  Are you doing anything about it?

 

 

[1] One of the direct consequences of the First World War was some 900,000 French children being orphaned.

[2] Hitler ordered the execution of the Christian Dietrich Bonhoeffer in 1945, only weeks before he (Hitler) committed suicide.

[3] James Jordan, “Judges: God’s War against Humanism,” 1985, p.225-226.

[4] Matthew Henry’s Commentary, ‘Joshua to Esther,’ p.204.

Beginning with Home Schooling (25) Judges 13 and Christian Education (I)

Introduction:

Then Manoah entreated the Lord and said, “O Lord, please let the man of God whom You have sent come to us again that he may teach us what to do for the boy who is to be born.” God listened to the voice of Manoah… (Judges 13:8).

The notion perpetrated by some, that the Old Testament is somehow an outdated document and of little use today, has brought immeasurable harm to the church. Furthermore, it is an idea that has no Biblical validity, and thus is a foolish notion that should be rejected out of hand. The scripture plainly tells us that

…whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope (Ro.15:4).

After His resurrection, when Jesus met up with two of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, He reproved them for their unbelief (Luke 24:25). Then

He explained to them the things concerning Him in all the scriptures (v.27).

Later, Paul gave the Corinthians a somewhat lengthy historical lesson on Israel’s history (I Cor.10:1-10), explaining that

…these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come (v.11).

Quite simply, the Christian educator must be prepared for instruction from any passage of scripture, from Genesis to Revelation,

…for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (II Tim.3:16-17).

Firstly, we see in this passage from Judges that “the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, so that the Lord gave them into the hands of the Philistines forty years” (v.1).

This is the seventh time that the scripture records a phrase like this in Judges. (See 2:14; 3:8; 3:12-13; 4:2; 6:1; 10:7). It was nothing new for Israel since coming out of Egypt, led by Moses. Once again, their idolatry led to servitude at the hands of their enemies. The scripture then informs us (v.2) that Manoah’s wife was barren. A nation in idolatry and servitude, and a barren wife! Not such a good start for any husband.

But Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life…” (Jn.11:25). For the repentant individual, family, church or nation, despite a multitude of past failures, there is always hope in the Lord.

And in this bleak family and national situation, God sends an angel, who visited Manoah’s wife, saying,

…Behold now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and give birth to a son… (v.3).

God had visited barren women before (Sarah-Gen.21:1-2; Rebekah-Gen.25:20-22 and Rachel-Gen.30:22-24), and there would be a number more before the closing of the canon, Hannah (I Sam.1:19-20) and Elizabeth (Luke 1:5-7, 57) being only two. In the case of Rebekah, God had spoken to her while the twins were in her womb (Gen.25:21-23), giving her advance knowledge of the nature of the boys, and by inference, a specific obligation towards them (see Ro.9:10-13). Now He spoke to Manoah’s wife in relation to her duties and obligations concerning this promised son, even while in her womb.

What does this mean?

Parents have serious responsibilities towards God in relation to their children, to prepare them in and for their calling before Him. Manoah’s wife was directed by the angel to take certain steps for Samson, even before she had conceived.

Does the scripture give us an earlier direction in this regard, from even before the patriarchs? Yes, it does.

Then God said, “Let us make man in Our image, according to our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth…” God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen.1:26, 28).

Some theologians have called this passage the Dominion Mandate. Children are the responsibility of their parents, and in emergencies, their families. When Esther was left orphaned, she was adopted by her Uncle Mordecai, who “…took her as his own daughter” (Esther 2:7). Churches also, have a responsibility to care for their own, and to protect the church and family from the intrusions of evildoers.

What may be a surprise for some, would be that the angel visited the woman, not her husband. But in the totality of scripture, this was not so unusual. Probably the most famous case of this, was Mary’s angelic visitation from Gabriel, with the news that she would bear a son (Luke 1:26-38). As “…a helper suitable…” (Gen.2:18) and “as a fellow heir of the grace of life…” (I Pet.3:7), husbands should rejoice in this visitation, and if the word of God should come to a family by this means, we should be glad.

(To be continued)

Beginning with Home Schooling (22)

The Independent Educator

By Andrew McColl, 3rd September, 2019

Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgements which the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going to possess it, so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. O Israel, you should listen and be careful to do it, that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey (Deut.6:1-3).

True, godly, independent education begins with the Word of God, not the word of man, or anyone else. This is the fearful error our first parents made in the garden, and it is the error that the vast majority of parents have been making since then, even among those that claim to want to give their children a “godly” education.

Jesus promised us that,

…If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free (Jn.8:31-32).

But our enemies have known that naivete was one of our susceptibilities, and they have played on it, hard. In the early years of the Reformation, Luther wrote that

I am very much afraid that the universities and schools will prove to be the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labour in explaining the holy scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place his child where the scriptures do not reign paramount …every institution in which men are not unceasingly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt.

Thus there has been almost unceasing pressure on parents, to place their children “…where the scriptures do not reign paramount.” In what ways has this pressure been manifested?

I am sometimes amazed how much parents want the approval of others, for the choices they are making for their children’s education. This is often sad; even pathetic. Sometimes it seems that the fact that a school has “Christian” in its name, or advertises its “Biblical values,” has “Devotions” each morning, or a massive cross out the front of the school, or advertises the large proportion of their former students who now attend university, is sufficient to ensure significant enrolment numbers.

But all this is superficial. It doesn’t mean that this is a “Christian school.” It simply means that it has some of the common external forms of a Christian school, which are useful for its promotional material. That glossy brochure they use? An advertising tool for gullible parents.

What doesn’t get much publicity, is that private schools in Australia are funded by the State, and the State inspects the school, especially its documents, and its curriculum.

If those documents don’t stack up, that school has a big problem. I was working in a school in 1983 that was inspected, and one of the teachers had not completed her Student Roll correctly. Believe me, that was a major issue. We didn’t have playground fights, abusive teachers or students sitting in run-down school buildings in stifling heat, but one incorrectly completed Roll?

Bureaucratic inspectors will find fault with anything they can. And they don’t want to see too much evidence of the Bible, or God, or Jesus Christ in a school. These are off-limit matters, for they imply religion, ideology and fundamental values.

So when Christians are taken in by superficiality, they have no one to blame but themselves. They ask for trouble and they most certainly will get it. Purporting to provide a child with a Christian education is not the same as giving him one. Finney was right:

I would rather pay any price at all within my means, or even to satisfy myself with one meal a day, to enable me to educate my children at home sooner than give them over to the influence of public schools. Remember that your children will be educated, either by yourself or by someone else. Either truth or error will possess their minds. They will have instruction, and if you do not secure to them right instruction, they will have that which is false (Charles Finney, 1792-1875).

Secondly, Christian schools want funding. Of course, they haven’t considered the implications of this, because funding cannot and should not be offered without a certification and approval process, through the Department of Education.

Is this what Deuteronomy directed parents to do? No, it did not. It left the responsibility to educate children with their parents, as independent educators. And, whatever resources or curriculum they chose to utilize had to be consistent with “…His statutes and His commandments…”

But timid and poorly taught believers haven’t gone this far. Their leaders haven’t: why should they? They may talk about giving children a “Christian education,” but let’s face it: talk is cheap. When they talk about a “Christian education,” they are really meaning a Departmentally approved school, funded by taxpayers. That means a Departmentally approved curriculum.

But what if the Department of Education is dominated by godless bureaucrats who are intolerant of anything Christian? 99% of “Christian” schools want the State’s funding, because it’s essential for the school’s continuation, including the teachers’ wages. So, the school removes anything offensive from its documents, to placate the Department’s inspectors.

“Christian” and offensive? Get it out-now.

Conclusion:

But you really wanted to give your child an independent Christian education? That’s good. You’ll probably have to do it yourself at home, without registration with a godless department.

And isn’t that what God commanded us to do in Deuteronomy, anyway?

Beginning with Home Schooling (21)

From Generation to Generation (1)

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations (Ps.90:1).

Parents who decide to home school should ask themselves what they are going to use. But there is a much more important question for them to resolve.

“Why are we doing this?”

I know there are plenty of legitimate but negative reasons for home schooling: the poverty of public education, the peer-group of schools, poor curriculum and lack of standards. There is no sign this will change soon.

But it’s not sufficient to have lots of negative reasons. Christians really ought to have positive reasons for taking on this task, because it is the positive reasons that should dominate and motivate them, most of all.

I’m a great believer in the discipleship role of the church, but in this, we have to begin at the beginning. Where is that?

In the home and family. Discipleship is great, and it begins with Dad and Mum. In fact, 80% of discipleship should be completed at home. Speaking to Timothy, Paul referred to “…the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure it is in you as well” (II Tim.1:5).

Later, Paul went on to say that “…from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (II Tim.3:15). Timothy’s faith was initiated in his home.

North writes,

It is the family unit which is central for the construction, or reconstruction, of culture…The day-to-day instruction in righteousness which all child-rearing involves is the very heart of a civilization. It is the law-order imparted by parents to children which will determine the success or failure of a society.[1]

Thus the home schooling of a Christian child is a vital aspect of their upbringing. Not because they have learned to read and write (important as those things are), but because for believers, education and discipleship are really one and the same thing.

Home schooling parents do well when they recognise their accountability to God in preparing their children for life. They have these children for a season, which passes remarkably quickly. What should happen in those years?

Hopefully, a lot of things. Firstly, children should understand that they are sinners, destined for hell apart from the grace of God through the blood of Jesus.

Secondly, each child should learn to love God’s Word, so that “…in His law he meditates day and night” (Ps.1:2). Thus their life is to be driven by obedience and faithfulness to God’s Word.

Thirdly, children should learn to be diligent and profitable individuals at home, with domestic tasks where they learn diligence, leading on to employment. This of course is thoroughly Biblical. “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men” (Prov.22:29).

Fourth, children should learn that the Bible must be at the centre of a godly culture. For those of us who hope and pray for great things to happen in our nation spiritually, this can seem unlikely. But the Bible warns us, “Who has despised the day of small things?” (Zech.4:10).

Right under our noses, great and powerful things with huge potential nationally, may very well have commenced. As these Christian home schooling families multiply, and then home schooled children marry and home school their own children, the seeds of revival and great national change are potentially being laid.

There really is a connection between what people believe, and how they reproduce; demographics do mean something. The humanistic nations around the world (like Japan, most of Europe and Russia) are actually dying, for the populace are not having sufficient children. Pharoah wanted to stop the population growth of the children of Israel, because he was afraid of losing control of Egypt (see Ex.1), and the growth of Christian home schooling today promotes fears among modern humanists, too. They should be afraid.

I believe in being optimistic about the future, because unlike many believers today, I have an optimistic eschatology. The scripture says that “He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet” (I Cor.15:25), and He wants to use the church to accomplish this. There really is a great future for the church, despite all the problems which it’s had for 2,000 years, and what we witness today.

A godly people really can re-establish a godly culture, and I believe they will. That’s what God wanted when His people went into the promised land. They were required to initiate a total and irrevocable break with the land’s idolatrous past, utilising God’s law as their base, ridding the land of its evil beliefs and practices, establishing a new, godly culture. Whoever said we should do any different?

When Moses was returning to Egypt, he thought it would be fine to take his adult sons back there, uncircumcised. But Moses had not obeyed God’s requirements; his folly nearly saw him killed (see Ex.4:24-26).

But you thought that discipling your children meant keeping them at home, and teaching them Maths and English by doing their Times Tables, and reading good poetry? Well, what if the Holy Spirit wasn’t happy with such a modest plan, and He wasn’t about to let you off the hook so easily? He has grand plans for them that He wants you to cooperate with, just as He had before the Exodus.

Conclusion:

God wants His people preparing to disciple the nations, so we Christians will have to change our attitude about the future, if we want to prepare the way for our children and grandchildren.

So be scripturally ambitious for your children and grandchildren, expecting God to be using them in years ahead. And if He’s going to use them, He wants you to be diligent in training them in the fear of the Lord, to be “…a wise and understanding people” (Deut.4:6).

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord (I Cor.15:58).

[1] Gary North (www.garynorth.com), “The ‘Little Things’ of Life,” 16/5/2016.