13 The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. 14 He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. 15 Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it.
17 And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!” Is. 44
There is a shield of control that is taken up when you decide to homeschool. We convince ourselves that if we purchase the perfect curriculum or we have our children memorize the right Scriptures, that it will give birth to a child guaranteed to walk in holiness.
All this curriculum
I have labored and agonized over my educational choices for my children. I've listened to experts convince me that this form of teaching or that writing assignment will be the closing arguments to a successful homeschooling career.
Planning, researching, preparing, and asking questions is not wrong. It's when we put our full selves into those things and become resentful when our kids struggle that it is an issue. As a parent, we want a guarentee that something is going to produce our desired results.
It seems as if the Israelites were wanting this very thing too. They measured and cut and fashioned. They shaped and nourished. And in the end, the only thing being produced was self-reflective idol of worship. While they were righteous in their planning and preparing, somewhere along the way, they lost sight of the end game. They became so focused on the details of preparation that they forgot that all of this working was unto the Lord. They weren't taking time to look up from their workbench to see if the Lord was pleased with the results. This is an enormous temptation in homeschooling. We wander around trying to get the best textbooks and use the latest educational theories, but in the end, the Lord is the one who teaches and trains our children in godliness.
Giving it away
We are to continue to be diligent in our teaching of Ancient Greece and the Pythagorean Theorem to our children. But let us not forget that we have to surrender their little hearts to the Lord. Offer the time of studies to the Lord in prayer everyday with your children. Remind them that you don't have all the answers. Point them to the fact that they can have all the answers, but if their heart is cold to the Lord, it's all vanity. For as much as they can solve math facts quickly, they need to be just as fast to offer to help a friend in need.
I want to be able to control my children's hearts. I want to make godly decisions for them. Just because I make all the right decisions for their homeschooling, I am no entitled to the results. But the reality is that as they get older, decision ownership becomes an important part of their education. As I look back on my journey with the Lord, it is in the wrestling, the pain, the doubt, and the confusion that the Lord has reminded me that his hand extends out to my rescue. I need to afford my children the opportunity to grasp his hand too. And if I'm going to trust that his reach is long enough, I have to give up trying to rescue them myself through a solid education alone. This is an amazing post about things to pray for our children.
Our trust and faith needs to be grounded in the Lord, and not simply in the educational choices we make for our children. We can't control their hearts, that is the Lord's territory. But we can bring their hearts into rooms of grace, truth, Scriptural curiosity, and humble question asking.