Over the years, my hair has become grayer and the forces of gravity have helped establish me as an older woman, one who is deemed wise. Thus, I’ve had the opportunity and privilege of being consulted for advice when home schooling parents experience difficulty in the raising and rearing of their children. Having made a point of being a good student of the Bible and having studied the principles of counseling from a Biblical perspective, I have been able to help parents “put on the glasses of Scripture” in order for them to see situations more clearly and be better able to deal with their difficult times.
In my own life, I have had more than one rude awakening regarding the perspectives and behaviors of my own children. The question remains, if I was able to give sound counsel to others in adverse circumstances, how come I wasn’t prepared to see similar things happening within my own family? Now that a number of years have passed since I am no longer parenting minor children, I am better able to assess my conduct in dealing them; what was in line with Scripture and what wasn’t. It is all too easy when in the midst of conflicts to “baptize” what we do as parents because we know our motives and intentions are good. There are times when frustrations and upsets can make us unable to see the forest for the trees.
I am convinced that among the main issues we face as parents (and especially home schooling parents) is raising the kids that God didn’t give us. Simply put: We have an image of what we want our children to be and become (according to the principles we have taught them), and then assume that they have embraced the same for themselves – sometimes when there is significant indications to the contrary. Somewhere along the line, new ideas and influences come into their lives and subtle, but real, shifts begin to take place. For example, what one young girl might find offensive in dress when she was nine now becomes her freedom of expression at sixteen. What a young man might consider rude and inappropriate speech at ten, now identifies him as mature and “cool” to his friends when he speaks that way. Did our children change? Or did the circumstances in which they find themselves change, and their own sinful tendencies begin to emerge in a more obvious way?
Regardless of how acceptable and routine home schooling has become, there still exists much opposition by flesh and blood, let alone principalities and powers in high places. Our Enemy is all too willing to concede our children to us when they are young, only to entice us with the idea that a college degree (especially from a well-renowned secular school) will ably prepare our kids for their callings under God. However, statistics bear testimony (as does my personal experience) that this stage of life is among the most vulnerable for young people in areas of spiritual, emotional, and sexual purity. It is likely that significant damage can and is done to a young person’s witness and convictions when barraged by the onslaught of secular academia. Additionally, since all must venture beyond the walls of the home, worldly influences will be much more accessible at this stage of life. The words of 1 Peter 5:8 ring out loudly, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour.”
Home schooling families (which tend to be larger) have to proceed through this stage with many younger eyes watching. The older child’s “acting out” has to be carefully dealt with so that precedent is not established in the younger ones’ minds. Hence, in the midst of emotional upheavals, the parents’ commitment to the Word of God must remain steadfast. Further, parents need to understand that not all acting out is deliberate defiance. There can be other issues that are under the surface that need to be fleshed out. Sometimes a young person is crying out for help and can’t bring himself or herself to come right out and speak about it. This is where having a network of like-minded, Christian families can be vital in helping maneuver your way through the time of turmoil. The family of God is a vital component in weathering these storms. Parenting is not for the faint of heart, but God has given us His Word and older, experienced believers to assist us in the journey.