Your morning commute, if not already slower, soon will be. Schools are getting back into session, and thus, the routines of September through May will return.
It is a sad commentary on our culture that many fathers and mothers view this time of year with great relief, thinking that now the kids will learn. Now there will be six to eight hours each weekday where the children are occupied, and consequently for the most part, out of their hairs.
Of course, parenthood doesn’t come to a screeching halt with the dawn of a new school year, and the previous paragraph might be viewed as some as an overreaction to the worst of situations. To a degree that might be true. However, it is an undeniable reality that many parents check out, whether actively or passively, with regards to the education of their children because someone else is doing the teaching.
The Scriptures could not be more clear that this mindset is antithetical to what it means to be a godly father or mother.
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. – Deuteronomy 6:5-7 (emphasis mine)
The LORD is straightforward in His instruction to His people, in this case, the nation of Israel. The training of a child is something that is to be done at all times and it is in direct correlation to one’s love of the LORD. Yet, this is not merely an Old Testament admonition, for Jesus repeats the “greatest commandment” in the Gospels and Paul speaks to parents, particularly fathers, as it relates to their children.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. – Ephesians 6:4 (emphasis mine)
Because the church and families have ceded the God-given responsibility and authority to educate our children to the state, parents today have for the most part forsaken the discipline and instruction of the Lord of their progeny because they are no longer the ones who provide the discipline and instruction in anything else.
It’s the pastor’s job, the youth minister’s job, the Sunday School teacher’s job. That is the all too common attitude.
Now, my point in writing this is not to make a case for home schooling, against public education, or any other type of schooling. I certainly have passionate opinions on the subject but they miss the point of this post.
If you are a parent of a school age child, you’re right now or getting ready to do one of several things: teach your own children in your home, send them to a private school (whether it be “Christian” or secular), or send them to public government-run schools funded by tax dollars. My descriptions of the options probably let you know my preference, admittedly, but regardless of which option you choose, you, and no one else, are the one responsible for teaching your children, especially as it pertains to word of God.
There are some proponents of public government education who feel as though it is the government’s responsibility to teach children. Tragically, very many Christians dads and moms have bought into this lie at the expense of doing what is best, which is what the word of God teaches. Wherever your sons and daughters go to school, it is still your job, dad, and your job, mom, to teach your children.
The quote on the school sign pictured above may be displayed with the absolute best of intentions, but the thought behind the statement still reveals the ungodly attitude many have toward children and education.
“School has begun / Thank you parents / We get them now”
What’s implied here is that the children belong to the system and the parents have been overseeing things in the off months. This is the attitude of the very worst in government education, but the blame lies at the feet of fathers and mothers who, in attitude and/or practice, are all too thankful to let the schools have them.
Examine your heart and the time you spend with your children. Do not, in thought or in action, feed into the lie. Teach your children, especially in the things of the Lord, or else you are living in disobedience by not living up to your God-giving responsibilities. Your children are yours. No one gets them but you. Now, you show them Jesus Christ always.