Food for Thought for Homeschool Moms (and other onlookers)

"In a seemingly obscure NT passage of Scripture, Jesus says some of the most profound words concerning education and discipleship in the entire Bible. Luke records His words: 'A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.' (Luke 6:40) ... This raises one of the most important questions Christian parents will face concerning the discipleship of their children. Whom will your children resemble at the completion of their 'formal' education?"

~Voddie Baucham Jr. , Family Driven Faith, p.123

Of course, this makes me consider carefully who else I might ever put as a teacher over my children (I currently teach our children at home, and my husband does an excellent job discipling through regular family devotions and life-on-life discipleship of our children). And when I first read this passage, I'll be honest-- that's where my mind went... "wow! I can't imagine putting some other random person or entity in charge of my children's character!"

But it also reminds me of my own inadequacies as a teacher of my children. If my children continue to be fully trained by my husband and I, will that be enough? Am I being all that I want them to one day be? And of course, the answer is woefully "no". I lack so much that I want them to have. When I look at the other options, though, I am personally convicted that the responsibility rests on me to teach my children (even if I eventually "outsource" for things like geometry and physics).

Which means I need to BE what I want them to become.

I've got a judgmental/critical spirit that needs to be turned away from. I've got impatience, arrogance, hatred, bitterness, and more that needs to be dealt with... and I lack the self-control, love for others, and compassion that I desperately want my children to have. It is ridiculous for me to try to teach them to avoid doing the things that they consistently see me doing (losing my temper, criticizing others)... and it is silly for me to hope to teach them to consistently do things that I don't do (take my frustrations to God in prayer first, for example) .

Which means I've got a lot of work to do. The only solution, of course, is that I intentionally and willfully make Jesus my teacher-- and prayerfully strive to become more and more filled with Him, and thus, more and more like Him. I must be in the Word-- I must be filling my mind with the pure, good, and right, and casting off those sins that would destroy both me and my children.

It's a tall order-- only possible with His grace.


Brenda said...

Jess I needed to hear this this morning! I'm thinking both about who I let teach them, and also what I need to work on. That second one is not very pleasant to think about, is it? It is only by depending on the Lord that I can hope to become what I want them to be.

Great post.

Terry said...

Another great post, a tall order for all parents I'm sure!

Ashley Jantz said...

Wow, Jess, this was an incredible insight and so divinely laid in front of my eyes this afternoon. Thank you so much for your honesty and insight. I find myself listing the exact same shortcomings, wishing I were a better example to my daughter and son. Especially as I'm beginning to see my daughter develop a short temper just like me. Wow -- how quickly they learn!

Tim & Richelle said...

Your words were encouraging to me as we are the administrators of a local/national school where we work - not just with a goal of impacting the lives of students, but also our teachers - and we are in the midst of dealing with some really hard issues.

Thank you.

Jess said...

Isn't it (sadly) true, that they mimic what they see in us? I've definitely seen that lately in my oldest son in particular. I'm seeing things in him that need to be corrected- but they need to be corrected in me too. What a challenge!

Muddy Toes said...

Oh, I've never linked anyone before - didn't know it would show up in your comments! :o)
Wonderful, thought-provoking post! I think this one will go down as a life-lesson for me!
Blessings :o)

Serena said...

Excellent post, Jess! You are always putting into lucid words what I can only think and feel. I'm going to link to this post. ;)

Anonymous said...

While I think that this verse is teaching about how we become like our teachers (kids AND adults)... I don't think it's a call to homeschooling and I don't think you can use it as an argument for that.
I was NOT homeschooled growing up and I remember tons of things that my teachers taught me BUT, since my parents taught me well, I always filtered what they taught me through what my parents taught and what the Bible taught. (I remember doing this even in first grade)...
I'm not knocking homeschool, but I don't think that you can use this verse (or other verses) to say that homeschooling is the Biblical way.

Jess said...

Well, I didn't write to promote universal homeschooling. :)

I used the verse as an example of another reason why I personally feel compelled to continue homeschooling at present... but more importantly, as a reason why I must focus on growing in my role AS a disciple of Jesus.

I went to public schools too, all the way through school. I come from your same perspective in that regard.

It's misreading the post if you think I'm suggesting everyone who doesn't homeschool should go out and buy curriculum right now. Rather, this piece is aimed at homeschool moms to remind us of the ramifications of our task (see the title).


darci said...

what a powerful verse. i have lived in fear of this, in a way..I am SO inadequate, in fact, I think beyond inadequate as I am sure I load my precious kids up with various pieces of 'baggage'. But two things calm my heart. :) One, God is bigger than my inadequacies. As I raise them in love, I pray and pray and pray, for God's protection over them from my failings. Two, THEY have the Holy Spirit in them. That is so powerful and beautiful to me. When they sin, to be able to tell them, we'll never be perfect on this earth. Someday, yes, but not here. We CAN"T live the 'Christian life'..but Christ IN us can. I want my kids to know from a VEry young age that it is all about abiding in Christ and letting His life flow thru them. It sometimes feels like I have SO FAR to go, though to get to that 'abiding' stage. But I know truthfully He is THERE and it's not so far. As I ramble on....

Anna said...

I have been trying to be more conscientious in teaching my children. It is amazing how quickly they pick up on everything-- the good and the bad. I know many of my weaknesses, and I don't want them to struggle with the same things.
I have also been very aware lately that we teach everyone around us through our words, actions, and decisions. Whether we are parents, neighbors, employees/employers, customers, etc, we are constantly being observed. I need much improvement in this area.

Domestikate said...

Wow, are you sure you haven't visited the thoughts in my head?!? After having my children in public school for many years, we plan on homeschooling in the fall. Since we made this decision I have been plagued with thoughts of inadequacy in my own character. "See you lost your temper again, how are you supposed to teach your kids godly character if you can't even control yourself..." The enemy so tries to throw this in my face time and time again. (Maybe that should be the clue we're on the right track?) Thank you for pointing me back to where MY godly character needs to come from. I need to stop trying to be "self-controlled" and readily accept the Holy Spirit's control.

Thank you for your honesty and being real.

P.S. To "anonymous"... We have had our boys (3rd and 6th grades) in public school since Kindergarten. At first I thought all my homeschooling friends might judge me for my decision because of their strong convictions to homeschool. What I realized is that just because they may use scripture to support THEIR decision didn't mean they were using it to judge those who do not homeschool. On the contrary, they have always encouraged me and respected my decision. I would guess that Jess didn't write this post to judge others, rather to examine her own heart. All parents, whether they homeschool or not, could use this verse as encouragement to make sure we are being the example we need to be for our kids.

Amanda said...

I've been reading for awhile but I don't think I've commented before. Awesome post ... I've been very convicted lately about what I am modeling for my children (4 and 2). I am already seeing negative behaviors in them that I can also see when I look in the mirror. Thanks for the timely reminder!

The Pauls' said...

Well said!
I want to be like Jesus who said "But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do." John 14:31a