Saturday, November 21, 2009

What are you willing to sacrifice?

While browsing the library last week I came across a book titled The Guidance Manual for the Christian Home School. The book's focus is preparing your children for college and career with a biblical perspective. I really enjoyed it as the writers seemed to be as conservative as I am. It's one of those books every Christian homeschool should have, even if your children are practically "babies" like mine.

It's the sort of book you'll go to through the years of your homeschool. The authors (David and Laurie Callihan) discuss all sorts of subjects like:

-Inspiring your children to love learning
-Developing a godly character and instilling good morals
-Guiding toward a Christian worldview
-Encouraging natural abilities and recognizing spiritual gifts
-Planning for long-range goals and preparing children for roles as husbands, wives, and parents (teaching them how to cook, clean, manage money, etc)
-Home educating special needs children
-Preparing for college, ministry, military, career or other callings.

I most definitely recommend this book, but I didn't come here to write a review for it. Rather, I wanted to share with you a wonderful, thought-provoking question from their book:

What are we willing to sacrifice to see that our children are raised in a loving, godly home where they know the value of hard work, caring relationships, and loving commitment?

I find parents today are struggling with two points- selfishness and busyness- that keep them from truly focusing on their children and providing the godly environment and faithful homeschool they so long for.

I spent a lot of time contemplating this question last night. Am I willing to sacrifice for the good of our children? Am I willing to set aside my own selfish motives and desires? Am I willing to cleanse my home of things that distract from our mission? Am I willing to practice self-control and be a good manager of our time?

If we step back and look at our lives we will realize that there will be sacrifice made somewhere, somehow. Will we sacrifice our morals, our calling, and our family to pursue things that are temporary or trivial?

I love to look at the lives of so many of my homeschooling friends who have made wonderful sacrifices for the sake of their families. I know many women who have given up successful careers to be keepers of their home. Many would call this a waste of their talent, but God sees the truth. He knows that time spent discipling, training, nourishing, and loving our children is never wasteful. Maybe our sacrifice doesn't seem as noble. Maybe our sacrifice should simply be to shut off the computer, turn off the television, and really focus on our children. Maybe our sacrifice is to let go of our busy nature. I think, at times, we confuse busyness and being active with being truly productive. Maybe our sacrifice is to let go of our lazy nature.

I know of several families who have made the commitment to not allow any "filth" into their home. Some of these people have chosen to have a tv-free home, while others restrict television time and filter what their children are allowed to watch.

There's a verse that really convicts me every time I read it.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. (NASB- Philippians 4:8)

I feel that this should be the feel and spirit of our home, and in order for it to be the spirit of our home, it must be the spirit of the parents. If this is to be the spirit of our home, then we must follow the instruction of the bible and lay aside sinful things and anything that would weigh us down and hold us back from living a faithful and godly life (Hebrews 12:1-2). If we aren't living godly lives, then we cannot have a godly homeschool and we cannot successfully teach our children to live godly lives.

Are we willing to sacrifice? Are we willing to lay aside those weights and sins? Sometimes some of the things that hinder us aren't necessarily sinful, but they become sinful because they distract us from our mission and keep us from whole-heartedly doing God's will.

I know, for myself, it is a struggle to keep focused, and every day I have to ask for God's forgiveness and pray for help in training and raising our children. There are many days when I go to bed and feel that we were not productive, realizing that it was my fault and understanding, with much shame, that I fell short of my calling.

Whether you homeschool or not, as Christians, there are sacrifices to be made. Society encourages and applauds things God hates and we must understand that, if we choose to protect our children and live biblically directed lives, we will be seen as radically religious. We may be told that we are too strict or overbearing. You see, society seems to believe that sheltering children and living self-controlled, pure lives is a ridiculous and foreign concept. (Why do you think the Duggar family's show gets so much attention? People are stunned to see a family living a godly lifestyle and shunning worldly practices!)

Anyway, so I've rambled quite a bit (whenever I ponder something overnight, my brain usually goes in all sorts of directions), but hopefully I've made some sense.

I know I have to be reminded of the goals and ultimate reason for why we do what we do (or why we need to do what must be done). My children are worth it. We're not just talking about their education here- we're talking about their salvation.

So, take the time to ask yourself that question:

What are YOU willing to sacrifice to see that our children are raised in a loving, godly home where they know the value of hard work, caring relationships, and loving commitment?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Little Moments

Homeschooling starts at birth. Homeschooling doesn't just happen when we sit down and specifically, intentionally teach our children. In fact, I would dare to say that the majority of homeschooling happens in those little moments.....

....when we read to our children.
....when they help us mix, wisk, and scoop in the kitchen.
....when we take them grocery shopping with us. they help us fold the clothes. they help us "clean" the house. we have little conversations here and there....

And these are the moments that are most precious! What's even more precious is when we see our little ones teaching the "even-littler" ones. :)