Thursday, September 3, 2020

What are you teaching your kids?

Whether you are teaching your kids from home by choice, or due to COVID school closures, please let this thought from I Corinthians 13 (often called ”the love chapter”) guide you in this upcoming school year:

”And though I have [...] all knowledge [...], and have not charity, I am nothing.”

Far more than the academics you are teaching your kids, you are imparting to them what truly matters: lessons in character, morality, and Christianity - by YOUR ACTIONS! Those are the things that really matter in the scope of things, not whether your child could read early, or knew his multiplication facts better than any of his peers. Those are vain pursuits of wanting to have a “trophy child” for your own parental aggrandizement, much to the detriment of your child and the cause of Christ. 

If you are getting angry with your child/student because they are not remembering their letter sounds, or because they would rather see what bugs they can find under overturned rocks than sit lined up neatly like little tin soldiers, or because to them, learning involves sensory experiences even if they are messy, or because they don’t fulfill your expectations of what homeschooling *should* look like, or the kind of scholars it *should* produce - it is then high time to take a step (or ten) back. 

Remember, it is possible to teach/train a child to do virtually anything, including academics. The human mind is incredible in its capacity and adaptability. The question is not WHAT you can teach your child, and WHEN. The question is what is the PRICE you will pay to have them perform xyz your circus act. 

Remember this especially when dealing with sweet, young, playful kindergarteners and elementary students. Don’t squelch the wonder of learning and discovery with boring drills, harsh lessons, impatience, and anger. Time takes time. Your kids will not be the greatest scholars that ever lived, nor will they grow up to be illiterate. They will most likely be average scholars, just like the rest of us with our individual strengths and weaknesses. They will not be able to make right all the things you have ever struggled with in life. Where they CAN shine is not academics, but their love for the Lord and their zeal in wanting to walk with Him, all the days of their lives. That cannot be taught, only “caught.” Academics pale in importance by comparison. 

Unless you are dealing with open defiance or willful sinfulness that does not respond to gentle correction, there is no need to be harsh or militaristic in your approach to teaching, or parenting in general for that matter. I need this admonition myself often, but have seen how sweet and easy life can be when we remember that “charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” 

Teach your kids, by example, to love one another and to love God. Even if you never teach them any academics, they will still be fine.