One of our homeschooling goals is to raise citizens of the kingdom of heaven who care about their earthly country as well. We want to equip them to influence their culture for Christ…and this includes political action.
How can we equip our children to influence their culture for Christ?
- Obviously, it begins with teaching our children about the Lord, reading the Bible to and with them, praying, and attending church together.
- It also involves studying the ideas that influence our world, with their history, flaws, and implications. While this is an integral element of both classical and Charlotte Mason education, it can easily become part of any style of homeschooling.
- And it involves keeping up with current events. My older teens keep up with the news, and Ambleside Online inspired one of them to write a short summary of the top 3-5 news events each week. Note that because of the often brutal and depressing content, reading or watching the news is not appropriate for everyone. However, even knowing only the basics of what is going on is enough for a person who wants to make a difference.
Why should we even bother trying to influence politics? Is it not enough just to preach the gospel?
While our foundation is most definitely the gospel, Christians have a duty to work for God’s glory, truth, and will in all of life. Furthermore, without the freedoms of our western societies, preaching the gospel becomes a much more dangerous and difficult task. Since Christianity and Biblical morals and freedoms are under attack throughout our world, we all can find some niche in which to use our talents. Of course, as moms our primary task is to love our husbands and children, but many of us do have some time left over to be involved, with our families, in other matters.
How can we become involved?
No matter where you live, there are serious issues Christians can and should try to influence. We in Canada are blessed with dynamic organizations such as ARPA which help inform, equip, and mobilize Christians for political action. Canada, for example, is currently facing some fundamental challenges to Christian living and worldview, as outlined on the ARPA website:
- Foundational issues such as freedom of religion, association, and expression are being challenged in the opposition to a Christian law school.
- The objective value of human life simply because it is human is being challenged in a Supreme Court case about assisted suicide.
- The right of parents to teach their children the truth about God is being challenged by Quebec’s insistence that public and private schools—and potentially homeschools, too—must teach the government’s views of religion.
And of course, there is the shocking fact that no pre-born baby of any age has any legal protection under Canadian law. In fact, in Canada, it is legal to kill even full-term babies as long as they are not yet born. (For more information and to get involved, see WeNeedALaw.ca)
How will these ideas about civics impact our homeschooling?
We parents need to help our teens understand the issues and show them how to get involved. In our homeschools studying civics should involve not only book learning but also practical work as our families learn to make a difference by actually making a difference. So there will be hands-on work such as the March for Life, contacting politicians, or perhaps even helping a worthy candidate’s campaign.
But, of course, book learning is important too. As Nancy Pearcey pointed out in Total Truth, the battle is fought, and lost, in our universities, culture, and media before it ever reaches the political arena. So we need to equip our children to think, analyse, and influence their culture in these pre-political ways as well. Besides the study of Biblical thought and western civilization’s ‘great ideas’, your teens might be ready for some valuable resources I mentioned in an earlier post:
- God and Government by C. Van Dam: This book addresses issues such as the duties of governments and citizens “through the eyes of Scripture and against the backdrop of North America’s dual heritage of Christianity and humanism.” Each chapter concludes with an extensive booklist, making God and Government a possible basis for an intense high school course as well as an enlightening resource for adults.
- Christian Citizenship Guide by Michael Wagner: A concise guide to Christianity and Canadian political life that discusses history, the human rights movement, and what you can do.
- The Omnibus curriculum from Veritas Press: Political thought and practice through the centuries are studied from a robust Christian point of view. Very illuminating.
- The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good by Greer and Haggard: An indispensable reminder for all of us, no matter what ministry we are involved in, to do good for the right reasons and in the right way.
May our Lord be glorified as we try to teach our children how citizenship in our earthly countries is influenced by our heavenly citizenship.
Disclosure: As always, I am not compensated for recommending resources.