Each of the talks I attended at our homeschooling conference this year had the same message: You can only pass on to your children what is already an integral part of you. If you talk about something you don’t believe or do, they will not listen to what you say.
Or, as keynote speaker Steve Demme emphasized:
“You can teach what you know but you can only reproduce who you are.”
If we let God work deep in our own hearts, then we will become qualified to raise our kids. The more we take in God’s love, the more we can give his love. So, in order to be equipped to teach our children and to reach out to those around us, we need to spend time with God. In other words, we need to read the Bible, ponder it, and pray. Only then will we see our children as God sees them. (From The Family that Stays Together Stays Together.)
This is also crucial in communication, because in communication our hearts are the fundamental issue. For any dominant personality—and parents are by their very role in a dominant position—it is important to “create a safe place for others to hold opinions differing from mine while still feeling welcomed, embraced and loved”. This involves living close to God; understanding the importance of love; watching our tone of voice, face, and body language; valuing understanding over convincing; and much more. Then, from a point of trust and understanding, we can reach hearts.
In finances and stewardship, again, “your money story will be caught by your kids” and what you believe and do matters a whole lot more than what you say.
Similarly in sex education, “through our spiritual health, we impart health to our kids” and “we need to deal with our issues”.
Obviously, academic topics were presented at the conference as well, and academics are the meat of home education by definition. There is no denying that.
On the other hand, as parents we need to heed the message that seemed to be the highlight of the conference:
In our families, God works through who we are and how we live more than by what we say, although that is important too.
And thus, for us homeschoolers, the take home message is summed up in a few simple, regular things:
- Love the Lord your God and those he puts on your path.
- Read the Bible.
- Live close to the Lord and obey his Word, even though doing that may seem so mundane.
Yes, academics are important. Like you, I work very hard to provide my children with the best possible academic education, because that is what we have been called to do. But for Christian parents, there’s something even more important, to teach our children to love and serve the Lord.
And that, according to Deuteronomy 6:4-9, is possible only if we live close to him ourselves.
May God bless us as we show our children what it means to love the Lord our God with our whole hearts, souls, minds, and strength, and our neighbors as ourselves—and may he patiently re-teach us parents the same thing, over and over and over, for we, like our children, forget so easily.
Did you ever learn something simple but profound at a homeschooling conference?
Disclosure: I am not compensated for this discussion or for mentioning the MP3 recording.