Inspired by Exposing the Seven Major Blind Spots of Homeschoolers by Reb Bradley
I was talking to a young man a few months back who had recently surrendered his life to Christ after a long period of running. He had been raised in the church by Christian parents whose walk with Christ was deep and passionate. It was a great surprise to them when they began having trouble with their son, and they were completely broken when he decided to walk away from the church.
As he shared his testimony with me, I asked him what it was that compelled him to leave in the first place. His parents loved the Lord, the church was a sound, Bible-believing church, his parents seemed to foster a good relationship with their children . . . everything seemed right from the outside looking in. His response was intriguing. He said that church was all about appearances–that his parents always told him what he should and should not be doing but never walked with him through the ‘why.’ He knew what he was supposed to do (and not do) but never grasped the value of it other than to look good.
This young man had been raised to understand that appearances are everything. He was taught to avoid some behaviors and embrace others. These behaviors were good and biblical, but the focus was the behavior and not the heart behind them. Though his parent’s intentions were pure and good and right, the message that was sent to this young man was that he was supposed to conduct himself properly so he wouldn’t be seen as, well, himself.
In his book Shepherding a Child’s Heart, author Tedd Tripp encourages parents to address heart issues as a way of correcting behavior rather than addressing the behavior only. God works with us the same way. He uses circumstances and his Living Word to convict our heart and lead us to live under the Spirit of the Law in which the motive is to please God in word, deed, thought, and motive rather than under the letter of the Law which compels us to live by lines focusing on the sin and how we can avoid crossing the line. Teaching your children ‘what’ without helping them understand ‘why’ fosters an empty religion that is easily abandoned later in life.
As a homeschool parent you have a unique privilege. You can teach your children that 2+2=4, and you can also teach them why. You can teach your student that our planet is a delicate balance that supports a variety of life, and you can teach them why. You can impart both knowledge and wisdom. Too often we teach the ‘what’ absent of the ‘why’ and we wonder why our children are not compelled to hang on to the lessons we teach. They just don’t grasp the value of the behavior.
For the sake of future generations, You shall address heart issues to change behavior, not just the behavior itself. It isn’t just that Tommy isn’t sharing; Tommy is wrestling with a selfish heart. Mary isn’t just sneaking a cookie; she is being defiant and breaking her relationship with her parents. You can correct the behavior, and they will mind when you are around to catch them, or you can address the heart issue and with the Holy Spirit turn their heart to Christ so that their desire is to please him whether you are looming or not. The Christian life and journey is not an abstract list of “dos and don’ts”; it is a desire to seek, know, and please God in everything. This is how we must both teach and train our children.
Missed part 2? No problem! Read The Ten Commandments of Homeschooling – part 2 of 10
Learn more about the author at Economy of the Soul