This week we celebrate the coming of the Christ-child–the Son of God, given to the world, entrusted to a carpenter and his wife to be raised. Can you imagine trusting such a precious gift to humans so young and unprepared?
In a smaller, more human sense, our story is not so different.
Our children belong to the God Who created them.
We will one day release them into the world to fulfill the purpose for which He created them.
In the meantime, God is trusting us to provide for them, to nurture and guide them.
As we ponder the question, “Whose child is this?” we remember what a privilege and responsibility we owe God.
He knows the plans He has for each child–a future and a hope. Our job is to help them find their God-given purpose. We don’t dictate their purpose nor expect them to live out our plans for them. We lead them to God and pray for them without ceasing, knowing that He is perfectly able to speak to them as He does to us. Our job is to prepare and encourage them.
Children are the raw material God has given us to steward for Him.
When the Master returns, the steward gives an account of all he has done. Sobering, eh? I might say, “Well, I’m human, but I did my best.” If I’m honest, though, I know there are some areas where I didn’t do my best, where my own humanness dulled my shiny hopes. The problem is that even as parents, we’re still growing in many ways. Sometimes we look back at our younger selves and wish we could do some things over. We’d do better next time.
Perhaps the urge to do it over, do things better, is part of a grandparent’s perspective? I don’t know yet, but when I get there, I will try hard to remember that I had my turn and that God entrusted my grandchildren to their own parents to raise. I will still have a role, but it will be different…or maybe it’s the same–to release my own children to fulfill the purpose God gave them as parents and to encourage them in their efforts as they respond to Him.
Raising a child does not take a village.
If we agree that children belong to God and to their parents, then it goes without saying that they do not belong to “the Village”–to the government or the school system or society at large. It’s true that God has placed some authorities over us as safeguards and in the role of advisers, but (as with grandparents) that’s not the same level of responsibility as those who have “skin in the game”–those who are materially at risk, those who will answer to God. When they are grown, they will be God’s gift to the world, but that is not the same as granting the world power over them. In fact, it is by realizing that we answer to God that we develop a balanced self-image, conviction, and integrity.
So how do parents find balance?
Different states place different requirements on homeschooling families. State and federal governments may sometimes over-reach their rightful role as protectors and advisers, so good parents have the added difficulty of answering to God as He is leading and also fulfilling man’s requirements. It helps to know that ALL good parenting is “teaching”, therefore good parents “school” every day. Relax in that assurance during the holidays. Your children learn a great deal that does not come from textbooks and workbooks. In fact, I’d submit that the most important life lessons are not to be found in books at all. If you feel torn between a much-needed holiday and the tyranny of secular schedules, try looking deeper to see what your children are learning from your holiday activities.ALL good parenting is teaching, therefore good parents school every day. Click To Tweet
- Holiday baking? Count that as Home and Family Living or World Geography, if your recipes represent different lands and cultures.
- Christmas shopping? If they’re learning to budget their own money, do comparative shopping, and think creatively about how to stretch their funds, that’s Economics and Personal Finance.
- Going to a holiday concert or stage performance or singing in a Christmas cantata? Fine arts, music, and theater are valid elective subjects, and opportunities to participate broaden the mind.
- Traveling? US Geography for sure!
- A visit with older relatives? They are learning about their cultural heritage and “American History, WWII to present.”
- Above all, the growing awareness and gratitude we feel as we celebrate God’s extraordinary Gift to us causes us to develop into selfless servants. When a child’s identity in Christ is firmly in place, they grow to be good citizens living called lives. THAT is the true source of “socialization” and citizenship.
So enjoy these holy days! Build memories!
In that same spirit, I’ll be taking a break from the blog to celebrate with my own family. See you January 4th! 🙂