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Teach them ...

What a privilege it is to have been called out of the world and to have become God's people! Whilst we walk through our symbolic wilderness, we often gain valuable exhortation from God's people in the literal wilderness. It is therefore not surprising that when we consider the education of our children, we gain equally valuable guidance from considering God's instruction to His people in the wilderness regarding the teaching of their children:

"For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons; Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children."

Deuteronomy 4:7-10

In order to preserve the greatness of the nation, they needed to teach their children the righteous laws and statues that God had given them. It was to be an on going venture, self perpetuating through all generations of God's people. This was essential if they were to learn to fear the LORD their God.

The same message comes through only two chapters later:

"Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."

Deuteronomy 6:1-7

Now we see not only the requirement to teach the children, but also the depth of the teaching - 'diligently' - and the regularity and amount of teaching - when sitting at home, when out walking, when going to bed, when getting up in the morning. The requirement to teach the children was a full time task, not a part time pastime when the children were available.

Once again, the importance of doing this is stressed a little later in Deuteronomy, showing the emphasis God placed on the teaching of His people's children:

"Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."

Deuteronomy 11:18-19

We also do well to consider the Lord Jesus Christ's attitude toward children, and at the same time be warned against adopting the disciples' attitude:

"And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them."

Mark 10:13-16


Christadelphian Home Schooling, UK

Christadelphian Home Schooling, UK

Sending children to school

All too often we see children pushed away in the society in which we live. They often seem inconvenient to parents who need to be elsewhere. We see them taken to early morning and after school clubs, the present government has recently encouraged this to happen within schools. The amount of time that parents spend with their children is diminishing fast and we need to be on our guard not to let this be the accepted 'norm' in the brotherhood. Jesus' approach was different - "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not". He obviously was not in favour of pushing them away - why? Because he knew that the manner of children is what is needed in the Kingdom of God.

So what were the qualities of a child that Jesus had in mind when he said "Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein"?

Surely it was those of trust and the willingness to learn. It seems apparent that God expected the children of His people to learn by asking questions:

"And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD's passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped."

Exodus 12:26-27

"And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the LORD brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage: And it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the LORD slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of beast: therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all that openeth the matrix, being males; but all the firstborn of my children I redeem."

Exodus 13:14-15

"And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying, Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man, And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night. Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man: And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever."

Joshua 4:1-7

"And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal. And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones? Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land."

Joshua 4:20-22

God knows that children are prone to asking questions - that is how they learn. In Bible times there would be no doubt who those questions would be directed at - their parents or the Rabbis in later times. Yet today who are they most likely to ask? We would all hope it would be us, their parents, but in reality we have to admit that we can no longer assume that this will be the case.

Children today are taught to question everything, even the beliefs of their parents. They are encouraged to seek advice from many different quarters. Add to this the amount of time that they spend with us compared with the time they spend at school and with their friends and we start wondering "Who do they ask when they want to find out the answer to their many questions?"

Consider a very simple break down of an average week day of a child:

Getting up and getting ready for school - 1 hr

At school - 7 hrs

Homework/playing - 2 hrs

Sleeping - 9 hrs

Total - 19 hrs

19 hours when we do not have any opportunity for any input into their learning. It leaves just 5 hours when we can exert some sort of influence over the children of God's people. There can be no doubt that this figure is a VERY GENEROUS estimate and in reality, the figure will be far lower, given the world's insidious tendency to grab as much of our time as well as that of our children.

Yet consider the greater percentage of waking hours that school and friends have to influence our children. We should be asking the question - "Who are they most likely to ask and what are the answers they are going to receive?"

What exactly are our children learning for the majority of their waking hours during the week? Can we be sure that it is what we want them to learn? Is it what God wants His people's children to learn?

"Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD."

Psalm 34:11

We can be absolutely positive that they will not learn "the fear of the LORD"! This is clearly our duty, one which should be passed down from one generation to another and the purpose of this comes out very clearly in Psalm 78:

"Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God."

Psalm 78:1-8


Christadelphian Home Schooling, UK

One of the greatest benefits of teaching our children at home is that we are in control.


Christadelphian Home Schooling, UK

We owe it to our children to pass on the knowledge and understanding of the privilege we enjoy "That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments". It is important that we adopt the same approach as we see time after time in the opening chapters of Proverbs:

"My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:"

Proverbs 1:8

"My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;"

Proverbs 2:1-2

"My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:"

Proverbs 3:1

"Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live."

Proverbs 4:1-4

"My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life"

Proverbs 6:20-23

The 'son' in the Proverbs is instructed to listen to the words of his parents and we need to realise that a child going to school has two sets of parents:

1) moral/spiritual 'parents' - us in the home

2) educational 'parents' - teachers in school (teachers are in loco parentis!)

We may think that there is no overlap and therefore there is no conflict. The reality is that in so many different areas, teachers will instil in young minds moral and spiritual ideas that we would not share! We are NOT in total control of the moral and spiritual development of our children whilst ever they are exposed to the school system.

Sadly, the situation is spiralling downwards. The place that our parents and grandparents could remember as sharing, to some extent, the moral and spiritual values as they had at home has been swallowed up in humanism!

It is important that we remember the well known words of Proverbs 22:6

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

The question we have to face up to in this day and age is "What is the way in which our children are being trained up in?"

We have three basic options with regard to our children's learning:

1) Let them go through the process, let them make the choice - it is their life, it's up to them.

2) Operate a dual system approach whereby they learn the ways of the world from a humanist viewpoint at school and then have it knocked out of them and replaced by learning God's ways from us at home. The hope being that we eventually win the battle for their mind.

3) Confine them, "narrow" them/dedicate them (the literal meaning behind "Train up" in Proverbs 22:6) to a single system of learning in which everything is understood in the context of Divine values and viewpoints.

The choice is ours! However, there is only one way that we can have control over what our children learn - teach them at home. We are not advocating teaching solely from the Bible and nothing else, but rather that the teaching of ALL subjects is done from a correct perspective, from a Godly perspective.

One of the greatest benefits of teaching our children at home is that we are in control. We decide what is taught and how. We have total control over our children's safety. We are able to tailor-make our teaching to benefit our children, so that girls can be taught how to run the home, how to bake, how to knit and sew. We are in a position to equip our children for a spiritually governed approach to life. The boys can be encouraged to adopt subjects and careers that will not conflict with their embracing of the truth. The possibilities are endless and exciting because we are in control.

 

Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matt. 6:33


Christadelphian Home Schooling, UK