Thursday, September 12, 2013

Teaching the Tender Ones

Another school season is upon us (though we don't every really take a big break). For our family, this is another year of education and training at home for our six children.

This schooling adventure all really started eight or so years ago when O was a lad and many of the other boys his age were being sent off to cute little preschools wearing their adorable little backpacks while their cute little mommies were going out for coffee or out to the gym. And at first, I really just didn't want to say goodbye to my firstborn son. "It's too early!" I protested (to myself) as other three and four year-olds waved good-bye to their parents and their mothers told me confidently, "They LOVE school. They are so social; they really need this."

I thought of Hannah and the son she prayed for and how she nursed Samuel and taught him and wouldn't leave with her husband for the yearly sacrifice but knew that time would come soon enough. But not yet. (1 Samuel 1)

I think now of the son mentioned in Proverbs, who was taught when he "was tender, the only one in the sight of his mother" (Proverbs 4:3). It seems that wise men realize that much can be taught to our young ones. Not only do we lead by example, but the wise father instructed his children. Intentionally.

Back in the first days of educating at home, I wanted to give O an excellent education. Truthfully, part of me wanted to prove that I could do this better than the public school system. (O pride, my shame!) He was a willing student and I had energy and a deep desire to do this well.

Now, I'm older and have seen much more and have six children to humble me. We still educate at home and I still desire excellence, but I've also realized that I value strong family ties just as much as raising a knowledgeable adult; that I value strong character more than I value straight As. There are vastly more things going on in our home each day. (Too much on some days, I dare say!)

In the beginning, I didn't want to give away the privilege of spending time with my own children. I still feel the same way. In fact, I also don't want to give away the privilege of watching them learn, of learning with them, of interacting with my children and creating something beautiful and messy and unique (our family). I don't want to miss any opportunity to share God's Word with them, to open it up together, to linger over it, to memorize it, to talk about the gospel through our day.

I truly love this season of investing in our children. Though I often doubt that I am doing enough and I sometimes wonder if we're learning the right things or enough things or the things that really matter eternally. . . I do know we are learning and doing it together and it is surprising that God had this in store for my life and theirs and it really is passing too quickly.

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