The other day I was gathering some photographs of my son when he was five. There he was, standing in his daddy’s boots with a big grin on his face. How proud he looked! The boots were much too large and heavy for him, but he loved wearing them.
From the time they can just barely walk, little boys love to put on Daddy’s boots. They like to wear what Daddy wears, do what Daddy does. Little girls love to play “dress up” in their mommy’s clothes and shoes. They, too, copy what Mommy does.
Home education provides the perfect opportunity to disciple our children. Just as the 12 disciples followed Christ and watched Him as He ministered, our children follow us and watch. Then they imitate everything we do. If Daddy shaves, little boys want to practice shaving. If Daddy spends time in the Bible every day, they spend time in the Bible. We are their role models.
That makes home education at once the ideal form of education and the most difficult form of education. Homeschooling provides us with the opportunity to teach about God in everything we do. In Deuteronomy 6:6 and 7 God states, “These words which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” God puts an emphasis on teaching His words throughout the day and in all kinds of situations. Homeschooling is ideally suited for this kind of instruction. No other educational venue provides us the opportunity to disciple our children all day long.
Even though homeschooling is the easiest way to teach our children about God throughout the day and in all situations, it is also very difficult. It is easy to get so caught up in “school” that we forget that our goal is to teach about God in every situation – and every subject. But even a larger difficulty looms in our sinful natures. We are not always the best role models for our children to follow – and in homeschool they are watching us 24/7. Paul states in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” He provided an example of a Christian walk for the Corinthians to follow. We need to be able to provide an example of a Christian walk for our children to follow.
However, Paul didn’t provide a godly example by religious living – he had tried that and found it to be rubbish (Philippians 3:4-11). He was an example the Corinthians could follow because he followed Christ. As Paul does, we need to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). That’s hard work! It’s hard to live a transparent Christian walk in front of our children 24/7. But if we don’t, we shouldn’t be surprised when our children don’t grow up to have a Christian walk. They will imitate us. “Be not deceived, God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7).
None of us (not even Paul) will arrive at a perfect Christian walk in this lifetime. Paul stated it this way, “Not that I have already obtained it [the resurrection from the dead] or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12). Don’t let the Deceiver persuade you that you can’t have a perfect Christian walk so you might as well not try. The cost is too great, both in your life and your children’s lives.
Though John was referring to his spiritual children in 3 John 4 when he said, “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth,” the same is true of a parent whose children love and follow Christ on their own.
Want to know what happened to my son and his daddy’s boots? He’s long since outgrown them. He stands a head taller than his daddy. He’s a daddy now with a son of his own who loves to wear his daddy’s boots. The legacy continues. By God’s grace, our son is leading his family in the Lord and we can truly say, “We have no greater joy than to hear our children are walking in the truth.”
(c) Dorothy Karman, 2515 NE 37th Ave., Portland, OR 97212. Permission to reprint granted if printed in its entirety.