I had an epiphany today. A couple of things occurred to me and I thought it would bless other mamas, so I am typing out my thoughts and sharing. Mothers have such huge responsibilities every moment of the day (and night).
I see so many moms who are totally freaked out about their children’s education. I mean, freaked out in a good way: concerned and trying hard to homeschooling with excellence and raise wonderful kids in that effort. I admire and respect that! When CJ was a baby, I had a lot of lofty goals for him. He was going to be multi-lingual and reading at a young age, and cooking like a professional by age 7. He would be quoting Shakespeare with passion by age 3 and be an entrepreneur in his teens. He came into the world with a special sort of intelligence and has an inquisitive, logical mind, which makes teaching him a breeze but also a challenge, because his thirst is so deep. He’s a smart little dude. It’s almost overwhelming sometimes because I can’t answer every question!
Well, he only speaks English and he can’t cook a meal alone yet (he’s 5). He couldn’t care less about Shakespeare or poetry. He’s reading simple words pretty well, and I am proud of that. But he knows more about the native birds and fish here than I do, and he could probably outdo most adults on the placing of the planets in the solar system and their environments. He knows military aircraft and sonar and oxygenating systems on modern submarines. His memory is amazing! His mind is constantly buzzing, constantly questioning, and instead of following my passions, he has his own. I am so proud of him.
Mamas, you can’t force your children to be interested in something they simply don’t care about. But if you give them tools and information that support their passions, even at a young age they will pursue and hunger for those things and become little experts in what interests them. This produces a love of learning! If you try to force them to learn things they don’t care about, it will kill their desire not only for their passions, but for all learning. Yikes!
But this morning I had a thought of far greater significance.
Everything is eternal. Our lives are eternal. Our souls are eternal. The souls of your children are eternal.
When you die (assuming you’re saved), God isn’t going to say at the gates of heaven, “Wow, great job teaching your kids to read so early. I’m really impressed that your 10-year-old was reading at college level and your 16-year-old has a PhD. It’s amazing they can speak Spanish and French fluently and have all those Latin verbs down! And they each run their own home business. Pretty sweet! All those tears you cried and stress you felt were worth it. And the attitude you carried around as a result of the stress from trying to make sure they got a perfect education and turned out to be so well-rounded really earns you some life points. They turned out really smart! Well done, good and faithful servant!”
Nope. He doesn’t care. He doesn’t care!
Because, you know, all this crazy-hard effort you’re putting into making your kids impressively educated is completely non-eternal. It’s totally worldly.
Sure, they will be smarter, they’ll probably make wiser life choices, and in general their life will benefit. Most likely, they’ll make fewer big mistakes and think out their choices better because they are well rounded. So that’s great. And it’s fun to be educated and knowledgeable. It makes for a richer life.
But what if we all, as saved, Bible-believing, Christ-following mothers and fathers, centered our children’s every day on Jesus? What if the Bible were most of their curriculum? What if we, as mamas responsible moment by moment for these small humans, spent our days teaching them about Jesus? What if the incredible, shocking, beautiful, sometimes scary, sometimes totally crazy stories in the Bible made up 90% of our children’s daily education? What if we completely altered our view of education and homeschool? What if we made homeschooling even more radical? What if all the other school stuff was just a side thing? Can you imagine if you took the hours that you already spend teaching your children about “educational” things and spent them on the Bible instead? Can you imagine? Now, that would be eternal. That would matter. That would shape their lives for more good than anything. More importantly, that would shape eternity. That would mold their souls. And when we died and went to Heaven and Jesus saw we devoted our lives to raising up our children every single day in his Word—MOSTLY his Word (not just 15 minutes in the morning or whatever)—then he’d say, “Well done.”
Our children ARE our ministry. Sometimes I think I want to go OUT and tell people about Jesus. I want to do some kind of big ministry that’s bigger than me and affects the whole world. Maybe we should go to Africa or something. But then I look at my three babies and I realize their young, thirsty souls are my ministry right now. Maybe there’s a future for us in foreign missions… I don’t know. But right now, they are what God gave me to change the world. I want to raise each one of them to know of him, to know him, and to learn about him so much that that is what fills up most of their learning day. Why? Because that is eternal. Humans raised like that will bring in the harvest like believers are supposed to do.
I am excited because I’m going to shift my kids’ school day to be learning the Bible for most of it. I’m not going to go slamming the Bible on their heads, and I’m not going to make it some kind of chore or dreaded “schoolwork.” But we’re going to focus on God’s enormous book filled with everything that matters in this world AND the next. It’s exciting! It means something! It brings us passion!
Of all the things I wonder about in life—wonder if we should be doing or not doing, wonder if we should change or stay the same, go here or there, learn this or that, cut this out of our lives or add that—of all those things my husband and I deliberate about and worry and ponder, this I know: I am supposed to be raising up children who will become warriors that will follow Jesus, and I’m to do that now, every single day, not for a snippet in the morning or the evening or only on Sunday. Not a prayer over dinner or a bedtime Bible story and prayer time. Nope. It’s all day, e’ry day. That’s what I know I should be doing. THAT means something in eternity.
For the record, I am absolutely not suggesting we ditch all other educational pursuits. Not at all! I appreciate the beautiful art, aspect, methods, and pursuit of homeschooling and giving our children a fulfilling education. I will continue to pursue that. I am simply saying let’s alter our thought process to make the foundation of education be God’s Word.