As parents we all have the potential to hold on too tight. Out of our great Love and Deep Concern for our children, we make choices in raising them, educating them, carefully “choosing their environments.”
One of the challenges I see all parents potentially struggle with, but maybe especially home schooling parents, is the temptation to hold on too tightly to our children. I am not referring to the protection we are responsible for providing them when they are young. I personally believe, that in today’s culture “over protecting” is a requirement when children are young. If we are parenting biblically with their future in mind, we should be training our children through discipline, correction, and teaching when they are young. Then as they get older, if we have trained them well, we should be able to give more freedoms, responsibilities and trust to them. However, the training is OUR Responsibility.
Too many parents today raise their kids without a biblical world view of sin and what the “world is really like.” We need to be wise as serpents, and gentle as doves, in regards to how we interact with the world and how we teach our children to interact with it as well. Teaching our children to interact with the world means they have to get some practice and they definitely need “age appropriate” teaching on what our culture is like. As a home schooling parent, I have found it is easy to enjoy the blessed life of teaching what my children are interested in most, adapting curriculum to meet their interests and what they are “delighted” in, but I have learned it is also my job to proactively teach them about the world which we live in. Preparing them with wisdom from the scriptures on “how to choose friends,” to be aware and wary of “false teachers,” to be wise to those who are making unwise decisions, to lead and be careful to “whom” they follow, and so much more.
I have seen home schooled children grow up without vision for their lives, I have seen some of these children rebel after years of work on their parents part, and they have good godly parents, who love the Lord and faithfully raised their children. Why? I believe it could be a number of different things. Obviously it is not all going to be summed up here today. However, there is a problem all parents are tempted to struggle with that can push your children away… it’s “holding on too tightly” when they grow up. I know the temptation must be great for parents, all parents, but our children are not ours. They are the Lord’s. They were His gift to us, He chose us to raise them, He blessed our lives by “loaning” them to us, for a season. He has blessed us in so many spiritual ways by gifting us with the privilege to raise them. As parents, our job will never be “done,” our privilege will continue through out their lives.
However, if God has called your child to the Mission field, if that is what He created them to do, are you ready to let them go? Or is your “identity” wrapped up in your children. Making Family an Idol is a temptation I see many families making. We need to take our responsiblity of Mother & Father seriously, purposefully, but we also need to have our identities found in who we are in Christ Jesus, not in who we are as mom or wife. If we fail and make an idol out of family, then we are sure to fall. God does not like us to have ANY idols in our lives, in fact He hates it. We need to keep our priorities in check.
As for preparing our hearts, we need to hold our children with open hands… they are God’s. We need to protect, train, discipline, educate, enjoy, and love them; but we also need to help them discover what God’s will is for their life, apart from what we may want.
As a mother who’s oldest child is only eleven and a half, I feel I can not and should not attempt to give wisdom on a topic I have not yet lived, experienced, or reaped fruit from. However, I can share with you how I am preparing my heart to let my children embrace and pursue God’s path for their lives, aside from what I might think is best. I am still raising my children, but I want exhort and encourage fellow mothers and fathers to join me in purposefully preparing our hearts to one day let them go, if that is God’s will. We have to prepare our minds and hearts that they may be “created” for something like being a missionary. If we raise our children and don’t introduce them to missions, if we don’t prepare them for that calling, if we don’t share a heart for missions, if we don’t ever go on a missions trip with our child, then it will be harder to let them go when they are called.
Selfishly, all parents want to hold on tightly to their children, but we need to embrace God’s design. They will one day, leave us to cleave to their wife/husband. So Let’s raise them purposefully, let’s be aware of their heart attitudes, let’s read the scriptures with them, study the Word of God, teaching them His Wisdom, so we can give them a solid foundation to launch them from. Let’s purposefully choose not to let “family” become an idol in our lives. Let’s engage our children now, take their environments, education, friendships and put them under a microscope. Be open to see the truth for what it is, and attack this battle we are in against sin in our culture and in our own lives. We need to be proactive parents… not settling for less when it comes to attitudes from our children. Let’s prepare them to do what they were created for and prepare our hearts for letting them obey God.
In the Journey Together,