“He that has trained his children for heaven, rather than for earth-
for God rather than for man – he is the parent who will be called wise at the last.”
We have been hosting foreign exchange students for quite some time now.
Its been a blessing in so many ways to our family…this year is no different. In fact this year we are hosting a lovely young lady from Norway! While there are so many differences between our family and hers, we are sure that all shall be blessed in this journey we are taking together.
The other day I had to take her in to the local school to register for classes. As many of you know, I am sure, I am a big advocate for home education. I find the public schools to be, mostly, heartbreak and politics with very little real learning taking place. However, the school we visited is a charter school in our area, a lot smaller, more selective in the students that attend, and highly recommended by some friends in the faith. So we were willing to give it a try.
Its been so long since I have been in a school myself. Yet as we walked those halls, as we met teachers and students who were there for the morning….As I saw the political posters hung about and the super relaxed, laid back, we are all equals environment, I admit I felt suddenly very overwhelmed with a sense of foreboding.
This is it for so many children. This is where they gain their most trusted of friends, where they establish their own family away from home. Here is where they will be told what to think; they will miss out on so many experiences. They will learn more political agenda and less true history. They will sit in seats and listen to someone tell rather than them being directed to finding the answers, discerning facts from fiction. Their hands will be still; they will hang out more than expand wisdom. They will learn to accept all things from abortion to homosexuality, to tolerance and the evils of God.
One particular student we met, just broke my heart Such a happy and friendly boy (although it took me a bit to determine he was indeed a he)! It hit me – he is a good kid, lost, confused. Without God. He is accepted and embraced as he is by those surrounding him, perhaps his parents pray for his lost lifestyle choices, perhaps they do not see the danger in his life themselves. It hit me hard. As parents, we certainly want to encourage our older kids to make choices, to learn and follow their passions, but if we are true to the Word of God there will be a limit. There are things that are just not okay.There are choices that may not be His will for us.
As parents we need to be willing to say No. We need to be willing to take back the authority that we have. Why do we allow some of these things? Our children with piercings all over their faces; our daughters dressed so immodestly, showing off far too much of what we are clearly told to honor and cover? Why are so many willing to allow their boys to wear jewelry and make up? To dress in a fashion that is not meant for their gender?
I am not sure these words are even sufficient to express how sorrowful I was for the kids I met in this school. For the kids I see at the mall, the coffee shop….I see so much potential within them, if they could just learn, and meet, Jesus. So they too could see how perfect they are AS they were created. His purpose, His will, His image. Can’t we embrace that? Can we not teach our children to image the image they were created in?
I am more than ever before convinced that the schools are no place for our children. You cannot be salt and light in a place that closes the door on God himself. It is not possible. He was kicked out remember? We need to reach out, of that I have no doubt, but we need to do so with our children. How can they possibly safely manage all the darkness that is within these walls? Jesus sent them out together; they went together. After they were grown; after they surely had a firm foundation. We must do the same.
These kids and teachers, they are good and kind and lovely people. But they need more. We need to find ways to be that light we are called to be. Without risking our children. As our “daughter” begins her school year, I pray, I know our church prays, for her to be kept safe, to be kept strong in Him. We need to pray too that those who are within the walls can reach out to those who are seeking something more. I encourage our “daughter”, as I have each one every year, bring a friend to church. Bring them to our safe place; introduce them to our sweet, precious Lord!
As parents, we need to teach our children this. Reach out. Compel them to come! Show them love, get to know them. We are not friends with the world, His word is clear, but we are given a great and powerful job to do. We must preach the Gospel and we must do so boldly. Perhaps our voice shakes, maybe we don’t quite get the words right, but He always moves on those who are willing to open the door to Him. We are responsible, momma and dad too, for what they know. What do we allow? What do we encourage? Let us be sure we teach them, gently, to love and to honor themselves and their Creator. When they do there will be such a presence about them, what great things shall be done for the Kingdom of God!