by Mike McHugh
The covenant of marriage and the calling of home schooling share one basic need that is critical to their survival ---- commitment. Parents will never be able to convince their children of their need to be committed to the task of education, unless they as parents display a consistent level of commitment in their marriage relationship. It should come as no surprise that there is a clear correlation between the growing number of broken marriages in the United States and the rise in the number of students who decide to drop out of school. How easy it is for husbands and wives to forget that children have a strong tendency to mimic the attitudes and actions of their parents. Although children are ultimately responsible for their actions before Almighty God, all parents have the biblical responsibility to be godly role models. (Deuteronomy 6, Proverbs 22, and Ephesians 6)
It is an exercise in futility for Christian home school parents to sacrifice years of their time to provide their youngsters with a quality education and yet fail to provide them with a positive personal testimony. Christian textbooks were never designed to be a replacement for godly role models. All students need to have a standard of conduct that they can follow, and in the case of home education this responsibility falls squarely upon the shoulders of each parent. Like it or not, in the end your children will pay far more attention to the actions you took and the priorities that you set as a parent versus the things that they learned from the courses you taught them.
The humanist social engineers of our day would like us to believe that a parent’s first goal is to ensure that his children learn how to get along socially with their peer group. The Bible, however, teaches something quite different. A parent’s first and primary goal must be to ensure that his children are consistently trained to evaluate facts and the world around them in light of biblical truth (Matthew 4:4), and further trained to pattern their basic character around the godly lifestyle that they have gleaned from their parents. For this reason, husbands and wives must place a high priority on the quantity and quality of time that they spend with each other, as well as the degree of time that they spend with their offspring. Children are by nature imitators, therefore, it is suicidal for parents to have their children’s characters shaped by biblically and socially immature youngsters or practical atheists down at the local school. It is not difficult to see why home education is growing in popularity when you stop and realize that the majority of schools today could care less if their policies are contributing to a breakdown in family relationships. Sooner or later, all parents are forced to decide which is more important, a child’s relationship with his peers at school, or his relationship with his parents at home. The alternative of home education provides Christian parents with a special opportunity in today’s fast paced world to establish a relationship with their children and each other that will last. For the option of home education to succeed, however, it is first necessary for parents to re-double their commitment to each other in the covenant of marriage. Author John A. Stormer in his book, Growing Up God’s Way, provides Christian parents with seven key principles to help them develop a solid marriage relationship and home environment. These principles are:
- The Bible is God’s rulebook and instruction manual for marriage
- Marriage is a permanent, unbreakable union
- Marriage cannot be a 50-50 proposition
- Both the husband and wife must recognize that they have distinctive personal needs that can only be fully met by the Lord.
- Both partners must be committed to recognizing and meeting their partner’s needs to the best of their ability, even though these needs may be unique and varied.
- All conflicts and differences must be restored God’s way.
- Husband and wife must both recognize that a stable marriage is based on trust and that a person can be trusted only as he or she is willing to trust another completely.
If even one partner in the marriage accepts and fulfills the above mentioned concepts, the home will not easily be destroyed. God will often be pleased to use the dedication of the faithful partner to transform the erring mate.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. There is no better foundation for a home school than a stable marriage relationship.
Copyright 2006 Michael J. McHugh
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