Family is the building block of society
It starts at home.
What starts at home?
Everything in a person’s life!
There are SO many things that children learn at home from their parents and from living in a family.
Children learn at home how to:
– treat people well
– love unconditionally
– walk in love
– walk in truth
– walk in the Spirit.
They learn proper ways to handle conflict.
– loving others more than themselves
– taking care of those who are younger or weaker and teaching them
– working together as a team
– how to make the family successful and a pleasant place to dwell together in unity and mutual respect and love.
After providing our children with this knowledge and skillset, we send them out into society prepared and equipped and ready to bring benefit and add value everywhere they go. They shine the light of Jesus and preach the Gospel – in word and in deed.
This is how we set them up for a successful Christian life.
In a homeschooling context, what do we teach and how do we go about planting these values in the hearts of our children?
There are many important avenues for teaching these kinds of ideas and values.
Some of these are tying heart strings, building the family that you want, teaching how to do relationships the right way, and prophetic parenting.
Let’s start with tying heart strings. How do we draw our children close to us? We must do the obvious things like spending time with them and encouraging them and treating them with love and respect. But we also need to share our experiences with them and let them see that we are human and understand how they feel. Of course, we have to make sure that they are at an age and developmental level that is appropriate for whatever topic we are addressing. For instance, if we want to teach our child about compassion, we might share a story of a time we forgave someone for something that was very hard to forgive and reached out in an act of kindness. But if they are too young to understand, we should save that topic for a later date when they are developmentally able to understand that level of forgiveness and compassion.
When it comes to correction and discipline, we should make sure that we have deposited enough love, warmth and affirmation along the way. Then when they need correction it is easier for them to receive it from us without feeling condescended to or rejected. They need to feel like they are understood and that we are not asking anything of them that they are not capable of. We need to make sure they see us as a loving parent who wants what is best for them and not a harsh ruler on a power trip. And that shapes their fundamental beliefs about authority and its true purpose. And the upside is we keep the connection and preserve a good relationship with the child.
The heartstrings get cut when we react toward our children in anger, frustration, or irritation. When we react out of negative emotions, such as frustration, we cause them to fear us. Correction becomes something to avoid, which can lead to dishonesty and hiding. Yelling and snapping at them is never beneficial in any way. If we do lose our temper, we need to go to the child and apologize. We are setting an example for them in everything we do. And we should be teaching them how to preserve connection with other people even in times of conflict.
Build the family that you want. Read, research, and raise your children in the ways of the Lord. Read good books about the importance of family and how to raise a godly family. Set the tone and the ground rules in your home for a pleasant, safe, and fun experience for everyone in your family. If you want to build a Christian family, then do the Christian disciplines alongside your children. Pray together as a family. Read the Bible and discuss it together. Go to church together or worship together at home. Do service activities together as a family. Practice hospitality and invite guests for meals, and have the children help with preparation, serving, and entertaining the guests. If other values are important to you, build those into your routines, your family culture, and the conversation in your home. Your family will have their own unique culture. Talk about it with your children and emphasize that they belong to a family that has specific values and goals, and that each person is important and needed. Help them to feel proud of being a part of this amazing family that God has put them into.
Teach them how to build good relationships. The skills for building good relationships are learned at home. Our children learn to share, compromise, negotiate, forgive, apologize, and redirect attention through their interactions with siblings and with their parents. In homeschool families, we don’t send our children out to figure out on their own how to deal with bullying or other immature and harmful behaviors that are inevitable among groups of children. Help them choose good friends and help them through conflicts and disagreements that arise in those relationships, too.
We can also practice prophetic parenting. When you pray for your children, ask God to show you what He wants you to say to them and how He wants you to guide them into His path for their lives. Ask the Lord for words of wisdom, words of knowledge, and actual prophetic words to speak over their lives and to speak to them so that they can experience for themselves God speaking to them. This will help you to be sure that you are giving them good guidance, and it will encourage them to ask God to speak to them personally.
Homeschooling is more than giving our children an academic education at home. It’s more than making sure that we provide the best curriculum and materials and learning experiences for them. If we do it right, we will teach them character, integrity, honesty, and consideration for others. We will help them to become well-rounded people who will become excellent friends, spouses, leaders, and citizens. Familyschooling is more likely to produce these results. So many important skills and values are learned through a strong family that is committed to loving each other and learning together how to handle adversity and leaning on each other when they need help. Strong families build strong people. And strong people build strong communities. And strong communities build a strong society. Your family is that important. Make it a priority to steward it well.