Article after article, speaker after speaker, and company after company claim to have the answer to how you can teach what your child needs to know. Sometimes it seems there are books and rule charts and flash cards and methods ad infinitum telling you how to do that.
Not only have I lived long enough to learn the reality that woe comes to those . . .
. . . who call evil good, and good evil;
Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
I’ve also lived long enough to see the latest “perfect plan” fail. There just aren’t any perfect plans or formulas. There are no guarantees. There are no perfect people who can give you a fail-proof methodology.
- A list of rules doesn’t guarantee a flawless life.
- Parent-involved courtship doesn’t guarantee a perfect marriage.
- A homeschool co-op doesn’t necessarily result in godly friends for children.
- Teaching children at home doesn’t guarantee that those children will never break a parent’s heart (Wow, I sure hate to say that, but sadly it’s true).
Resist putting your trust in any frail human being — and every human being is a frail human being. Put your trust in the only One Who will never fail.
Teaching what your child needs to know is not going to happen in a meeting once a week or a conference twice a year. The best way I know to teach what your child needs to know is by the tried and true method God gave in Deuteronomy 6 and 11. I know I keep quoting it, but that’s because it’s God’s way and it’s the best way! God’s method for teaching what your child needs to know is to do that:
. . . when you sit in your house . . .
. . . and when you walk along the road . . .
. . . and when you lie down and when you rise up.
Teaching what a child needs to know happens best:
- When parents have studied God’s Word themselves so they know what to teach and how to live a godly example.
- When parents live life with their children — a real life based on real conviction gained personally and not copied from someone else who says they know exactly what you ought to do with your children.
- When parents are praying and praying and praying and praying.
And that has to happen “when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.” I know it sounds hard and exhausting and like you will never finish. That’s because it is and you won’t. However, I have also lived long enough to know that you will miss it when you aren’t doing it every day any longer. Empty nests are wonderful in so many ways, but they are also lonely sometimes. I can tell you for certain that if God gave me the chance to roll back the clock and rock my babies and homeschool my babies and nurture my babies again, I would jump at the chance in a heartbeat. Even though I am still busy doing those “When parents . . . ” things listed above for our adult children and grandchildren, there is something indescribably wonderful about the times when you go to sleep at night and your babies are all tucked in in your very own home together.
In 1898 Eliza E. Hewitt wrote “Give Me Thy Heart.” Do what she says and teach your children to do that and you will be well on your way to teaching what your child needs to know.
“Give Me thy heart,” says the Father above—
No gift so precious to Him as our love;
Softly He whispers wherever thou art,
“Gratefully trust Me and give Me thy heart.”
“Give Me thy heart, give Me thy heart”—
Hear the soft whisper, wherever thou art;
From this dark world He would draw thee apart,
Speaking so tenderly, “Give Me thy heart.”
“Give Me thy heart,” says the Savior of men,
Calling in mercy again and again;
“Trust in Me only, I’ll never depart—
Have I not died for thee? Give Me thy heart.”
“Give Me thy heart,” says the Spirit divine;
“All that thou hast to My keeping resign;
Grace more abounding is Mine to impart—
Make full surrender and give Me thy heart.”
Give me your heart, my son,
And let your eyes delight in my ways.