Hope for the Weary Home Educator
My wife and I have been teaching our children at home for over two decades. Even though we are clearly in the ranks of “seasoned” home educators, it is still common for us to question whether our efforts are truly enriching our family and forging godly character traits in our children. This self-examination process is, in our view, a necessary endeavor for the simple reason that home education is not an end in itself. In other words, we did not start our family in order to enrich a home school program; rather, we elected to pursue home schooling because we sincerely believed that it would help us to establish a Christ-honoring household by the grace of God.
When we began our home school journey in 1988, with stars in our eyes and a litany of prayers on our lips, we were zealous to train up a crop of exceptional children. As new parents, we were determined to raise young people who would be equipped to overcome the world with wisdom and honor to the glory of King Jesus. Well, many years have passed since we first began to put our shoulder to the wheel of child training, and although most of our lofty goals and idyllic plans are still not fully realized (surprise, surprise!); yet, we refuse to abandon our original hopes and dreams.
The passage of time has not dimmed the glow of our enthusiasm for Christ-centered home education, because we still believe that it is the best means for us to reach the noble goals that we have for our children. As the United States and its secular schools continue to stagger under a load of corruption, moral decay, and general mediocrity, many parents have chosen to lower their expectations for their children’s education and future. Regardless of the darkness of the hour, however, my wife and I have no intention of lowering our expectations; for we are still convinced that our God delights to use the weak things of this world to confound the mighty. In fact, it is our abiding conviction that one of the fundamental things that should clearly set apart Christian educators from their worldly counterparts, is the power to labor in hope and confidence knowing that they can do all things through Christ who strengthens them.
Thanks be to God, that weak and flawed parents like us can find the strength to pursue the daily grind of our home school duties through the grace that flows to us from Word of God. For it is in the Scripture alone, that we come to understand that we do not labor for victory or success; but rather, in the victory that has already been secured by the One who declared, “…be of good cheer, I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33) What a comfort it is to know that our labors are not in vain in the Lord, and that God has promised as His Word is sent forth, it will most certainly accomplish His perfect will (Isaiah 55: 6-13). The meek shall inherit the earth, because the future belongs to those who have the hope and confidence to labor for the joy that Christ sets before them. It was the great theologian, R. J. Rushdoony, who once wrote: “History has never been dominated by majorities, but only by dedicated minorities who stand unconditionally on their faith.”
The goal that my wife and I continue to work towards, therefore, is to raise children for the Kingdom of Christ that will be genuine world changers; children who are filled with faith and hope, and who can walk in the footsteps of giants of the faith such as Joshua, Caleb, Esther, Daniel, and David. For those home educators who are be faint of heart, however, the very idea that they can raise chivalrous children in the twenty-first century may seem rather unrealistic. Nevertheless, through the eyes of faith in the Word and will of God, we have come to understand that God’s ability to fashion vessels of honor has not diminished in this present age. The testimony of God’s Word gives us every reason to trust that He can still move mountains and change cultures through servants who are empowered to turn the world upside down. The glorious truth, is that the age of hope and chivalry will never end for the people of God until Christ has placed all of His enemies under His footstool (Isaiah 9: 6-7, Mark 4: 10-32, 1 Cor. 15: 19-25, Rev. 11: 15-19).
As we come near to the close of what I hope was an encouraging article for weary home educators, as well as for those who may someday be threatened with the dreaded disease known as ‘home school burnout’, it is my prayer that parents will ask God to increase their faith in His ability to make their children salt and light in this present world. Once the Lord begins to renew our hope and vision in His plans and purposes for our children, we will be able to approach our labors with greater vigor and consistency. In light of all this boasting in the power of God to make our children noble and virtuous, let us consider the words of Charles Kingsley:
“The spirit of chivalry — let worldlings say what they will — is the very spirit of our spirit, the salt which keeps our characters from utter decay. It is the very instinct which raises us above the selfishness of the brute. Yea, it is an attribute of the Spirit of God Himself. For what is the feeling of horror at wrong, of pity for the oppressed, or for the burning desire to set wrong right, save the Spirit that is one with the Father and the Son; the Spirit which brought down the Lord Jesus out of the highest heaven, to stoop, to serve, to suffer, and to die, — that He might seek and save that which was lost. The age of chivalry is never past, so long as there is a wrong left unaddressed on earth, and a man or woman left to say, ‘I will redress that wrong, or spend my life in the attempt.’ The age of chivalry is never past, as long as men have faith enough in God to say, ‘God will help me to redress that wrong; or if not me, those that come after me. For His eternal will it is, to overcome evil with good.”
In closing, let us consider what two passages from the infallible Word of God teach us concerning the true basis for our abiding hope and confidence as the people of God.
Jesus declared in John 14:12-14: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior, Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.” (Jude vs. 24-25)
Michael J. McHugh
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