There comes a time in everyone’s life where they start to examine and question the big issues of life:
Why are we here? Who put us here? What happens when we die? Our answer or thoughts to these big questions will dictate our actions.
There is a lot of myth and fear surrounding the teen years, especially amongst home schoolers. We don’t need to stick our heads in the sand and only discuss that which we want to hear- we need to know what is happening.
We want to pass on our beliefs and faith to our children. So we teach them. We homeschool so we can spend more time with our children, building the relationship, instilling values, etc. And then comes that time. That time when our child starts to question those beliefs. And we get are horrified and panic.
However, this process doesn’t need to be terrifying. It can be a necessary and vital step toward maturity and adulthood. This transference of faith is vital for one to grow as a child of God, to take ownership of their faith. After this process, the child or young adult will no longer rely upon their parents for maintaining their relationship with God and others.
What happens if this process does not happen?
The shift may still occur but instead of relying upon the parents, they may rely upon someone else’s: their boyfriend, husband, pastor, friends, magazine, TV, books, etc. (The enemy is vying for the heart of all and is actively working toward gaining it via any means). They either take ownership of the faith they were raised in or they transfer it and take the beliefs or faith of someone else.
So, is there a formula?
Early on in my parenting journey, I thought I had found the recipe!
Simply take 1 child + a godly homeschool and you will = Success
We think that if we homeschool, then our children will turn out okay. Further to that, we have to homeschool a certain way or it won’t ‘work’. We have to avoid this, avoid that, do this, don’t do that… Oh, it’s all so hard – so many rules!
But we make a grave mistake if we attempt to use any kind of formula.
Raising children is a matter of grace.
It isn’t about a formula or a recipe. We need to know and accept that we cannot obtain our child’s salvation! Whether or not a person realizes they’re forgiven and walks in that when they are 15 or 45 doesn’t change the fact that it’s all about grace. Salvation is a work of grace. After all, salvation is what most of us desire for our children more so than simply the appearance of right living.
We can lead our children to Him, lead them in the ways of Him… We can teach them all about Him, and teach them to obey us as parents… but that internal work of the heart – the individual’s response and subsequent obedience to God are not within our control. We are not the Holy Spirit. We are the messenger, the herald who proclaims the message. The onus is on the hearer to hear and obey.
So what can we do?
We can pray! We can proclaim the message unabashedly! We can live by example. We can train in matters of outwardness. And we can hope.
There will come a time in their life when they question what they believe… it might look shaky for awhile but if the foundation is solid (the foundation being the message of the work of the Cross through Christ) then we can be assured that God will indeed graft them into the vine and call them His own. They will start to see this as their faith… their belief and not just that of their parents. This is a most beautiful happening! Truly wondrous!
The Homeschooling Community
We shouldn’t look at a 15yo, who is mulling over the big issues of life and struggling with it (which can be a normal part of maturing into an independent adult), and judge his family.
In the same way, we can’t look at a family who has an obedient and God-fearing 16yo and assume that they have perfected the formula, thereby desiring to emulate their parenting. We don’t know where that person will be when they are 30, once away from the watchful eye of parents and responsible for themselves. So often we overlook the operative word in Proverbs 22:6 “when he is old”; not when he is a teen.
Let us not become weary with our modelling and teaching. Let’s keep on teaching our children God’s ways, keep on loving them, laughing with them. We can be firm with our children yet not get too hung up on the minors. We can pray with them and for them. If we homeschool – keep building our relationship with them. If your children goes to school – keep building your relationship with them! And pray.
God cares about your children even more than you do. Ask God to reveal Himself to them, that they will see their sin and need for Him. Pray that God will humble them (and us, while we’re praying) and pierce their heart so that they will see their need for great grace. Ask God that He will draw them back to Himself each time they stumble.
We can let our children know that there is nothing they can do to earn our love or God’s love. Pray that the gospel will be the motivation for their growth. Teach them and model that our obedience is a response that overflows from our heart.