Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:4) is the injunction of Paul as to our parenting responsibilities. The call here is to fathers. They are addressed as the lead parent. The word translated ‘fathers’ means “protector” and can legitimately also be deemed to include the mother as well. But it is the father who is the chief protector in the parental unit.
The responsibility is to bring up children, that is the parent’s own children, in the training and instruction of the Lord. The parents are to school their children. This refers to the whole development of the children. The “training” focuses on developing the children through action. We need to be correcting and chastening our children so that they go in the right direction. “Instruction” is the training by word. We, as parents, need to be putting all that is good in their minds; teaching them what is right and what is wrong. We need to be giving them all that is necessary so that they may have, under God, valuable fully rounded and developed lives.
The important thing to emphasise here is that God requires this of parents for their children. It is too easy to allow others to be the primary providers of training and instruction for our children. We can too easily offload our responsibility to the church or the state or both. In such cases we can become merely the providers of food and lodging for our children who are actually being reared by others. No! Parents are to do the bringing up of their children.
Does that mean that we should not use outside sources to assist us in our child rearing? No, of course not. But, we do have to be very careful how we use those sources. So I can use the state school system or whatever school system is provided as long as I know that I am using them and they are not using me. What I mean is that the parent(s) is/are using the school to assist him/her in bringing up the child. As someone once said to me “I homeschool, but I use the school system to help me.”
There is growing pressure from the state to take over the rearing of our children. The state wants to indoctrinate our children in its secular thinking which is opposed to the Word of God. We must resist this. God did not give children to the state; he gave them to parents.
Similarly, parents should not offload responsibility to the church for their children’s spiritual education. The assistance of the church is very important, but fathers should never say that they use the church to teach their kids about God. Fathers, you must teach them. If you are struggling in this, then seek help.
So every Christian father/parent should be homeschooling. The word of God enjoins this for you. You may use the state system or other means to help you. But it is you that the LORD holds responsible for bringing up your kids.
So, Christian parents, let us be supporting one another in whatever way we choose to go about this great business of educating our children. Let this issue NOT be divisive in the church. Whether parents are using the state system or not using it, we are all in this great business of bringing up our children for the glory of God together. Let us then, encourage each other. Let us freely talk about the different ways of doing our best for our children.
And all this is to the end that we will fulfill the mandate to bring up our children in the training and instruction of the Lord.
(Originally published at Venabling on 1st August 2013)