Thoughts on Christian Parenting—Part 1
I am a wife to my husband, Mike, and a mom to the four Wild brothers. We are missionaries living deep in the jungle of Southeast Asia working with tribal people to translate the Bible and teach them truth about God and His Word.
Note: This is Part 1 in the series. Please read Part 2: “A Mother’s Worries and God’s Provision.”
I’ve found that sometimes people think missionaries are different from the average person. Many people think foreign missionaries can leap tall buildings in a single bound, that nothing ever discourages us, that we are great multi-taskers and, my favorite, that we must love camping and adventure! But I could tell you so many stories that would disprove that myth. I am a wife and a mom like many of you reading this post, and we all have a common thread—we are sisters in Christ.
Romans clearly sets us straight on these issues, maybe not about camping, but the other things. It is only by His grace and mercy that He considers me His child. Therefore, if you read anything today worth any value, know it is a result of the Lord’s faithfulness in my life. He says in His Word that he will work through us to fulfill His plan; I don’t know why that is the way He works, but it is. So, as you read my ramblings, know that I truly love being a mom of four boys. I love being able to watch them grow and learn, and I am thankful for each day that I have with them. I am not perfect, so please sift through what I say and look to see what is good and true and tuck those things away and throw out anything that is left.
I want to tell you how happy it makes me that there are so many women who have chosen to invest in their children and teach them at home. I really wish we didn’t have to call it “homeschooling.” I feel like it is just another facet of raising our children—a natural thing. The tribal people that we work with pass down all that they know, the full counsel of their knowledge, to their children from the time they are born. They don’t see it as a separate part of their lives; they just see it as a necessity. For us as Christians, there is more than gardening, net bag weaving, and bow and arrow making to pass along to our children. We, as homeschool moms, ought to remember when trying to juggle all the geometry, reading, economics, history, dissections, and art (along with a homemade dinner and a smile) that we need to have a good perspective in sight. If we set out well-defined foundational goals for our homes, for school, and for life then we have something on which to build.
As parents, it’s important to identify our goals for our children. We need to decide what our overall objective in parenting is. These are two of the goals that Mike and I decided upon for our family:
These goals might sound simple and maybe even cliché, but I think if we really believe that these are paramount it will really make a difference. If we consider that the steps we take as parents toward this goal are just as important as blending consonants and understanding the scientific method, we might measure our day’s success differently. Again, I have learned a lot from living with tribal people. We, as westerners, are compartmentalized, but tribal people tend to be holistic. Many westerners see Bible as a subject, not really a way of life. We think, “What does the Bible really have to do with homeschooling?” But if we really connected math and the desire to be used by God, I think our perspective, motivation, and passion would change and we could pass that on to our children.
The Wild Family “motto” is to learn and be diligent in our studies, not just so that we become smart, that we would be known as clever, or that we would ever make a name for ourselves, but so that we can make God’s name great among the nations.
I truly believe that education is so important because we are shaping our little people into the adults that we want them to be. I don’t want my boys to be content with the things of this world—for status, material goods, or for striving after the American dream—but instead I want them to strive to do all that they do, 100%, so that they can be used by God.
We need to think “the sky’s the limit” for our children, but not in a “you can be anything you want” sort of way. I want my boys to think “the sky’s the limit” because “nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). He is working out everything in their lives, the good, the bad, the hard, the trials, and the victories, for their good because He loves them and has called them according to His plan (Romans 8:28). Inventors, explorers, scientists, writers, preachers, missionaries, martyrs—what are the paths that our children are going to lead? We need to let them think big, to know that their God is a faithful God, and that no matter what road He leads them down, He will be faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9), He will guide them (Psalm 48:14), and He won’t ever leave them or forsake them (Deuteronomy 31:6). So, it is “worth it” to study hard and be diligent so that they will be found worthy of their calling (Ephesians 4:1).
The Bible refers to us, the church, as the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). Literally, the Word uses concepts like hands, feet, and a physical body. As members of that body, we need to be reminding our little family members that they have a part in it. We need to school them and raise them knowing that they need to be prepared for whatever will be asked of them. So do that extra page of math, read all the books you can, and don’t breeze over grammar. All of those skills will be useful in the future. They are all building blocks for how God wants to use you in the lives of your children.
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