What does it cost you to train your children? If asked that, I imagine we would most often think of what our curriculum costs us per year. Certainly, there is a financial aspect to home education, but I’m wondering how much we dads are investing personally in our children. If money is our main investment, will our influence be any greater than a dad whose children go to the government schools? Might our children turn out as bankrupt in character and training as most children these days who are educated outside the home?
In my work, I will encounter many fathers who love their children and yet send them off to school. They feel that is the American way; the job of the schools is to educate the children; dads provide the money and the home. Unfortunately, even if the school is successful in teaching the children facts, that is a far cry from preparing them for life.
Will the memorization of facts prepare a person for life and parenting? I think we would agree it wouldn’t. That is where training comes in, first teaching pertinent facts and then practicing them. We dads have many opportunities to work with our children to reinforce, by practice, the application of what they are learning.
However, all of that takes time. Most of us have heard others recite the popular, self-consoling lie, “I have to give my children quality time, since my job doesn’t allow quantity time.” From what I’ve observed, additional work hours are usually a result of the dad’s desire to get ahead. The extra time is not required. It also can be that there is trouble at home, and it is a convenient escape for Dad to bury himself in his work. It is a matter of priority. Is the proper training of the children most important to the dad, or is it his job? If the job is so demanding on its own, then it’s time to get a new job. God will bless proper priorities, and wrong ones won’t be blessed. Simple!*
Jesus said in John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” That is a constant challenge to me. As the shepherd of my family, am I laying aside my pleasures for the needs of my family? Am I willing to sacrifice my time for myself if there are needs in the family that haven’t been met yet? Do I set the example for my wife in serving my family? For most, work is the easy part, but serving at home and working on character issues are much harder.
I am ashamed of how often I fail regarding the right response to the above questions. However, I serve a God Who daily gives grace. May we be like the Lord Jesus and daily lay down our lives for our families.
*(I’m not referring to families where the dad has to work longer hours just so the mom can stay at home and teach the children. These are families who are content to live in a modest home and drive old cars for the sake of right priorities. I’m referring to others who have made wrong choices with what money they have. Often they drive new cars and buy new homes. I want to differentiate between those who make bad choices and those who are truly in need.)