Thursday, March 20, 2008

Peer-Dependent or God-Dependent?

The premise of much of what I write is that responsible, Christian parents are mandated by God to disciple their children so they grow to be godly adults and do the same for their children. This concept is referred to in other places as a vision for multigenerational faithfulness...the looking beyond just one generation to what your influence as a parent can be several generations hence.

With that in mind, I just have a few observations about today's youth culture...which in turn, begs the question of why we would send our children to that culture if we are looking out not only for their future, but for the future of many generations.

Probably the biggest issue at hand is that of peer-dependency. Peer-dependency is the overwhelming need for peers and for acceptance by those peers. This means a child will do and accept whatever is necessary in order to gain approval by the group of peers. It takes very little time to realize that children from as young as nine or ten years old are being overcome by peer-dependency.

Peer-dependency is fostered by the evolutionary concept that children should be separated by age in a group school. (People who wonder about "socialization" of children who are educated at home never stop to consider whether their own children being "socialized" by same-aged peers is really normal or best.) I have had experience with a couple of young people intentionally taken from the group school in order to try to arrest the bad influence in their lives.

One of these young people was a twelve-year-old girl. She was devastated, not because she was missing her family, but because she couldn't stand to be away from her peers. She wailed in a fit of despondency, "I have to have my friends; I can't live without my friends!" She was so dependent upon her "friends" she could not even conceive of a life where she could be discipled and grow into a mature young adult. Her only concept was of the here and now...which meant being a mall-rat with her "friends."

Another of these young people was a sixteen-year-old boy. He, too, couldn't imagine life outside of the teen culture. He considered himself and his fellow teens to be the fount of all wisdom, while adults didn't have a clue as to real life, a life that mostly revolved around text-messaging, Facebook, and vile rap music. Again, the concept of looking forward and desiring to grow into an adult was completely missing. The only vision was an angry one of the here and now...and with what was deemed "cool" by his "friends."

Peer-dependency drags these children down by convincing them the only thing that matters is acceptance by peers. In order to be accepted by peers, you have to be identical to the peers, in dress, in speech, in music, in knowledge of pop culture, etc. You have no identity of your own, and the identity you create is that of the lowest common denominator. "Cool" is defining. Today is all that matters. The thought of this period of life being a training ground for adulthood is despised.

The funny thing is that adult culture seems to think this is normal and something to be expected, when the reality is it is something we have created by the methodology we use in raising the children. We place them in age-segregated institutions early in life where they find acceptance only in how much they are like their peers. We communicate how we expect rebellion in the teen years. We let others, to include television and music, become the primary influences in their lives. And then we hope they will grow out of it and become successful some day. Instead we find they never grow up.

So what does one do? Ideally you develop a long-term picture for how to raise your children while they are still young and you have many years with which to work. It is certainly more difficult to change things once they are in the clutches of their peers, but it can be done.

First and foremost is a vision. You must have a vision for their lives and you must communicate it to them so they internalize it. If they have a vision and goal for what kind of person they want to be and for what kind of life they want to live, they will reject the narcissistic, futureless lifestyle of the typical young person.

Secondly, you must not place them in a situation where the peers drag them down...which means you must educate them at home. If you place them in an age-segregated group classroom, it is only a matter of time before the pressure to conform grasps them in its clutches.

Thirdly, you as the parent need to help them grow in godliness by modeling it yourself, and by teaching them to walk according to the ways laid down by God in His Word.

Fourthly, you as the parent need to watch them carefully in order to discern the "bent" God has given them and then help them grow in that "bent" as best as possible. Avoid the temptation to define them according to how the culture defines "successful." Instead, define them according to God's Word and according to their particular, God-given strengths.

Teen culture and pop culture in today's America is a vile thing, desiring to tear down everything you hold dear. As parents who desire the best for our children and who desire generations of God-fearing progeny, we must do our level best to protect our children from that culture and to instill in them a massive vision for a glorious, joy-filled future as servants of the Living Savior, Christ Jesus. Only then will they be able to stand up to the lion crouching at the door desiring to devour them....

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ominous Trends....

Al Mohler summarizes some frightening developments and attitudes that are coming out regarding the right of parents to determine their own children's education. Note in particular the quote from the NEA at the end of the article: that we should leave the shaping of children's minds, careers, and futures to trained professionals! My goodness! What ever did society do before there were trained professionals around to raise the children or to tell parents how to raise their children?!! And note carefully they didn't say anything about actual's the minds and futures and careers of the children they desire to influence.

The article can be found HERE.

Friday, March 07, 2008

What is Education's Purpose?

"'A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare,' the judge wrote, quoting from a 1961 case on a similar issue."(Emphasis added and quoted from the San Francisco Chronicle)

I guess the purpose of education in America is finally out in the open. How many parents in this nation who regularly put little Johnny and little Jenny on the yellow school bus in the morning realize the primary function of the school they are sending their precious little ones to is to train them in "good citizenship, partriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation?" And all along we thought it was to teach them readin', writin', and 'rithmatic! If this is truly the aim of our education system, then it makes sense that our children are falling farther and farther behind in actual academic subjects!

This quote is from an article in the San Francisco Chronicle regarding the recent court case that has effectively outlawed homeschooling in the state of California by requiring anyone (including parents) who teach parents to be "certified." Certified to do what? To teach the child to read? To teach him to write? To teach him arithmetic? Obviously not. Certification means the teacher's primary function is to indoctrinate their little minds with whatever attitudes and ideas the state deems proper and appropriate.

This ought to frighten all parents, not just those who choose to educate their children at home
for it is an in-your-face admission that the state believes it knows better than you on how to best raise your child. As a former military officer, I have no problem with patriotism and loyalty to one's nation. I raise my children to be patriotic and to love their nation (especially with regard to its founding ideals), but also to have a very healthy skepticism regarding government and its ever-increasing lust for power.

My children also know what statism is...and the indoctrination of children by the state under the guise of "good citizenship" and "loyalty to the state and the nation" is just that. Why, when I hear phrases like that used, especially in regard to our children, do the hauntings of Nazi Germany rise up in my mind?????

Liberty is rapidly being snatched away from us, right from underneath our very eyes.

So let's look at the situation in California in particular, for it is where this is playing out most dramatically.

Recently the legislature passed and Governor Arnold signed into law a bill that requires that homosexuality be treated as normal, acceptable, and on par with heterosexuality in all schools. There can be no bias against it and therefore, even phrases like "mom and dad" could be removed from school textbooks. Kindergartners would be hit with homosexual indoctrination through the use of homosexual-friendly stories and programs. Combine this with another California court's decision that parental rights end at the school bus door and it's a nightmare scenario for any parent who still believes in moral decency, but even more so for the Bible-believing Christian who desires to raise his children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. This bill alone has got to have thousands of public school families thinking hard about removing their children from the public school classrooms in order to disciple them at home.

Now comes this edict from our black-robed masters that prevents parents from removing their children. It can't be any clearer! The state wants our children and they want to control exactly what goes into their minds and thus what directs their thoughts. One of the foundations of liberty is the ability of parents to raise their children as they see fit, and that would include all aspects of education. This edict says otherwise and it is nothing short of totalitarianism coming to our republic.

Please... do not ignore this because you don't happen to live in California. If it happens there, it is only a matter of time before it spreads. Educate yourself on the situation and its implications. I have provided three links (two audio and one written) that will spell it out for you. After you have educated yourself, then take action. The simplest is to click on the last link below and sign the Home School Legal Defense Association's petition to the California Supreme Court. You don't have to be an HSLDA member to sign the petition. There needs to be an overwhelming tidal wave of anger that rises against this in order for the judges on that court to feel the pressure necessary to stop it. Please don't think that your voice isn't necessary.

Focus on the Family Broadcast

CrossTalk America (Broadcast dated March 7, 2008)

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Seminary

HSLDA Petition to the California Supreme Court (Please click over and sign it!!!)

Saturday, March 01, 2008

A Vision for Home Discipling

You don't have to read very far in this blog to see that I am an advocate of discipling your children at home and believe it is God's call on the Christian to do so. Whenever I run across people considering bringing their children home (or never sending them out in the first place), they always have similar questions, usually having to do with which curriculum they should use. This is because, although they know there is something wrong with sending their children away, they are coming from a paradigm in which they had been "educated" in an age-segregated, scope-and-sequence-driven classroom and thus think the curriculum is the most important component of what they are considering doing. 

My advice to them is they absolutely MUST get the big picture before starting, for if they simply try to reproduce "school at home," they will burn out. They MUST determine what the goal is at the end of their endeavors and work backwards to determine what they should be doing now. This goal should be saturated in Bible, and they should carefully examine their own attitudes and ideas for cultural assumptions that aren't in line with Biblical principles. That's the hard part because of the paradigm blinders each of us has.

Here are my recommendations for three books to help you do that. In my humble opinion, these should be required reading for all parents looking to disciple/educate their children at home, for they help tremendously with developing an unshakable conviction for why you are doing what you do and what you are aiming for at the end. One warning though... I heard Dr. Voddie Baucham interviewed on Family Life Today with Dennis Rainey, and he was repeatedly referred to as someone who will "rock your boat." Anyone who's been in a rocking boat knows it sometimes makes you a bit ill. These books WILL cause you to examine your closely held beliefs and paradigms and will thus "rock your boat." Sometimes that is exciting; sometimes it's uncomfortable. But either way, your children will be the ultimate beneficiaries.


The first, and in my opinion, the most important, is When You Rise Up by Dr. R.C. Sproul, Jr. While it is available through Amazon (use the book list on the left), it is also available through his ministry website HERE.

Unfortunately the third book isn't available at Amazon. It is Upgrade by Kevin Swanson, a second-generation homeschooler who is the head of Christian Home Educators of Colorado (CHEC). Swanson's book can be purchased directly through CHEC at the link HERE.