All Christian homeschooling parents are fairly consistent with teaching their children the Biblical requirement to honor parents. We know by heart the full text of the Fifth Commandment and can quote it on a dime, "Honor your father and mother so that your days may be long upon the land that the Lord your God has given you." However, one of the many lessons I have learned over my years of parenthood and homeschooling involves the Biblical requirement to honor our children.
Our children come to us as tiny bundles who depend on us for everything. As they grow, we are their nurturers, advocates, encouragers, and supporters. We organize their activities and set play dates and extra curricula activities so that they achieve a well-rounded and purposeful education. In fact, we get so good at this that we sometimes don't stop long enough to appreciate what responsible and effective young people they are becoming. The tendency is to treat them like the youngsters we first began to teach, not giving them the respect and consideration we would give others their age who are not a part of our family.
Now that my youngest is the only remaining child living at home, it is easier to schedule events and participate in activities on short notice. I often take advantage of such opportunities, but fail to inform her that I have done so. For instance, as we were leaving church one day, she noticed that we were not heading directly home. When she inquired, I told her that we were going to visit someone first. The look on her face told me that she was less than happy. My first impulse was to assume that she was being difficult; but she had made plans for the afternoon that my decision had overturned. I had not treated her the way I wanted to be treated. Since having this insight, I have found myself guilty as charged of doing similar things countless times.
Homeschooling parents have the benefit of spending lots of time with their children. We must be sure that in the process we stop and take inventory of their movement into adulthood and afford them the same consideration we want for ourselves and instinctively give to others outside our family.
Let love be genuine.
Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
Love one another with brotherly affection.
Outdo one another in showing honor.
- Andrea G. Schwartz
Andrea Schwartz is Chalcedon’s family and Christian education advocate, and the author of eight books including: A House for God: Building a Kingdom-Driven Family, The Biblical Trustee Family: Understanding God’s Purpose for Your Household, Empowered: Developing Strong Women for Kingdom Service, Woman of the House: A Mother’s Role in Building a Christian Culture, and The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education. She’s also the co-host of the Out of the Question podcast, and Homeschooling Helps (weekly live Facebook event). She can be reached at [email protected].