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Painful Parenting

I am convinced that one of the main issues we face as parents (and especially homeschooling parents) is raising the kids that God didn’t give us.

Andrea G. Schwartz
  • Andrea G. Schwartz,
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Over the years, my hair has become grayer, and the forces of gravity have helped establish me as an older woman, one who is deemed wise. Thus, I’ve had the opportunity and privilege of being consulted for advice when homeschooling parents experience difficulty in the raising and rearing of their children. Having been a good student of the Bible and having studied the principles of nouthetic counseling (counseling from a thoroughly Biblical perspective), I’ve been able to help parents “put on the glasses of Scripture” in order for them to see situations more clearly and be better able to deal with their difficult times.

In my own life, I have had more than one rude awakening regarding the perspectives and behaviors of my own children. The question remains, if I was able to give sound counsel to others in adverse circumstances, how come I wasn’t prepared to see similar things happening within my own family? Currently, I am living out the answer to that question; I am searching the Scriptures for parent/child situations that appropriately speak to this issue and am seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit and other believers in praying for the return of my prodigal.

I am convinced that one of the main issues we face as parents (and especially homeschooling parents) is raising the kids that God didn’t give us. Simply put: we have an image of what we want our children to become (according to the principles we have taught them) and then assume that they have embraced these same principles — sometimes when there are significant indications to the contrary. Somewhere along the line, new ideas and influences come into their lives and subtle, but real, shifts begin to take place. For example, what one young girl might find offensive in dress when she was nine now becomes freedom of expression at sixteen. What a young man might consider rude and inappropriate speech at ten, now designates him as mature and “cool” to his friends. Did our children change? Or did the circumstances in which they live and move widen and more of their own sinful tendencies begin to emerge?

Regardless of how acceptable and routine homeschooling has become, there still exists much opposition by flesh and blood, let alone principalities and powers in high places. Our enemy is all too willing to concede our children to us when they are young, only to entice us with the idea that a college degree (especially from a well-renowned secular school) will ably prepare our kids for their callings under God. However, statistics bear testimony (as does my personal experience) that this stage of life is among the most vulnerable. It is likely that significant damage can be done and is done to a young person’s witness and convictions as they are barraged by the onslaught of secular academia. The words of 1 Peter 5:8 ring out loudly, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

Homeschooling families (which tend to be larger) have to proceed through this stage with many younger eyes watching. The older child’s “acting out” has to be carefully dealt with so that precedent is not established in the younger ones’ minds. Hence, in the midst of emotional upheavals, the parents’ commitment to the Word of God must remain steadfast.

As I write this, I’m relying on the promises of my Lord and Savior that the good work that was begun in my child will see its fruition in the day of Christ Jesus. In the meantime, rather than doubt the jot and tittle of God’s Word, I embrace it more fully. For that is the only Rock capable of supporting this grieving parent who has had to hear the accuser of my soul mock my homeschooling efforts and ridicule my faithfulness to the tenets of my faith.

[G]reater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).

[L]et God be true, but every man a liar (Romans 3:4).