“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.” Proverbs 1:7-9
This is one of the first verses we have our children memorize when they are very young. The first thing they hear over and over when they are still toddlers is, “Listen and obey!” We want them to remember to heed our discipline and hold on to our instruction. On the surface this sounds like good parenting, but I believe there is a much deeper lesson here. We strive for outward obedience yet sometimes neglect the little inner-man of our children. Do our children seem to despise wisdom and discipline? It must mean they do not know enough of the fear of the Lord. Their souls are hungry for the Lord! To feed their souls the fear (awe, respect) of the Lord is to begin to teach them a love for wisdom and discipline.
As their teacher, does the daily instruction I offer my children provide nourishment for their souls and produce beautiful adornments? It is only then I am able to heed the discipline of my Father and cling to His instruction for me that I can reveal to my children, in all that I teach, that all knowledge begins with the fear of the Lord. And, since they are receiving most of their knowledge from me, it is especially important that I know this fear of the Lord, and this Lord that I fear. The cry of my heart is that He will teach this teacher, and that I will really learn what true knowledge is.
There comes a time in every school year for looking back and evaluating progress. And, I believe, first and foremost, we need to evaluate spiritual growth. I do not want my children to merely be more advanced academically (this comes almost automatically in homeschooling); I am shooting higher. My desire for them is not merely to be characterized by outward obedience or even good works. My goal is lofty…my goal is beautiful children in the inner man of their hearts; children who know the fear of the Lord.
This year is flying by at my little school house. Where did it go? On what did we expend our energies? Was it really worth it eternally? Our time here is but a breath. We are closer to eternity than ever. Have I been the face and hands of Jesus to my husband and children? Have I loved and served others instead of myself? Have I taught my children the Way in which they should go? Have I spent time with and listened to my Teacher? I must say that the answer to all of these questions is a definite ‘sometimes.’ I wish it were a resounding, “Yes!” David said in the Psalms, “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.” Why is it we spend that thousand elsewhere when we know that even one day in His courts is better? We are frail flesh, but we have a God who suffers long with us and says it’s never too late to come. And, when we do, we need to include our children.
Looking ahead, let us resolve to give Christ the preeminence in our curriculum planning and class scheduling. Let us resolve to resist letting academics or knowledge come first, for knowledge begins with the fear of the Lord. Let us resolve to love the Lord our God with all our heart, our entire mind and all our strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves, for on this hang all the law and the prophets. And this forms the very basis of our homeschooling and our lives.
“Lord, please teach these teachers. We want to know You. We want our children to know You. Reveal Yourself to us that Your beauty would become our adornment. May you feed our souls this coming school year and may we come to you daily as our Master Teacher.”
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