Hasn't this been the age-old question?
Our kids started out being homeschooled, but after some complications we decided to enroll 2 of our 5 kids into the public school that was practically in our backyard. We have been blown away with the support they have given our now 4 children who attend their school. We are in consistent communication with all of their teachers and the special resources department has been better than we could have ever imagined for our special needs child.
But the decision to place our kids in the public school system has also opened up many other opportunities for discussion, and ministry, and service. We have been able to open up our home to classmates and their families. And we have been able to begin conversations about the very real world we live in. We've decided not to shelter our kids in this area. We are in it to get dirty for Christ and to shine brightly for Him!
But how in the world do you teach your children about the world without being judgmental of the world that tends to do things so differently from your family? How do you teach your children to love the people created by God but not necessarily everything they say or do.
We know we need to be intentional with our kids in their spiritual disciplines and walk with Christ. This is key. We cultivate their hearts at home so they can be different. So they can be a shining light.
Then, depending on maturity, we have decided on when each of our children need (or will need) to have a one-on-one get-away with mom or dad to discuss the changes they are about to undergo and some of the main issues they may be faced with in the upcoming years.
For example, I took my now 10-year-0ld daughter away for a night and a day when she turned 8. It was a “rite of passage” kind of weekend. It was a really special time for us. I used part of the “Passport2Purity” curriculum to jumpstart topics and conversations. My husband will soon be taking our 9-year-old son away for the same type of get-away. We want to be proactive in letting our kids hear these kinds of things from us first-hand and beginning these conversations with them so they know where to go for the truth.
This naturally opens up doors to discuss some of the main issues going on in the world like abortion, same sex marriage, sexual preference, and premarital sex.
These are difficult topics, but you can't shy away from them. Bring your kids back to the Bible. What does God say about His creation? Give the why's for the way your family is set up. Allow them to safely come to you and ask questions. And most importantly, let your kids see how you love those who do things differently than you.
Yes, there are certainly things we disagree with about other individuals, friends, or family members, but that doesn't mean we have to do life AGAINST them with arrogance that portrays that we are somehow better than them. We meet them where they are, love them, point them to Jesus by our own actions and deeds, and pray for opportunities to share God's way with them.
Life is sticky.
We are all sinful human beings.
And doing life with other sinful human beings can get really, really tricky.
But if we can teach our children to “be strong and courageous” and the importance of “love(ing) your neighbor as yourself” I think we have found a great place to start.
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