Today we registered our 5 year old for Kindergarten at our local public school. It would be an understatement to say I wrestled with this decision. When our son turned 4, I was already overwhelmed with the thought of choosing the “right” educational path for him. The pressure is on to make sure you don’t mess up your kids academic future. Pressure that is often self-inflicted, or brought on from society, or even unintentionally elicited from well-meaning family and friends. After all, obtaining the proper education is a measure of success in our culture. But sometimes within Christian circles it can also be a measure of holiness.
I don’t want this post to be about public school vs homeschool vs christian education vs unschooling. Every parent must come to their own prayer filled decision of how to educate their children. And I will say that I honestly believe there is no one way. Every child is different, every family is different. All I can offer is my own personal journey of a mom who has legitimately been ridden with guilt, lack of peace, and fear. And it was all because I lost perspective. I searched for safety and security and hope in my own ability. And what a burden! To think I hold their future. To think the entirety of my child’s success or failure is based on my decision. Somehow I will mess everything up and my kid will be screwed up for life. How small I made God! How I lessened His love! I needed to remember that God is greater than any one decision I make and that He who holds the power to raise the dead, also sovereignly reigns to work in the lives of my children.
Schooling is not going to save our kids. No matter what path of education we decide, our kids are not guaranteed safety. They are not guaranteed to flee from the deception of the sin within them or of the world. They are not guaranteed to turn to Jesus. We cannot place our hope in our children turning out “right” by how we decide their educational future (or any decision for that matter). Our only hope for our children’s future (and our own) is through Jesus! Yes, we prayerfully seek God’s counsel and ask Him to help us raise our kids, but we can’t hold them so close we forget that we don’t own them. We can’t fall to fear and believe that our decisions determine the ultimate course of their life. They are the Lord’s. He fearfully and wonderfully knit each child together and His love for them is so much more than we could ever fathom. We must remember that we are never in control of their hearts. We shepherd, we counsel, we pray, we plead with the Lord to help them follow Jesus in faith. But in the end the choice to live for Jesus is between them and the Lord.
And this not only applies to making the best decisions for our children but also in our own lives as well. Fear, guilt, want of safety and security do nothing but hinder our surrender to the Lord and submission to His will. May we seek to honor the Lord through the ways we choose to raise our children, but may we also remember that they ultimately belong to Him. Let us live in light of His saving grace and put our hope in Jesus.
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21
*I think it is important to also remember that whatever educational path we decide for our child is never without evaluation and need of wisdom year after year. It is wise to take each year (or month) at a time and determine if God is still leading your child on the same education path or a different one.