Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2)
We live in a society where conforming to the world is expected. All you have to do is go to the mall to see it in kids today — 14 year old girls, dressed in immodest, yet trendy clothes, texting on their iPhones about the next big social event, using language that would shock a sailor. It’s the norm it seems. It’s not even surprising. Conforming is expected. Cool even.
Ben recently told some kids he met at the neighborhood pool that he was going to middle school, out of fear that they would think he was dumb since he was homeschooled. He was definitely trying to conform. This same day he had also been called a horrid name by someone he had considered a friend. His first response was to ask our neighbor to use her phone, so he could call me. She didn’t let him, I think because she thought he wanted to call me to whine about what happened. She thought it would be better for him to try to figure out how to deal with it on his own. In actuality, he wanted to call me to ask me how he should handle it. This well-meaning friend later suggested to me that perhaps I should send Ben to middle school, since it’s obvious he wants to go and because he is too dependent on me. He needs to learn how to handle these bullies. I doubt she’s alone in that feeling. She’s probably in the majority even.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world . . .
She thinks he is too dependent on me because he comes to me when he is hurt, offended, or feels bullied. Isn’t that what we want our kids to do? Come to us when they don’t know how to handle tough situations? The answer isn’t to send him to school so that “he can learn how to handle bullies.” That would indeed be conforming to the world. It’s probably the answer most people would offer. But it’s not the answer found in God’s Word . . .
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deut. 6:6-7)
God makes it clear in His Word that it is our job as parents to teach and train our children, according to his commandments. This isn’t just about homeschooling — it’s not even about homeschooling — it’s about life. It’s about every day parenting.
It’s about discipling our children the same way Jesus discipled his apostles — by being with them every day, talking with them, teaching, training, and setting the example.
When you get up, as you walk (or drive) along, when you’re sitting around the dinner table, when you go to bed. All. day. long. Talk, teach, train. SET THE EXAMPLE. Set the foundation for life with God’s Word, with his commandments. Yourself. Be the parent.
In the passage above, Moses is talking to the 2nd generation of Israelites whose parents had spent 40 years wandering the desert in fear and disobedience. They were about to enter the Promised Land and boy, were there gonna be some bullies there! Giant ones! Moses knows he’s not going with them, so he’s taking this time to tell these parents that they must teach their kids about the One true God and His commandments. And he’s teaching us to do the same with our kids.
There will be people there worshiping many gods and doing lots of other really bad things (sound familiar?). Moses is instructing them so that they won’t easily conform to the world in which they are about to be a part. And so their children have the foundation on which to resist those things that counter God’s Word.
Our children need that same foundation today. Just like Moses, we aren’t always going to be there to guide our kids. Our time for biblical instruction is short. Now is the time. Today is the day.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
It’s too easy for so us as parents today to let other people have the most influence over our kids. Teachers, youth pastors, coaches . . . you know, the experts. But God doesn’t command us to send our children to other people for teaching and training. He commands us to do that part ourselves.
There was a time when I homeschooled for all the reasons the world thinks we all do — to protect my son from bullies, because I think I can do it better than the public school, or out of fear of how he would manage in a classroom setting. And honestly, all of these are still valid concerns for me. But as time goes on, and God continues to teach me, I realize the reason He has called me to homeschool is in order to lay the proper foundation for Ben.
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder . . . But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 3: 10-11)
So while we will certainly do math, read good books, and write, we will do it all with the knowledge that we do these things, not because we are conforming to the expectations of friends, family, neighbors, or the government. No, we do these things with a higher purpose in mind.
A mind that is being renewed . . . transformed. Not conformed.