Thursday, July 1, 2010

More Thoughts on Family Devotions

This is written in response to Lewis' comment on "Quick Thoughts on Family Devotions"

WELL MEANING should be all caps! ;-)

AS I am reading the stories of unhappy home school grads, I am seeing this common theme. Many parents grew up in the 70s, in a teen culture with no restraint or wisdom about drugs and sexual behavior. When we became Christians, this was one pain we wanted to spare our children.

We were ripe for the Christian book industry to mine for our money. Once again we were in new uncharted territory, how to raise children in a Christian home, and we were looking for someone to guide the way.

Since the selling point in all this Christian literature and the lecture circuit is so shiny clean and happy, first generation Christian parents were enchanted. We could all relax. We may not know how to create a healthy Christian family, but all these experts did.

I bought so many books. I have books by Dobson and Ross Campbell side by side on my bookshelf. They actually have very different approaches, but I was trying to make it all fit in my life somehow. (Still recommend Dr. Ross Campbell, by the way.)

Others read books I was not at all enamored with- Mary Pride, the Pearls- but what we had in common was the relief that someone else KNEW the way to make this work. We put our trust in their books/lectures.

Yet we should have seen that all that angst was unnecessary. After all, we had all come to faith in Christ without daily devotions and rules about every facet of life. Why did that not occur to us?

We wanted to spare our children the pain we went through, and inadvertently caused them different kinds of pain. All because we relied on others to tell us how to live, instead of letting our uncertainty guide our daily prayers that God Himself would reveal His heart to our children in the way that would work best for each of them!

I'm not saying don't share your faith with your children. I'm saying LIVE your faith- pray, read YOUR Bible, speak from your heart by the grace of God when it seems fitting (if you are walking with God that will be often). Share the stories of Jesus Christ, and let Him draw your children's heart to his great love!

I am saying if I had it to do over again, I would not go over and over the do's and don'ts found in scripture every day. I would focus more on living it out myself than on teaching it by rote memory.

Yes, I know the verse "I will hide thy word in my heart, that I might not sin against thee". And I would do that, in front of my children, for myself. But, if I had to do it again, I wouldn't assign it to my children. I would be completely non-coercive about it.

Wouldn't that have been wise! If they see Mom and Dad living this way, but it is not demanded of them, my guess is that they would be seeking God on their own in their own way/time, and it would be a joy rather than a burden, and the Holy Spirit would be in charge of the whole process rather than a curriculum provider or some other Christian book publisher.

But I could be wrong. I am researching my theories for now. =)

1 comment:

  1. Both you and Lewis highlight a theme that I have seen over and over in my searching for Truth: the difference between spirituality and religion, and the difference between education and pedagogy. All the various streams of religious and educational theory teach variations on the the theme of love others but change yourself; show it, do it, be it, don't say it; be the example for others to follow, a Living Sermon, don't just preach words.

    Jesus said it, Paul wrote it, Buddha taught it, pretty sure Confucius mentioned, Mohammed named his whole religion after it ("surrender"). In education, Maria Montessori said it, so did Rudolf Steiner, the radical unschoolers like Sandra Dodd, you can even see it if you look for it in the traditional teacher-training programs.

    Despite being such a central theme in all these great founding teachers of both spiritual paths and education, and that these teachers themselves were considered really "out-there" radicals in their day, by the time their teachings come to us in tidy institutionalized packages, the theme has been trampled by layers of doctrine and legalism--the rules to follow, the guaranteed steps for success in parenting, classroom management, living holy--to the point that noticing and following the theme itself has again become quite a radical move.