Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Things Not Taught

In the past I wrote about a homeschool dad who told me academics were not a primary concern in his house. At the time, that was a very shocking statement to me. Back then I was not sold on the idea quite yet and to hear someone say reading, writing, and math was not the most important part of their school day really surprised me. Now that my family has homeschooled for three years I really understand the meaning behind such a statement. I know science and history are important, but I realize many things my kids need to succeed are not taught in most schools.

First and foremost is the need for a personal relationship with Christ followed by knowledge of absolute truth only found in the Bible. Preparing them spiritually to face a world growing more and more evil is paramount. Our childrens foundations are being formed every day. Are we preparing them adequately? There struggles are even more difficult than when we were young. Satan has more avenues to reach our kids.

Another principle I want my little ones to learn is in the area of personal finance. Most kids today completing college are already in debt with student loans. The culture today tells us we deserve the best houses and cars right now regardless of how much money we have. I want them to learn how to save and budget. If they fail to learn this principle it won't matter how good of a job they have.

I interview several potential apprentices in my job. It is amazing how unprepared most applicants are when they arrive. Many have no idea how to dress or present themselves. Although they may be very interested and even qualified for the job, their body language and speech say otherwise. I want my children to see the importance. I want them to understand they truly will get only one chance to make a first impression.

These are a few qualities I pray they learn and possess. A good background in these areas helps produce a confident young person more capable of facing the world and effectively serve God. There are many other areas in our children's life we plan to focus. My wife and I feel character traits are vital. If we teach them about kindness, backed up with what scripture states, they will grow to have it as a quality. These are all lessons not taught in most schools, and to be fair, it is not any school's responsibility. It would be great if they reinforced them, but we parents are to teach them. This makes homeschooling even more of a blessing. These skills and qualities can be incorporated throughout the school day. As parents, we should never take our charge lightly. The Lord expects our best and we are accountable for how we raise them.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Kid's Day

Saturday was the first annual kid's day in our home. I know many will argue this takes place every single day. My wife and I decided to draw attention to a specific day. This was also their day of recognition for advancing to the next grade in homeschool. The day was packed with activities and we never even left home. Sometimes it seems when we spend less money we often have more fun. This is especially true when we set out to spend time together as a family. It was difficult throughout the day for me to not work on the lawn or clean off the front porch. We decided our chores will still be here another day, but this day was for the children.

The day began with breakfast followed by the promotion ceremony. Each homeschool student received a certificate and individual recognition in front of their siblings. They were very excited and enjoyed the recognition. We then prepared for a water party. This consisted of a three wide slip and slide, a sprinkler spraying up through the trampoline, and a bubble station. After a couple of hours of fun in the sun the kids enjoyed chocolate ice cream with sprinkles on the front porch. We then went in and enjoyed a little AC as mom prepared one of their favorite meals, an entire dinner made up of appetizers. Once dinner was over they played outside as we waited for the sun to go down. The evening was wrapped up with a movie projected on the back of our house followed by some backyard fireworks. It was an exhausting day, but one I wouldn't trade for anything.

I always feel like time spent together as a family is time well spent. We put this day together to let our children know how privileged we are to have them and to emphasize they are a blessing and gift from God. I'm not sure the day had this meaning to the kids. Perhaps it was just a day of fun for them. Maybe all they saw was ice cream and activities. One thing I am sure of is that it allowed us parents an opportunity to pause and really see all we have. We are wealthy with the blessings from the Lord. I encourage all parents to a break from the hustle and bustle. Family is about the relationships. It is about having their hearts and leaving no doubts in the minds of our children that we love them. Our kids are already asking about the next kid's day. I look forward to the 2nd annual event and any other chance to grow as a family.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Lessons Learned

The past couple of weeks have been very draining for my family. My father's illness took a turn for the worse last week. Sadly, the ICU turned to hospice and on Friday he passed. It was grueling to watch my Dad slowly die. It was difficult to see the pain on my families faces as we waited for God's time. I am thankful my father was saved. This makes his dying easier to deal with, however, there never seems to be a good time to lose a family member. One thing I have learned in this experience is the Lord is always prepared to teach me, especially when times are tough.

From trials comes opportunity to grow. Dealing with death makes us appreciate life. We clearly have no guaranty of tomorrow. I have realized as Christians we need a sense of urgency. The world around us is dying. My family is blessed that my father trusted Christ. Many around us will only hear the gospel if we share. I recently heard a great message preached about being a fisher of men, not only through specific out reaches, but as a lifestyle.

Another thing I learned is that life is about relationships. First and foremost is obviously our relationship with Christ. What about the human relationships? We put so much focus on goals and career. Meanwhile, we put others on the back burner. The death of my father has taught me I need to value these relationships more. I clearly need to be a better son and brother. While I know my primary responsibilities will always begin with my wife and kids, I need to make time for others as well.

I am thankful God cares enough to put a premium on our relationship. If I would follow his example I would have the perfect blueprint to guide me. We all need to display a Christ-like kindness. I am sad to see my Dad pass away, but I am grateful he is in heaven. His pain is no more and his tears are gone. I hope to honor him in how I live the remainder of my life.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Fathers Hope

This past week we attended a homeschool kindergarten graduation for my twins. It is sometimes difficult to accept my kids are quickly growing up. As there names were announced pictures of their school year scrolled across a large screen. This made me think about how much they have learned and how little time we have to impact their young lives. I began to consider my hopes and dreams for my children.

Many dads dream of their kids playing sports at a collegiate or professional level. They want them to graduate from popular universities and become doctors or lawyers. Parents often want to live out their dreams through the lives of their kids. As if to fill the voids from their own failures.

My world view of what I wish for my children has changed dramatically in the past 5 years. I have always wanted them to be happy and successful, but my ideas about success have changed. I learned the best place for them is the center of Gods will. I realize their lives will hold so much more value if they focus on eternal things.

Having 5 daughters I know the day is coming when young men will have interest in them. I will have my shotgun ready and waiting. On a serious note, I see no reason for my young daughters to date. Any courtship should be for the purpose of finding a husband and at 14 years of age they are not ready for marriage. If a boy wants to see my daughter he has one choice which is to come to church. She will be there at least 3 times a week. I pray my girls one day seek and find a husband who loves God more than he loves her. If he puts the Lord first I believe everything else will fall in line. I hope my girls will glorify God in all they do and understand how vital their roles as wife and mother can be.

I have many hopes for my 2 sons. I pray they will take serious their responsibility to lead from the front. They are both fully capable of someday shepherding their families in a Godly manner. I want them to highly value their wife and constantly attempt to improve and grow that relationship. They will hopefully stand in the gaps and be willing to die to protect their kids. I pray they have the staying power which helps them drive through the difficult times and always put family before career and hobbies. To do this they will clearly need a strong foundation consisting of a close daily walk with the Lord.

My expectations are different from the normal of the world. My kids will have to be noticeably different. They will face persecution if they choose to live a Christ-like life. I hope to instill in them persecution is a small price for the privilege of honoring God and having a strong family.