February 24, 2020

Interpersonal Relationships

Interpersonal Relationships

Posted in Keystone Magazine Articles

Keeping Going When the Going Gets Tough - Part 8

by Craig & Barbara Smith

"Be still, and know that I am God." - Psalm 46:10. How are we going with being still like this? We have had the holidays - a good opportunity to take some extended time alone with God to think on the year ahead. I had some forced time on my hands after an operation and nearly two months of recuperation just after I wrote part 7 for the November 2003 issue of Keystone. I had a wonderful time in the Psalms! I made all sorts of promises to myself that I would keep up these wonderful extended times with the Lord in His word after my recuperation finished. But, well, you know how it is....I got busy...isn't life like that? We have to ruthlessly make the time to "Be still", set it as a priority and take the time from some other activity. This is really tough. And that is what this series of articles is about: how to keep going when the going gets tough. Our first article touched lightly on the need for us to plan for time alone with God each day. We had three articles on dealing with marriage difficulties and one on child discipline. We explored the need for each of us to be readers and how to be effective readers, and then we looked at what we should be reading and some guidelines to help us to be discerning readers.

So how do we make more time for the important things in our lives? In part 7 we looked at Support Groups and our involvement in the local Church. This time we want to explore other areas in our lives and see if we are doing the best with our time and talents.

Some of us work really hard and appear to get great results in our home education. Some of us work just as hard and appear to get fewer results. Stop looking at each other! Let us instead examine, first, what results are we actually aiming for; second, how focussed we are on getting them; and, third, what distractions are hampering us. We all struggle over various curriculum, different philosophies of education, marriage difficulties, discipline problems, etc. We desperately need to find ways to keep going when the going gets tough.

When Craig and I began home schooling, we created a wee school in our home which even included a teacher's desk. We used a variety of curriculum until we discovered more by accident that the children loved us to read all sorts of books to them. They also loved to have long discussions around the dinner table and getting extra time with us. That is, even though we were with them all day, they wanted their own individual one-to-one time. So Craig started getting up earlier each morning, investing individual time with a different child each day of the week. They all loved it! We also realised that when we interacted with our children rather than leaving them to interact with books on their own, we got far greater results.

So we morphed through three different educational philosophies: schooling at home, curriculum centred and delight directed, our family's favourite. Craig actually mis-read the article he had on "Delight Directed" learning: he thought it meant whatever delighted him would direct what he taught the children. The official version said what delighted the child should direct the studies. Craig reckons he developed a new philosophy of Home Education! You know why our children loved this approach? We reckon it was because they loved to study the things their Mum and Dad were interested in, just like the toddlers who want to play with your pots and pans, papers and pens, rather than their bright expensive toys.....because they see and sense your far greater interest in the pots and pans than in their toys.

Later we became interested in character training, thinking that this was the most important aspect of home education. We were telling this to Genevieve, our then 22-year-old daughter, shortly after she arrived home from the States in December 2002. But she said, "No, the most important aspect of education after learning to fear God is interpersonal relationships. When we looked back on our 19 years of home education, we saw that the most enjoyable times, the times our children remember the most, the times when our input was most effective, were the times we majored on one-to-one interaction. Now this isn't rocket science: we've heard it all before, but we get to thinking and worrying about and stressing over all the "work" the children "should" be producing (we're not sure for whom) and all the "school work" we think we should be doing with them. So we do the bookwork, etc., rather than just sit and talk or play games or simply enjoy some unstructured time together because the bookwork /formal teaching scenario appears a better use of time. We now suspect most of us think this way only because we underestimate or give no value at all to the quality of our interpersonal relationships with the children and among the children. These relationships need work, for both maintenance and improvement....just like our marriages do. We should be making time for each child just as we should be doing with our spouse.

We used to let our children go to the normal range of things like youth groups, sports clubs, etc. But we had to ask the question, "Who has the personal relationship with our children?" Some children, especially those who go to school, really have no-one training them as in Deuteronomy 6 and Proverbs 22:6, not even their parents. Some children go to school, Sunday School, Youth Group, Children's clubs, ATC, Catechism, sports practice, the neighbours, watch a bit of TV/Videos each day. The parents get the time left over, usually when the children are rushing in the mornings and tired at night. Many of these clubs and the schools give out homework and practise exercises. So by the time the homework is done, there is no personal time for parents with their children. In fact, when the children go to all of these activities, no one person or authority has responsibility for the overall training of the children or building strong relationships with them. Consequently, the children grow up in spite of the parents, with little reference to them, their convictions, their plans, and worst of all, their responsibility before God to be responsible for their children. Is this what we want for our children. No!

Tom Eldredge in Safely Home(1) says about schools: "It is time for Christian leaders to re-examine the Word of God to discover what He has revealed regarding the education and training of children. We can no longer continue to adopt what we have learned about efficiency in our factories to the training of our children. We have developed a thirteen-year program [public schools] run by professionals and specialists in which children experience a routine of ever-changing, superficial relationships with teachers and classmates. This program teaches children some hidden messages: that no one really cares and that their life in this world is a survival-of-the fittest type existence. When these children become adults they naturally expect to experience the same types of shallow relationships."

We did not want our children to grow up as we did in these superficial and shallow relationships. After Genevieve's comment about interpersonal relationships and discussing the need to work on relationships as a family, she said the priority there was knowing one's own children. As we evaluated our family relationships, which we reckon are pretty good on the whole, we realised that we don't really know our children as well as we would like. In fact, we'd say, we don't know them the way we should: that to properly shepherd our children and have their hearts as the writer of Proverbs constantly urges, we needed to have been maintaining a close walk with them day by day. The fact that we are with them nearly 24 hours a day, seven days a week doesn't mean we know them that well. It is something we specifically need to be working on daily from when they are little. We need to listen: when they read a book, they want to tell us every detail. We need to listen like it is the first time we heard it. We need to be discussing with them many of the things going on in our day. Then keep doing that when they get older. Genevieve invited us to ask all sorts of questions of her and her siblings on an ongoing basis, so we would learn all about them and what they are thinking. We need to be their best friends, not like when a parent tries to be up on all the latest teeny-bopper stuff, hoping to connect with the child in that way. We parents should be the older-wiser confidant to whom our children look first for advice because they are so comfortable and trusting of us, knowing we always have time for them and have few higher priorities than them. This starts when they are little. If your TV or newspaper or hobbies take up the prime time, and you often say you're too busy with them when your child wants your attention, they'll learn a lot sooner than you think that these things are for you higher priorities than they are. Don't let that happen! It takes constant vigilance. If you feel maybe too much water has already gone under the bridge and your children are getting older, then just begin asking questions. It is never too late. Yes, it's hard! Neither of us had any such close, warm relationships with any of our parents or siblings. We have had a hard time coming to grips with this. By God's grace our children are willing and wanting close relations, so as Craig especially began to turn his heart to the children, their hearts began to turn to him. (Malachi 4:6, Luke 1:17) What a joy to have our children wanting to have such a close relationship with us! But it takes work. We believe most children are crying out for better relationships with their parents - and that many times they do this via acts of incredible rebellion and apparent lunacy.....they are dramatic - and desperate - calls for attention. We parents need to do the drawing out, we need to take the initiative.

How can we add all of this to our lives as well as the things mentioned in previous articles! We will just stress out, crash and burn! Well, no, not necessarily. Not if we take a total new look at how we do things.

Our interest in Classical Education led us to the Bluedorns, www.triviumpursuit.com, authors of Teaching the Trivium. Their definition of Classical for the Christian includes anything that is of good form and lasting value, and which conforms to a Biblical standard within a Biblical worldview. We noticed a difference between them and other Classical enthusiasts. The difference was the way in which they looked at the ancient Classical Greek writings. Many don't conform to a Biblical standard within a Biblical worldview; that is, they're too pagan, too vile and too perverted for mixed company, let alone our children. The Bluedorn's perspective led us to investigate this further.

Tom Eldredge in Safely Home points out that the first conflict in recorded history was a battle over education. God was building a relationship with Adam and Eve. It was not quick enough for them. They took a short cut to knowledge, sacrificing their relationship with God. Eldredge says: Since then, Satan has never forgotten that man tends to sacrifice relationship for knowledge...We are so efficiency-minded today that we leave little time for things in life that take time: things like relationships, discipling our children and helping others...Our failure in the educational world exists because we have failed to understand the importance of relationships: relationships with God, relationships in the family, and relationships within the local Church.

In many respects, the gymnasium [Classical Greek schooling system] became the antithesis of the biblical and Hebraic approach to education. Where Hebrew education had stressed learning in the context of family relationships, multi-generational training, and the fear of the Lord as the beginning of wisdom and knowledge, Greek education and the establishment of the gymnasium emphasized the development of the child as a creature of the state who finds his identity as an individual, not a member of a family...Traditional Hebrew education with its emphasis on a reverence for God, familial relationships, holiness, humility, and moral development was the very antithesis of the Greek ideal, with its deification of reason and its glorification of the body. The Hellenization of the Jews contributed to cultural downfall and judgment. The hearts of children turned from their parents.

The Greek system only worked by removing children from their parents and handing them over to experts who were responsible for guiding the next generation...Because much of modern education is driven by ancient Greek ideals, the Christian must be especially wary so that he can rebuild his educational philosophy on the one true Rock, Christ Jesus.

We get stuck into home schooling by doing maths, science, history, etc., building knowledge to knowledge, just as Adam and Eve did, so that our children will have a good education. But: we are to build our worldview exclusively on Holy Scripture, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ. To the extent that our mature children should study classical culture and writings, it is to identify the many false philosophies and intellectual strongholds which have infected Western civilization, and against which the Christian soldier is to wage war...The extent that Classical Christian education emphasizes important biblical disciplines such as masteries of languages, logic and reasoning, history and the fundamentals of communication skills such as grammar, rhetoric and reading comprehension, we applaud it...The point is that we must have a system of education which is intensely personal, familistic and relationship driven so that virtue is added to faith, and knowledge to virtue, as required by Scripture; a system that trains the believer to 'think God's thoughts after him' through a presuppositionally biblical approach to truth; a system which rejects the idea that either our methods or our philosophy of education are neutral; and a system which emphasizes that the supreme goal of education is not simply to fill the mind with facts, or to get a credential, but to see the child 'Transformed after the image of the God who made him.'(2)

So how do we achieve all this? We've already made a marvellous start by bringing them home to educate them ourselves. As we constantly re-evaluate all things around us, we see that home education is not just for our families and us. It is for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren and for the future edification of the Church. We're just making a start, but we've done some of the hardest work of all: breaking with the pattern of the world to more closely follow Christ ourselves and disciple our children for Him. This is by far the most valuable and far-reaching aspect of our home education. As we re-evaluate our activities, we will find we'll need to assign new priorities to things like spending time with our children and building personal relationships with them. We may find some things high on the priority list at present may get moved down or bumped off altogether; perhaps items such as striving for a top position in academia or earning top dollar and credibility within the business community. We pray the Lord will give us all the vision and the courage to do what will bring Him glory in the raising of our children. "Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in His commandments! His descendants will be mighty in the land." - Psalm 112:1-2.

Notes:

1. Available from the Home Education Foundation

2. Doug Phillips http://www.visionforum.com/hottopics/controversies/hebrewgreek/

From Keystone Magazine
March 2004 , Vol. IX No. 2
P O Box 9064
Palmerston North
Phone: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389
email: barbara@hef.org.nz
New Zealand and Australian contact: http://www.hef.org.nz
USA Contact:: http://www.preschoolersandpeace.com/wst_page5.html
UK contact: http://www.halfmoonbooks.net/keystonea.htm

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Burn out – Support Groups and Church

Burn out – Support Groups and Church

Posted in Keystone Magazine Articles

Keeping Going When the Going Gets Tough - Part 7
by Craig and Barbara Smith

Life is just so busy, and at this time of the year it just gets even busier. Why is this always so? Is this good for us? Is it good for our children? Is there anything we can do about it? Should we be doing anything about it? How do we slow down in the 21st century? How can we do as Psalm 46:10 says: "Be still, and know that I am God."?

In the midst of all this busyness, can we say that the Lord is our refuge? Are we safe under the shelter of His wings? Do our souls wait in silence for God alone, for the hope of our salvation? Are we pouring our hearts out before God? Do our souls thirst for God? Do we have trouble sleeping at night because we are meditating on the Lord and just can't get Him out of our minds? Does our soul cling to Him? These verses from Psalms 61-63 have been a challenge to me over recent weeks. We need to "Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us." - Psalm 62:8. In all our busyness shouldn't we be pouring our hearts out to God for our spouses, our families, our community, the world and ourselves? Not just a casual prayer once or twice a day, but praying constantly as in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Wouldn't it be marvellous if we could say with the Psalmist, "My soul is feasted as with marrow and fat, and my mouth praises thee with joyful lips, when I think of thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the watches of the night; for thou hast been my help, and in the shadow of thy wings I sing for joy. My soul clings to thee; thy right hand upholds me." - Psalm 63:5-8. Let us be refreshed in the Lord daily and "Be still" when we can during the busy days ahead.

So, in practical terms, how can we slow down? We'll assume we are agreed: we need to spend time with our Saviour and to train our children to do this as well. Psalm 78:1-8.

There are areas in our lives that we can take a long look at to see if we are doing the best with our time and talents. There are so many good things out there to be involved in, so many needs to be met and so few willing people to meet them. Some of these things are very good and if nobody takes them on, they'll crash. We can't imagine Project A crashing, it's so worthy, so we add it to our busy load.

Stop right here. Let each of us take an honest look at our involvements and commitments. List them out. Are we making the best use of our talents and gifts in the context of those duties to which our God has clearly called us? This is a very difficult one to discern sometimes, for we are trying to discern the best on this side from the best over here. We can only do this with God's help: Proverbs 16:25 says, "There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death." Suddenly we see that we must spend that time with the Lord simply to ensure any of our involvements are right in the Lord's sight. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths." - Proverbs 3:5-6. This will mean different kinds of involvements for different people because God created us as a body with many parts.

Support Groups
When Craig and I began home schooling Genevieve in 1985, socialization was one of the main issues. (It hasn't changed much, has it, except that today most home educators would say character training is the biggie, while the normal concern of group socialization is a non-issue.) Over the years we've had contact with a number of home education support groups in New Zealand and the USA. Every one wanted to go on field trips and have all sorts of activities for the children. Many groups have been quite successful at this, often having several activities in a week, all to give the children great socialisation opportunities. The problem (in NZ or the USA) was that it seemed to fall on the same people week after week to organise the activities. Some activities would be well supported, others not, but either way, it meant the same workload for the organisers. Over time these leaders/organisers would burn out or give up. The good (serving others in organising socialization activities) caused the best (home educating their own children) to be compromised or discontinued altogether.

Over and over we've also heard it said that the families who went to all the activities were often the families with the naughtiest children. So much for socialisation! Older parents began to see that children need consistent discipline, which is best accomplished when their surroundings are constant rather than constantly changing. In other words, younger children especially became insecure and confused about their boundaries when the surroundings and the accompanying rules kept changing. Few parents can be so disciplined themselves as to clearly and consistently set new boundaries for their children for every occasion, several times a week, especially when a new mix of peer children would be calling them to a new set of spontaneous extra-curricular socialisation experiences.

So what is the function of a good Support Group? I believe support groups are for the parents, not the children. Parents need encouragement to get started in home education and to keep going. Workshops, Conferences, Seminars and camps are ideal.

When we began home educating, there was virtually nothing like this going on. Craig and I began to put on two- and three-day National Christian Home Schooling Conferences, with programmes for the entire family, the first in 1987, the last in 1996. While the feedback was always very positive, the logistics and costs to the families attending were considerable. But the overall organisational and logistical workload was a nightmare, with the children's programmes many times more work than the catering and adults' programme combined. And guess what? The children's programmes were exactly like the school outings we went through the exemption process to escape: no individual attention, too many badly behaved children due to a small number of minders who were not as familiar with or committed to the children as the parents would be, restrictive timetables, minimum time for each child per activity which didn't begin to satisfy the curiosity of some or even begin to pique the curiosity of others. We as organisers would be exhausted afterward, and our own children's home education efforts had been shelved for at least a fortnight both before and after the event.

Today's smaller and more local one-day workshops, happening with spontaneity and regularity in many areas of New Zealand, appear to us to return much greater value for the much lighter workloads involved. People can attend more than one a year, rather than waiting for the one big one we used to do every second year. The few activities that do require a large group of children: a proper athletics competition, a Home and Country Show, a drama production, etc., are still being run by support groups. But the many smaller support groups springing up everywhere, some composed mostly of a local church congregation, often have the activities and field trips back where they belong:  among the home schooling families who actually want them. Like-minded families are clubbing together for these as they want them, rather than an organiser putting something on to fill the blank in the events calendar for the month and hoping people show up. Organisers aren't put out when few turn up, and those who don't really want to attend don't feel bad about not supporting the organiser's efforts. The generally smaller groups are finding that this is a much better way to go. And the children are better socialised and the overall stress is nil compared to doing stuff for a large group of children.

Church
The way our churches are structured today can cause a lot of stress in our families with a different family member at a meeting of some sort at Church most nights of the week. When is the family at home together? Very little. Preserving our family time together is precious, for it has become such a rare commodity. This family time will become even more difficult to preserve, and yet even more precious and necessary, as our children get older. Our family knows full well what it means to be booked out every day and night of the week. Having thought about it a fair bit, we've concluded we need to see ourselves more as a family unit and to be involved in the Church as a family unit rather than as individuals.

Eric Wallace in Uniting Church and Home - A Blueprint for Rebuilding Church Community(1) says:

What I see happening in churches of all denominations is a movement away from the hurried, superficial, age-segregated, activity-laden ministry. They are moving toward a whole different approach that centers on freeing up the body to build godly households through heart-level relationships and age-integrated ministry. The equipping that people need cannot be provided through the traditional age-segregated approach. Strong households are the core of strong churches, and strong churches are the foundation for outreach to our communities, nation, and the world.

Howard Snyder tells us in his book, Liberating the Church, "If the church is seen primarily as an institution, its ministry will be largely institutional and program-oriented. But if the church is viewed as a community, its ministry will be person-oriented, focusing on building structures of human interaction. And in this perspective, the structures of family, church and neighbourhood are most basic."

Ministry that occurs outside of the home, generally speaking, is ministry that is out of touch with everyday life. I think this is why there is such an emphasis placed on hospitality in the New Testament. If you want to get to know someone, visit them! Have them over for dinner! It is difficult to know what someone's needs are if we can't see them in everyday life. Hospitality is not difficult. It involves seeing the daily activities of the home as expressions of God's sovereign rule in our lives. In its simplest form, it is inviting people to our home for lodging, meals, activities or just a visit.

A household approach to ministry places an emphasis on building biblical households in which parents disciple their children and "adopt" other members of the congregation who do not have families, and where fathers practice spiritual leadership in the home. In effect, the leadership begins to work through fathers and mothers instead of working around them. Discovering the church as a household will impress people outside our churches because they see Christians loving and serving each other. They will not have to wait to hear the Romans Road, The Four Spiritual Laws or Evangelism Explosion. They will see it with their eyes and hear it with their ears! They will say, "Wow!"

By thinking through our activities and reducing where possible, we have found we now have more time for the important things we believe God would have us do. We worship God at church together as a family twice each Sunday; we worship God together as a family after every meal each day. We are involved in the Church as a family, and we are involved with the community as a family. Our fellowship with other believers and our evangelism are centred in hospitality in our home or our friends' homes. Our support group activities are more Church orientated now, and our involvement with the local Home Education Support Group is more on a parent-to-parent basis. We have stopped to think about what we are teaching our children and what will be passed on to the generations after them. We are working at having time to "Be Still, and know that [He is] God."

Note:
1. Available from the Home Education Foundation

From Keystone Magazine
November 2003, Vol. IX No. 6
P O Box 9064
Palmerston North
Phone: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389
email: barbara@hef.org.nz
New Zealand and Australian contact: http://www.hef.org.nz
USA Contact:: http://www.preschoolersandpeace.com/wst_page5.html

UK contact: http://www.halfmoonbooks.net/keystonea.htm

Please like & share:

Choosing What to Read

Choosing What to Read

Posted in Keystone Magazine Articles

Keeping Going When the Going Gets Tough — Part 6

by Craig and Barbara Smith

 

Choosing What to Read

In part 5 we looked at Parental Reading, how it is one of the most important aspects of Home Educating our children. It follows after: developing an attitude of glorifying God and enjoying Him forever; working on our marriages so that they reflect the relationship of Christ and His Church; and the need for us to be consistent in the way we discipline our children.

Realising that the reading habits of us parents are so important, we now need to look at what we parents read. It should be obvious that some books are better than others. What isn’t so obvious are the guidelines one should use to decide what’s worth reading and what’s not and whether we should use the same guidelines for ourselves as we use for the children’s reading.

I had difficulty with this at first. Once I started reading in earnest, I ended up buying way too many Historical Fiction novels. These are OK in small doses, but we need to learn to be more discerning. We need to ask questions like:

1. Are all Christian books good?

2. Are all Classical books good?

3. Are all Non-Christian books bad?

The answer to all three questions is, “Definitely, no!”

Two books that helped me understand the issues here are The Fallacy Detective by Nathaniel and Hans Bluedorn1 and Teaching the Trivium by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn.2

Reasoning Skills

Why did the Bluedorn brothers, sons of Harvey and Laurie, write The Fallacy Detective? “We see a need for Christians to strive for a higher standard of reasoning. We believe God wants His people to become aware of their lack of discernment, and logic is an important part of the science of discernment. For instance, many Christians adopt beliefs and practices without properly evaluating the arguments which are used to support them. We need to rediscover the way of the Bereans, who searched the Scriptures daily to see if the apostles’ teachings were true (Acts 17:10-11)… We will never be as logical as the Lord Jesus Christ was, but we must work at it… Logic is the science of thinking the way God thinks – the way Jesus taught us to think. Remember, most people never study good thinking skills. So people who take on this quest of learning logic are breaking out of the mould, and this takes courage. It also takes humility. But most of all it takes self-discipline.”

Nathaniel and Hans wrote this book so we parents could improve our thinking and reasoning skills and could then teach these essential skills to our children. They’ve put together 36 lessons on how to recognize bad reasoning. Once through the lessons we should be able to:

          1. Put a high value on good reasoning;

2. Know how to spot many forms of bad reasoning;

3. Know how to avoid using many fallacies in our own reasoning.

Discernment Skills

In Teaching the Trivium Harvey & Laurie Bluedorn draw a distinction between “humanist classics” on the one hand and a broader definition of “classics” on the other. The former are generally understood to be “noted works and authors of ancient Greek and Roman literature.” The broader definition includes anything that “is of good form and lasting value – regardless of the time period.” Consequently you will find for yourself good, edifying reading material – “classics” – among the Greek, Roman, Medieval, Renaissance, Reformation as well as Modern time periods. The Bluedorns point out that because the two criteria for a classic piece of literature, “good form and lasting value”, are so subjective, no one can be said to have the final word on what should be counted “in” and what is “out”. Ultimately, as good stewards of all Christ has given us to use for His glory – our time, our own and our children’s hearts and minds – each of us needs to take responsibility for what works of literature we determine constitute “good form” and which ones we determine constitute “lasting value”.

The Bluedorns give further liberating advice regarding what other people recommend:

“You will find numerous lists of classics, great books, recommended reading, desired reading for college, required reading for cultural literacy and so forth. We would collapse in financial and emotional bankruptcy if we read all of the books on these lists. Some suggest that we should at least be familiar with the substance – the plots and characters, the themes and contents – of all the books on these lists. It is not possible for the ordinary person to do that and also have a life.” As the Bluedorns suggest, perhaps we need to come up with our own lists. What criteria do we use to place a book on the list or leave it off? “In the end we must bring all classics into obedience to serve Christ, or they are useless. If we cannot use them to promote the Biblical standard with the Biblical worldview, then we cannot use them.”

Harvey and Laurie tell how they got themselves weaned off of depending on lists provided by others. “We were using a curriculum which required the reading of Greek mythology. Our children observed that it was full of immorality, and they did not think they should be reading it. We had never read it, but we trusted the curriculum and suspected that they wanted to escape the assignment – until we read it! We repented. It did not agree with our principles on how to evaluate literature. Require your child to read those classical works which agree with your family’s principles and forget the rest. There are a large number of classical works which are good reading, and there is only so much time in the day.

“When the Israelites entered the Promised Land, they were commanded to wipe out all of the Canaanite literature (Numbers 33:51,52). In the New Testament the repentant Ephesians burned their books of sorcery (Acts 19:19). It does not say that they burned all of the books there were but only that there were some books which, regardless of their worldly worth, were better burnt. Likewise, there may be some things which the world considers of ‘literary value,’ but which, because of their ability to cause little ones to stumble, we are better off leaving alone until a mature age, or, in some cases, leaving alone altogether (Matthew 5:29,30). We must be willing to give up everything of this world before we can redeem any of it back for the Lord’s use (Luke 14:33). The world’s values cannot be our values.”

Teaching the Trivium goes into detail on each of these Ten Principles for choosing what to read:

1. Do what is pleasing to the Lord (Colossians 1:10, Hebrews 11:6).

2. Do not follow the world (Romans 12:2).

3. Do not allow the world to follow you (James 1:27, Proverbs 4:23).

4. There is only so much time in the day (Colossians 4:5).

5. Older does not necessarily mean better (Colossians 2:8).

6. Is this profitable? (1 Corinthians 6:12,13, 1 Timothy 1:8).

7. Does this promote good habits? (1 Corinthians 6:12).

8. Will reading this further my education? (1 Corinthians 10:23; Proverbs 4:14,15; Ephesians 5:11,12).

9. Does this material have lasting value? (1 Corinthians 7:31).

10. When in doubt, leave it out (Romans 14:23).

“We all recognise that it is necessary to draw the line somewhere, but sometimes it can be difficult to see where that line should be drawn. There is no rule book which gives us exhaustive directions. Different situations call for different judgments, and those judgments must be made in a mature way by applying sound principles.” The Bluedorns go on to explain some of the borderline areas where lines will need to be drawn:

1. Between the sacred and the profane.

2. Between the godly and the ungodly.

3. Between the decent and the indecent.

4. Between what is appropriate for children and what adults may be able to tolerate.

5. Between the worthwhile and the worthless.

6. Between the good and the best.

7. Between the best and the best.

 

We also need to be aware of the worldview of the writer of the book we are reading. Sometimes we can read a biography of a person by two different authors, and it would seem that we are reading about two different people! This demonstrates that the worldviews of the authors, how they perceive, judge and value the elements of their subject’s life, are radically different. Knowing the worldview of the author will let us know first of all whether we should be reading the book at all. It can also help us to be more discerning, to perhaps question some of the writer’s statements rather than just accept them if we know he does not have a Biblical worldview. Three books that have helped me to be more aware of the different worldviews and how it effects my reading are: Understanding The Times or Battle for the Truth both by Dr David A Noebel and Let Us Highly Resolve by David Quine3

So by becoming discerning readers we will be able to keep going when the going gets tough. The reading we will be doing will be encouraging us, building us up, giving us new ideas for Home Educating our children, making us more interesting for our spouse and children, giving us new visions and motivation for Home Education, showing us how to train our children in the way that they should go and drawing us nearer to God where we can be refreshed/built up in our relationship with Him.

Notes:

1. The Fallacy Detective by Nathaniel Bluedorn and Hans Bluedorn. Available from: Home Education Foundation; see http://hef.org.nz/2007/fallacy-detective/

or visit http://www.christianlogic.com

2. Teaching The Trivium by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn. Available from Home Education Foundation;  see http://hef.org.nz/2007/teaching-the-trivium

or visit http://www.triviumpursuit.com  

3. Understanding the Times, Battle For The Truth and Let us Highly Resolve are available from Christian Education Services, 55 Richards Ave, Forrest Hill, North Shore City, New Zealand. Ph/Fax (09) 410-3933 email: cesbooks@intouch.co.nz , http://www.cesbooks.co.nz

From Keystone Magazine 

September 2003, Vol 1X No 5

PO Box 9064

Palmerston North

Phone: 06 357-4399

Email: barbara@hef.org.nz

Website: http://www.hef.org.nz

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Parental Reading

Parental Reading

Posted in Keystone Magazine Articles

Keeping Going When the Going Gets Tough - Part 5

Parental Reading
by Craig and Barbara Smith

So far in this series of articles we have briefly looked at:

1. The need to improve our personal relationship with God: to be going to Him with all our needs, frustrations, hurts, joys - everything - and finding satisfaction in Him. To glorify Him and enjoy Him forever.
2. Our marriages are to reflect the relationship of Christ and His Church. Such a high standard requires us continually to work in every area of our marriages, for something will always require a bit of attention.
3. We need to be consistent in the way we discipline our children.

Being on top, or at least making progress in each of these areas, will help prevent burnout. It may sound contradictory, that to prevent yourself from stressing out too much you need to take on other projects you're not currently working on, but it's true! Being fully occupied with minor things, even though they are good things, is a huge source of stress when it causes us to neglect the really major things.

This brings us to the fourth area that we as parents need to be concentrating on - our own development. Over the years Craig and I have recognised the truth indicated in Deuteronomy 6:1-6: that Home Education is all about us parents first, then our children. If we are going to be giving out day by day, we need to be taking in day by day, or the well is going to run dry.

This self-development is best done through our own reading. So often we hear parents saying, "Oh, I don't have time for personal reading." We must make that time...it is, after all, that "time for yourself" everyone seems to advise us to take. And that time for reading must be taken away from something else.

The writers in Classical Education - The Home School say, "And we state emphatically, again, that the reading of the teacher is more important than the reading of the student. If the teacher reads as he should, the reading of the student will naturally fall into place."

These writers also say, "...as diligent parents, we are confronted with two areas which stand out with respect to the necessity of hard work. The first is the necessity of reading, and reading some more. A person can successfully sell someone else on a vacuum cleaner without reading, but he cannot sell someone else on books without reading. Education is the process of selling someone on books. Parents who will not read simply cannot be equipped to supply a classical and Christian education for their children.

"As the task of educating yourself and your children continues and broadens, you will always have a need for more books. And once your reading has begun in earnest, and you have gone down some of the bibliographic trails suggested by that reading, you will soon be in a position to start compiling your own book lists...We should remember that with such preparatory reading, a good pace to maintain is to try and finish a book every week or two. This may seem intimidating at first, and if it were considered a hobby, it would be overwhelming. But the task is the education of your children, which is not a hobby but a vocation. The word vocation comes from the Latin verb voco, which means 'I call'. A person's vocation is his calling; a parent's vocation is to learn in order to teach."1

After I left school, I hardly read a book at all. When I was around The Navigators in the '70s, I was challenged to read a book a month. I found it a struggle, perhaps because I was committed to reading the Bible through once a year during this time. Once we got married, I was busy with babies, and reading the Bible in a year seemed to be all I could manage. In the mid-'90s I became interested in Classical Education and began to read a bit more. After reading the book Classical Education - The Home School, I was challenged to read a whole bunch more. This reading gave me the confidence to Home Educate our children. Teaching The Trivium is a must for a Christian home educators reading list.

I don't think I will ever reach the reading habit of Summit Minitries' Dr David Noebel: one book a day. But I am in the middle of about 12 or 13 books that I am reading to myself, plus three books that I am reading to the boys and one to Charmagne. Craig and I are still reading a book together. Craig has always been a reader. Now with both of us reading, there is plenty of material for discussion. Not only that, our children are also avid readers. The older ones read much faster than I. This is frustrating for me, but I am very pleased for them. I will never even get through all the books in our personal library. But I am excited that our children will be able to have a good go at it. Even though Jeremiah, at 11, is not reading for pleasure yet, he has the desire and love of books his older siblings have. For example, when we are planning a trip, he will put out half a dozen books for himself to read on the way should his reading skills suddenly click into place....he wants to have enough books on hand to keep him going.

Andrew Sandlin writes: "When I first encounter a book I intend to read, I do what Mortimer Adler calls 'inspectional reading.' His book How to Read a Book, is an outstanding work; and it is probably the definitive work in this field. By inspectional reading, I mean what some people call "skimming". I will read the table of contents, any chapter subheadings, the blurb on the back cover, the book jacket's inside and outside flaps (although I am careful here, since these promotional blurbs are not always an accurate description of the contents!) and even glance over the index. The problem with people who skip the inspectional phase of reading, as Adler notes, is that they are forced to learn the book's general content while they are reading it. This is silly, unnecessary and counter productive. If you have a general idea of the author's thesis, you are much more likely to understand his detailed, sustained argument. In short, you should know the writer's viewpoint and thesis before you start reading his book.

"I get a pen and straight edge (and sometimes highlighter) and start reading. When I encounter especially memorable statements, or those I intend to cite or refer to later, I underline them and put words and other notations (like stars) in the margin. I have never encountered a reader who marks up the text of his books as much as I do - there probably is somebody out there; it's just that I haven't met him. Not only do I underscore; I use brackets, carets and braces; I annotate all four margins, and I copiously turn down the edges (both top and bottom) of certain especially memorable pages....My wife Sharon once chided me when she saw how my marking had massacred a page, 'Why do you do that? Now, nobody else will be able to read it!' 'Precisely,' I responded. 'This is my book. It is not meant for other people to read. Let them get their own copy.' This is why I rarely read library or any other borrowed books - if I can't mark a book, I simply don't read it."2

Reading the previous two paragraphs by Rev Sandlin for me was so liberating. I now mark the books I read to my heart's content! This has greatly helped me find important or interesting things again so that I can use it or point others to it. Recently Diana Waring gave me a signed copy of her new book Reaping the Harvest. She had written such a nice note in it that I decided to read it without marking it. I regret that now. I told Diana that I would write a book review of it, but I now have to re-read the book - marking it this time! And I know I'll use it more if I mark the many things that impressed me. I also find I enjoy reading books after Craig has as I can see the things that have caught his eye, and it helps me to appreciate him more and can be a source of discussion for us.

I now want to quote Mr. Adler at length:

"People go to sleep over good books not because they are unwilling to make the effort, but because they do not know how to make it. Good books are over your head; they would not be good for you if they were not. And books that are over your head weary you unless you can reach up to them and pull yourself up to their level. It is not the stretching that tires you, but the frustration of stretching unsuccessfully because you lack the skill to stretch effectively. To keep on reading actively, you must have not only the will to do so, but also the skill...the art that enables you to elevate yourself by mastering what at first sight seems to be beyond you.

"If you have the habit of asking a book questions as you read, you are a better reader than if you do not. But, as we have indicated, merely asking questions is not enough. You have to try to answer them.... The pencil then becomes the sign of your alertness while you read...Why is marking a book indispensable to reading it? First, it keeps you awake-not merely conscious, but wide awake. Second, reading, if it is active, is thinking, and thinking tends to express itself in words. Spoken or written.

"The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks. Third, writing your reactions down helps you to remember the thoughts of the author.

"Reading a book should be a conversation between you and the author. Presumably he knows more about the subject that you do; if not, you probably should not be bothering with his book. But understanding is a two-way operation; the learner has to question himself and question the teacher. He even has to be willing to argue with the teacher, once he understands what the teacher is saying. Marking a book is literally an expression of your differences or your agreements with the author.  It is the highest respect you can pay him.

"There are all kinds of devices for marking a book intelligently and fruitfully. Here are some devices that can be used:

1. Underlining
2. Vertical lines at the margin
3. Star, asterisk, or other doodad at the margin
4. Numbers in the margin
5. Numbers of other pages in the margin
6. Circling of key words or phrases
7. Writing in the margin, or at the top or bottom of the page
(See Adler's book for an expansion of these ideas.)

"The endpapers at the back of the book can be used to make a personal index of the author's points in the order of their appearance. To inveterate book-markers, the front endpapers are often the most important. Some people reserve them for a fancy bookplate. But that expresses only their financial ownership of the book. The front endpapers are better reserved for a record of your thinking. After finishing the book and making your personal index on the back endpapers, turn to the front and try to outline the book, not page by page or point by point (you have already done that at the back), but as an integrated structure, with a basic outline and an order of parts. That outline will be the measure of your understanding of the work; unlike a bookplate, it will express your intellectual ownership of the book.

"Any art or skill is possessed by those who have formed a habit of operating according to its rules. This is the way the artist or craftsman in any field differs from those who lack his skill...Reading is like skiing. When done well, when done by an expert, both reading and skiing are graceful, harmonious activities. When done by a beginner, both are awkward, frustrating and slow...It is hard to learn to read well. Not only is reading, especially analytical reading, a very complex activity - much more complex than skiing; it is also much more of a mental activity. The beginning skier must think of physical acts that he can later forget and perform almost automatically. It is relatively easy to think of and be conscious of physical acts. It is much harder to think of mental acts, as the beginning analytical reader must do; in a sense, he is thinking about his own thoughts. Most of us are unaccustomed to doing this. Nevertheless, it can be done, and a person who does it cannot help learning to read much better.

"Every book has a skeleton hidden between its covers. Your job as an analytical reader is to find it. A book comes to you with flesh on its bare bones and clothes over its flesh. It is all dressed up. You do not have to undress it or tear the flesh off its limbs to get at the firm structure that underlies the soft surface. But you must read the book with X-ray eyes, for it is an essential part of your apprehension of any book to grasp its structure.

"Cervantes may or may not have been right in saying, 'There is no book so bad but something good may be found in it.' It is more certain that there is no book so good that no fault can be found with it."3

Home Educating parents must be readers. This could mean radical changes at home. Reading to our children and personal reading are usually the first disciplines, the first victims, sacrificed to the TV and VCR. As we said at the beginning, reading time must be taken from somewhere else: try taking it from these two, "redeeming the time for the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:16).

Notes:
1.      From: Classical  Education-The Home School. By Douglas Wilson, Wesley Callihan and Douglas Jones. Available from Geneva Books.
2.      Chalcedon Report, No. 439, March 2002, "On Reading Books" by Rev. P. Andrew Sandlin, www.chalcedon.edu.

From Keystone Magazine
July 2003, Vol. IX No. 4
P O Box 9064
Palmerston North
Phone: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389
email: barbara@hef.org.nz
New Zealand and Australian contact: http://www.hef.org.nz
USA Contact:: http://www.preschoolersandpeace.com/wst_page5.html
UK contact: http://www.halfmoonbooks.net/keystonea.htm

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Implementing the 4 Ds of Child Discipline

Implementing the 4 Ds of Child Discipline

Posted in Keystone Magazine Articles

Keeping Going When the Going Gets Tough — Part 4

by Craig and Barbara Smith

Implementing the 4 Ds of Child Discipline

We will find it really difficult to home educate/disciple our children if we do not have a system in place for disciplining/training them. In fact, to produce a disciple of Jesus Christ takes another disciple of Jesus Christ, one who has himself been disciplined and trained. That is, Christian discipline starts with us parents.

Tedd Tripp in Shepherding a Child’s Heart says that :

You must shepherd his (your child’s) thoughts, helping him to learn discernment and wisdom. This shepherding process is a richer interaction than telling your child what to do and think. It involves investing your life in your child in open and honest communication that unfolds the meaning and purpose of life. It is not simply direction, but direction in which there is self-disclosure and sharing. Values and spiritual vitality are not simply taught, but caught. Proverbs 13:20 says, “He who walks with the wise becomes wise.” As a wise parent your objective is not simply to discuss, but to demonstrate the freshness and vitality of life lived in integrity toward God and our family. Parenting is shepherding the hearts of your children in the ways of God’s wisdom.

If you are to really help him, you must be concerned with the attitudes of heart that drive his behaviour. We demand changed behaviour and never address the heart that drives the behaviour. What must you do in correction and discipline? You must require proper behaviour. God’s law demands that. You cannot, however, be satisfied to leave the matter there. You must understand, and help your child to understand, how his straying heart has resulted in wrong behaviour. How did his heart stray to produce this behaviour? In what characteristic ways has his inability or refusal to know, trust and obey God resulted in actions and speech that are wrong?

Remember that Proverbs 4:23 instructs you that the heart is the fountain from which life flows. Your child’s heart determines how he responds to your parenting. Training and shepherding are going on whenever you are with your children. Whether waking, walking, talking or resting, you must be involved in helping your child to understand life, himself and his needs from a biblical perspective (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).Genesis 18 calls fathers to direct their children to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just.

Then most importantly Tripp says, “Many parents lack a biblical view of discipline. They tend to think of discipline as revenge or getting even with the children for what they did. Hebrews 12 makes it clear that discipline is not punitive, but corrective. Hebrews 12 calls discipline a word of encouragement that addresses sons. It says discipline is a sign of God’s identification with us as our Father. God disciplines us for our good that we might share in His holiness. It says that while discipline is not pleasant, but painful, it yields a harvest of righteousness and peace. Rather than being something to balance love, it is the deepest expression of love.”

“What is the first rule for disciplining children? You must have more discipline than the child.” This quote came from Lou Priolo’s book The Heart of Anger. This is so true. In our home Craig and I use the 4 Ds of discipline to help us in this task. It helps us to be and to appear more disciplined because they are so easy to remember. Making up rule after rule on an ad hoc basis is useless: “If you bounce that ball in the house again, I’ll take it from you for a week.” “If you don’t turn that thing down, you won’t be allowed to have it on for a month.” Your children will remember every detail of every one of those rules made by you on the spot…..but will you? If you don’t back your threats up with action, you are teaching your children to both disregard your authority and to gamble with disobedience. The fallen nature of our children making sin attractive is bad enough without us adding the addictive gambling attraction of, “Can I get away with it this time or not?”

These 4 Ds are to help us identify heart issues of rebellion as opposed to maturity issues of clumsiness and mistakes. Rebellion is sinfulness or what is at times called foolishness, as in Proverbs 22:15: “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.” When this rebellious heart attitude, or foolishness, which the Bible tells me is part of my child’s makeup, manifests itself, this Scripture tells me it must be driven out with the rod of correction. We take that to mean a spanking, applying a stripe across the backside with a rod. Backside means buttocks, clothed not bared. It does not mean back, legs arms, torso or head. Rod means not your hand but something light and flexible which also doubles as a symbol of authority, like a septer.

A key objective of parenting is shepherding our children’s hearts, not just controlling their behaviour. It is important, therefore, that any discipline should be used for training the heart of the child, driving the foolishness out so that it does not become a permanent fixture. The discipline is not to be used for our “convenience” as a quick way to shut them up or get our own back or unload our anger or frustration. In fact, if any of these things are the motivating factors of the “discipline”, whether that “discipline” be of a corporal nature or yelling or sarcasm or removing privileges, that “discipline” is not corrective, but retributive. It has jumped from the track of discipline onto the track of child abuse.

The 4 Ds of Discipline are:

1. Disobedience

2. Disrespect

3. Dishonesty

4. Destructiveness

Craig and I use the rod of correction — or call it Biblical chastisement, the discipline of spanking, corporal correction — when we see any of these four things in their behaviour. Now, dropping a dish so it breaks while setting the table and tossing a dish into the air so it breaks when you smash it with a baseball bat are both destructive: but one displays a heart attitude of destructiveness while the other is an accidental act of clumsiness. One needs a spanking to drive that lousy attitude out, the other may only need a bit of light verbal admonition to please be more careful, or not to carry so many dishes at once or whatever.

So consistent discipline “yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” — Heb. 12:11. Inconsistent discipline breeds contempt for you and your authority: “Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” — Ecclesiastes 9:11. No discipline is a disaster: “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother” — Proverbs 29:15. And so-called “discipline” motivated by anger, frustration and the like is just plain abuse: “For the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” — James 1:20 and “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” — Proverbs 14:12.

The beauty of consistent discipline is that by doing some hard work now, it means a lot less work later on. There is no way that sending our children to school “because I can’t discipline them” will make it any easier. If we are not motivated enough to discipline our own child properly, how on earth can we rationally expect anyone else to be? We parents each need to get on top of the disciplining of our children ourselves.

I have gone for long periods where I focused on the discipline and not the home educating. At such times, whatever studies and work we get done is a blessing and a bonus! Even so, my main focus is always on the discipline, for if that is not right, no academics will be accomplished anyway. At the moment I am working on my son’s attitude and his tendency to be disrespectful. We (the children and I) learn verses like:

Philippians 2:14: “Do all things without grumbling or questioning.”

Proverbs 21:23: “He who keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.”

Proverbs 22:15: “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.”

Colossians 3:20: “Children, obey your parents in all things for this is well pleasing to the Lord.”

Psalm 141:3: “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth, Keep watch over the door of my lips.”

So when Jeremiah has a bad attitude, I drop everything and deal with it. Sometimes it requires that I do this over and over in a single day. Getting on top of his attitude is more important than his times tables; i.e., if he never learns his times tables yet has a good attitude, I reckon that is better than him learning his times tables and having a bad attitude. But we aim to get on top of his attitude and master the times tables as well. I know: it is a pain and a hassle having to stop and deal with bad attitudes, disobedience, whining and complaining, getting their own ways, etc. But it is a hassle not dealing with them, too…..a much bigger and uglier hassle, one that only gets worse, if you ask me. Our younger children see all this, and are also being trained by it. However, I was concerned that Jeremiah was still needing to be spanked at 8.

Diet

Then I remembered Sharyn in Wanganui, a home schooling mother we had known for a long time, and thought that it was about time I gave her a ring. You see, Sharyn is associated with the Wanganui Allergy and Hyperactivity Awareness Association (Inc.). Maybe Jeremiah’s behaviour was food related. I talked with Sharyn for about 30 minutes, and at the end of our converstion she put Jeremiah on a very restrictive special diet. Actually it is an elimination diet. We took out of Jeremiah’s diet a lot of foods and other household products for a period of time and have since been testing these as we slowly try to introduce them back in one at a time over several days. We have found that nearly every time we introduce something new, Jeremiah has a bad reaction to it. So Sharyn’s strict diet seems right for him. The amazing thing to us is that whereas Jeremiah couldn’t seem to control his bahaviour before, he can control what he eats, and this actually helps control his behaviour! He actually polices it better than we do. He is in control, in a round about way, of his behaviour because he can control what he eats. Sharyn is happy for people who suspect their child’s behaviour could be food related to contact her at phone (06) 345-8393 or email cabri@xtra.co.nz.

Movement

I want to finish this article talking about another book that I am reading at the moment: Pain Free for Women: The Revolutionary Program for Ending Chronic Pain by Pete Egoscue with Roger Gittines, authors of Pain Free and Pain Free at Your PC. This book is not written from a Biblical World View, but it does have some wise insights. The authors say things like:

Children from five to twelve years old are supposed to be hyperactive. They are intended to be nearly non-stop motion machines…Step by step and hand over hand, children build mental capacity and competency as they move….Children in motion also experience an interplay between activities that require finer eye-hand coordination and those that call for gross locomotor skills…..If the child gets less than 90 minutes a day of energetic free play, then there’s not much chance that his musculo-sketetal system will remain functional. With 90 minutes or more — preferably more, and with the activity broken into morning, afternoon, and evening segments — children, even those who didn’t get enough crawling time as infants and toddlers, can develop and maintain full musculoskeletal system function.

We need to look at our children’s behaviour and determine if they are just being normal, active children, perhaps requiring a bit of coaching in self-control at appropriate times, or are they displaying in some of their hyper-activities a heart attitude that needs to be dealt with? Are they normal, active children just having fun, or are they being deliberately Disobedient, Disrespectful, Dishonest or Destructive? If they appear to be chronically rebellious, constantly displaying one of the 4 Ds, could it be rebellion made worse by food intolerances or allergies? Or now that we’ve got them sitting reasonably still, do we require them to be this peaceful and “good” for unreasonable lengths of time at the expense of their need for active motion?

The authors of Pain Free write:

Parents who feel frustrated by an unruly child and are genuinely concerned that the youngster is losing ground educationally and socially need to take a hard look at these so-called symptoms and ask questions. Among them:

1. How much energetic free play does the child get each day?

2. If left to choose his activities, does he run, jump, climb, crawl?

3. Does he sleep through the night?

4. Does he get enough sleep?

5. Does his hyperactivity follow sedentary periods?

6. Do his focus and attention span improve after a period of energetic activity?

7. Are you feeding him a diet high in salt, sugar, nitrates, caffeine, dyes and other chemicals?

8. How many hours of TV (or videos) does he watch each day?

9. How structured are his routine and his environment?

10. As a parent, how much time do you spend with him in energetic, unstrcutured play and interaction?

This line of inquiry has two purposes. The first is to determine whether the child is just trying to blow off steam and behave like a normal, active and functional six- to twelve-year-old in a modern motionless world. The second is to find out if the symptoms are caused by musculoskeletal system dysfunction rather than a disorder that requires drug therapy. I have to admit that there is a downside to functional children. They are a handful, two hands full. The world is their playground. The upside, however, is that they are healthy, strong, and smart.

We need to be training our children in the spiritual as well as the physical. I Timothy 4:8: “For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

As we work on the spiritual training of our children, we also need to keep in mind the physical training. We need to think, “Is this physical behaviour from lack of exercise and motion, as a result of eating the wrong foods, or is it a heart issue?” Are one or more of the 4 Ds being displayed in this situation, or do we need to take something out of the child’s diet? Or do we simply need to go outside with our children, let off some steam and unwind with a good old game of tag or hide and seek? Whatever action you take, it’s probably best to get out and play that game of tag as well! Try it!

Some links for further reading on this:

Spanking vs Child Abuse http://www.FamilyIntegrity.org.nz/page/542923

Ban Smacking? http://www.FamilyIntegrity.org.nz/page/542923

The Christian Foundations of Corporal Correction http://www.FamilyIntegrity.org.nz/page/603567

From Keystone Magazine

March 2003, Vol. IX No. 3

P O Box 9064

Palmerston North

Phone: (06) 357-4399

Fax: (06) 357-4389

email: barbara@hef.org.nz

New Zealand and Australian contact: http://www.hef.org.nz

USA Contact:: http://www.preschoolersandpeace.com/wst_page5.html

UK contact: http://www.halfmoonbooks.net/keystonea.htm

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