May 9, 2021

Pros and Cons of Home Schooling

Pros–Benefits of Homeschooling

  • 1.Spend more time together as a family.
  • 2.Spend more time with children when they are rested and fresh rather than tired and cranky from school.
  • 3.Superior academic achievement through individual tutoring.
  • 4.Parents can ensure that their children master the subjects.
  • 5.Children can be daily instructed and vitally involved in the realities and responsibilities of life in the everyday real world context of the home, the community, the workplace and the marketplace.
  • 6.The world is the classroom.
  • 7.Tutoring provides vast amounts of individual attention.
  • 8.Curriculum can be tailor made to suit child’s interests, learning style, aptitudes, special needs, etc.
  • 9.Quieter, more secure, loving and committed environment of home builds stronger foundation for child’s security.
  • 10.Builds stronger family ties as everyone is involved in a 24-hour-a-day project of great importance and vast implications.
  • 11.Parents feel more fulfilled in themselves, and are continually challenged to a higher standard of excellence. Their own potentials are more fully developed.
  • 12.Parents are most committed to the child’s success. No one else will spend the blood, sweat, toil, tears, time and money parents routinely invest in their own children.
  • 13.Children receive superior socialisation through the parents’ positive role models and consistent training. Parents’ standards are not constantly contradicted as can happen in the classroom and on the playground.
  • 14.The child’s learning, rather than the teacher’s teaching, is the focus of the whole exercise.
  • 15.The child’s education will not conflict with or contradict the philosophy and world view of the parents and/or the family’s church.
  • 16.Homeschooled children generally demand a higher standard of excellence in radio and TV programming, theatre, the arts, books, magazines, movies, etc. As more and more such individuals abound, they will not only create a market for better goods in these areas, but may also signal the demise of the NZ porn and sleeze merchants for lack of patronage.
  • 17.Independent, individual, original thinkers, as homeschoolers tend to be, may develop into NZ’s own Shakespeares, Einsteins and Beethovens. Consider the South Island’s own C.W.F. Hamilton, the inventor of the jet boat and revolutionary earthmoving equipment. He declared that his two years in school interrupted his education.
  • 18.Independent homeschooling is a must if we are to preserve our civil liberties from the totalitarian tendencies of the social welfare state. As the Presbyterian scholar of Princeton and Westminster Theological Seminaries, Professor J. Gresham Machen, warned way back in 1926, “If liberty is not maintained with regard to education, there is no use trying to maintain it in any other sphere. If you give the bureaucrats the children you might just as well give them everything else.”
  • 19.Children and parents are able to form deeper friendships and more intimate relationships with each other….the family unit is thereby drawn closer together and strengthened.
  • 20.Children learn respect for their parents as teachers in all areas of life. They will look to their parents and to those adults whom the parents respect for advice and guidance rather than to whatever teachers, social workers, and peers happen to be immediately available. The Generation Gap is closed.
  • 21.Your child is removed from a peer-dominated environment in which he or she is exposed to countless potential failure situations, damaging both self esteem and love of learning.
  • 22.The parents’ commitment to and intimate knowledge of the child, the individualised attention, the increased flexibility to even follow the child’s individual preferences in study and the parents’ enthusiasm and excitement about learning themselves will more than make up for any perceived lack of a paper teaching qualification.
  • 23.Avoid having to struggle to get children to do the tedious busy work that is so often sent home as homework.
  • 24.Allow children time to learn subjects not usually taught in their school.
  • 25.Allow children to have time for more in-depth study than what is allowed in school.
  • 26.Allow children to learn at their own pace, not too slow or too fast.
    Allow children to work at a level that is appropriate to their own developmental stage. Skills and concepts can be introduced at the right time for that child.
  • 27.Provide long, uninterrupted blocks of time for writing, reading, playing, thinking, or working so that the child is able to engage in sophisticated, complex activities and thought processes.
  • 28.Encourage concentration and focus – which are discouraged in crowded classrooms with too many distractions.
  • 29.Encourage the child to develop the ability to pace her/himself – this is prevented in a classroom where the schedule is designed to keep every child busy all the time.
  • 30.Spend a lot of time out-of-doors. This is more healthy than spending most weekdays indoors in a crowded, and often over heated, classroom.
  • 31.Spending more time out-of-doors results in feeling more in touch with the changing of the seasons and with the small and often overlooked miracles of nature.
  • 32.Children learn to help more with household chores, developing a sense of personal responsibility.
  • 33.Children learn life skills, such as cooking, in a natural way, by spending time with adults who are engaged in those activities.
  • 34.More time spent on household responsibilities strengthens family bonds because people become more committed to things they have invested in (in this case, by working for the family).
  • 35.Time is available for more non-academic pursuits such as art or music. This leads to a richer, happier life.
  • 36.Children will not feel like passive recipients of subject matter selected by their teachers. They will learn to design their own education and take responsibility for it.
  • 37.Children will realize that learning can take place in a large variety of ways.
  • 38.Children will learn to seek out assistance from many alternative sources, rather than relying on a classroom teacher to provide all the answers.
  • 39.A more relaxed, less hectic lifestyle is possible when families do not feel the necessity to supplement school during after-school and week-end hours.
  • 40.Busy work can be avoided.
  • 41.Children will avoid being forced to work in “co-operative learning groups” which include children who have very unco-operative attitudes.
  • 42.Children can learn to work for internal satisfaction rather than for external rewards.
  • 43.Children will not be motivated to “take the easy way out” by doing just enough work to satisfy their teacher. They will learn to be their own judge of the quality of their own work.
  • 44.Children will be more willing to take risks and be creative since they do not have to worry about being embarrassed in front of peers.
  • 45.Children will be more confident since they are not subject to constant fear of criticism from teachers.
  • 46.Peer pressure will be reduced. There will be less pressure to grow up as quickly in terms of clothing styles, music, language, interest in the opposite sex.
  • 47.Social interactions will be by choice and based on common interests.
  • 48.Friends can be more varied, not just with the child’s chronological age peer group who happen to go to the same school.
  • 49.Field trips can be taken on a much more frequent basis.
  • 50.Field trips can be much more enjoyable and more productive when not done with a large school group which usually involves moving too quickly and dealing with too many distractions.
  • 51.Field trips can be directly tied into the child’s own curriculum.
  • 52.Volunteer service activities can be included in the family’s regular schedule. Community service can be of tremendous importance in a child’s development and can be a great learning experience.
  • 53.Scheduling can be flexible, allowing travel during less expensive and less crowded off-peak times. This can allow for more travel than otherwise, which is a wonderful learning experience.
  • 54.Children will be less likely to compare their own knowledge or intelligence with other children and will be less likely to become either conceited or feel inferior.
  • 55.Religious and special family days can be planned and celebrated.
  • 56.More time will be spent with people (friends and family) who really love and care about the children. Children will bond more with siblings and parents since they will spend more time together playing, working, and helping each other.
  • 57.Feedback on children’s work will be immediate and appropriate. They won’t have to wait for a teacher to grade and return their work later to find out if they understood it.
  • 58.Feedback can be much more useful than just marking answers incorrect or giving grades.
  • 59.Testing is optional. Time doesn’t have to be spent on testing or preparing for testing unless the parent and/or child desires it.
  • 60.Observation and discussion are ongoing at home and additional assessment methods are often redundant. Testing, if used, is best used to indicate areas for further work.
  • 61.Grading is usually unnecessary and learning is seen as motivating in and of itself. Understanding and knowledge are the rewards for studying, rather than grades (or stickers, or teacher’s approval, etc.).
  • 62.Children can be consistently guided in a family’s values and can learn them by seeing and participating in parents’ daily lives.
  • 63.Children will learn to devote their energy and time to activities that THEY think are worthwhile.
  • 64.Children will be able to learn about their ethnicities in a manner that will not demean. Children will be able to understand multiculturalism in its true sense and not from the pseudo-multicultural materials presented in schools which tend to depict others from a dominant culture perspective.
  • 65.Children will not learn to “fit into society,” but will, instead, value morality and love more than status and money.
  • 66.Children do not have to wait until they are grown to begin to seriously explore their passions; they can start living now.
  • 67.Children’s education can be more complete than what schools offer.
  • 68.Children who are “different” in any way can avoid being subjected to the constant and merciless teasing, taunting, and bullying which so often occurs in school.
  • 69.Children with special needs will be encouraged to reach their full potential and not be limited by the use of “cookie cutter” educational methods used in schools.
  • 70.Low standards or expectations of school personnel will not influence or limit children’s ability to learn and excel.
  • 71.Children will be safer from gangs, drugs, and guns.
  • 72.Parents will decide what is important for the children to learn, rather than a government bureaucracy.
  • 73.Family will not be forced to work within school’s traditional hours if it does not fit well with their job schedules and sleep needs.

Cons–Drawbacks of Conventional Schooling

  • 1. Political motivation of curricula content.
  • 2.Susceptibility to radical philosophical overtones of pressure groups: relativism, feminism, mysticism, socialism, the worst of the Family Planning Association, homosexual activism.
  • 3.Bright children often bored and unchallenged.
  • 4.Slow, SPELD or handicapped children often left behind or under-attended.
  • 5.Many children subjected to bullying, teasing, victimisation, manipulation and the many negative aspects of peer pressure.
  • 6.The peer pressure often leads to peer dependency wherein a child will look to his peers for acceptance, standards, morals and guidance.
  • 7.Danger from dense traffic, kidnappers and perverts while travelling to and from school.
  • 8.Exposure to unhealthy, unrighteous and immoral lifestyles as well as infectious diseases, epidemics, head lice, etc.
  • 9.Some children suffer the insecurity of psychological rejection at being sent away from home by parents who often unwittingly give the children the impression they are glad to have the children off their hands.
  • 10.Because the children are away from home for most of the day, Mum or Dad may both tend to focus their attention and look for personal fulfillment outside of the family.
  • 11.Children often develop a split personality in order to deal with one set of authority, values and standards at school and a completely different set at home.
  • 12.The instruction tends to be like mass treatment of children on the classroom dosing strip. No time for individualised tuition.
  • 13.Classroom environment is artificial and contrived and shelters children from the reality of everyday life in the home, the community and the workplace/marketplace. The classroom is also often overcrowded, too cluttered, too noisy and unruly.
  • 14.Necessary academic subjects are skimmed over for lack of time. Unnecessary and sometimes controversial subjects are shoehorned into the programme wasting precious time.
  • 15.There is the added costs of fees, uniforms, committee meetings, transportation. There are hassles with timetables, personality conflicts with teachers, administrators, other parents. There is worry about the competency of some teachers, the influence of certain other students, and rumours of unsavoury “goings on” at school.

Cons–Drawbacks to Homeschooling

  • 1.There may be fewer opportunities for playing team sports.
  • 2.The house begins to resemble a research station rather than an immaculate showhome.
  • 3.Research and learning opportunities begin to spring up in your mind and can even dominate all other activities.
  • 4.There may be hassles in transferring back into the school system. Because you have been studying along a different stream, and even though your child may know a lot more about a lot more subjects, because he hasn’t done “Insects” and “Trains” as did his school peers, your child may be thought of as “behind” and the teachers will complain about having to spend extra time bringing your child up to speed.
  • 5.Parents may find they have less free time to themselves.
  • 6.Homeschooled students tend to miss out on the trendy and experimental educational philosophies and methodologies instigated by the MoE from time to time. They also tend to miss out on those units which are “pushed” into schools by government policies, special interest lobby groups, trustee boards, headmasters and even individual teachers.
  • 7.Homeschooled students may lack the stimulation which academic competition can provide.
  • 8.Homeschoolers tend to be less knowledgeable and sophisticated in the areas of swearing, dirty joke telling, finger signs, alcohol and drug abuse, illicit sexual activity and gang dynamics.
  • 9.Parents may face some opposition from relatives, friends, neighbours and school personnel.

The Christian Man and His Children, Part 3 (Final)

The Christian Man and His Children, Part 3 (Final)

Posted in The Faith of Us Fathers

“You shall be holy to me; for I the LORD am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.” — Leviticus 20:26

As we established at first, our children belong to God and not to us. They are a stewardship, a huge responsibility, laid upon us by God Almighty to be trained up for His purposes. And He will call us to account for the way in which we have trained them up. God claims them from the beginning, for after all, He caused them to be born into a Christian family. We do not follow the child-centred philosophies of the world and treat our children’s wants, desires and wills as sacrosanct, as off-limits to interference by us, as taboo. And we recognise both our accountability and responsibility toward the rest of the Body of Christ, the saints with whom we regularly worship and fellowship.

We as parents often struggle with the issue of our children’s conversion, regeneration by the Holy Spirit, re-birth as Christians. Many of us who became Christians in later life can pinpoint the day and the hour of our conversion experience. But surely, the ability to identify the moment of conversion should be the exception rather than the rule within Christian families. I used to scoff at people who would say to me something like, “I’ve always been a Christian.” Well, I don’t scoff anymore, for my own teenaged children have said such things, and as much as is humanly possible, I am totally convinced of their regeneration. Such children have “always” been in a Christian environment. My wife and I, along with many Christian home educating parents, both wish that we had had such a consistent Christian upbringing ourselves….it would have surely kept us from some of the damaging sinful excesses we experienced as unbelievers, things we wish we could erase from our memories as they negatively influence our present Christian lives. Some Christians say to me that they wish they had not had such a protected upbringing as they had in their Christian home, for if they had experienced the vileness of gross sins, perhaps they would be more urgent in their quest for Christlikeness, in their evangelistic efforts, than they are now. I cannot disagree more with such a sentiment. Brothers and sisters: take it from me: you do not want the physical, intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual scars that sinful actions cause. You do not know what you are saying. The Lord has called us to move in the opposite direction.

All the more true of our children, who belong, remember, to God. Do they need to steal another’s property to appreciate how wrong it is? Do they need to actually become drunk or ruin themselves by immorality in order to appreciate the ugliness of sin? NO!! Take them to visit some prison inmates, take them to a pub or an A & E ward on a Saturday night to observe. Get a Christian doctor or counsellor to share with you some descriptions of the human wrecks he or she has had to deal with. Sign up as a foster family for a few months: becoming involved with a few of the many desperate “families” which exist out there will convince you of the blessedness and privilege of a Christian home. Life itself provides plenty of yucky illustrations of sin. The Scriptures warn about it over and over. But sin dwells within our own and our children’s hearts, regenerated or not, and your own family life (yes, even within the most godly of Christian homes), will provide you with plenty of opportunities to point out the ugliness and deceitfulness of sin. Hate it. Run from it. That’s what families are for: to deal with the lying, thieving, immoral tendencies in our children before they go public.

We do not wait for our children to affirm that they want to be Christians before we train them in all areas of Christian life, thought and doctrine. No. God has already claimed them. Whether you are a Presbyterian who sprinkles a newborn or a Brethren who has a dedication ceremony for a newborn, you already acknowledge that God should have an “unfair advantage” in shaping the child’s life. Self-conscious atheists have described to me how they let their children determine all their own life decisions by remaining hands-off from birth. I point out that this is still imposing their “hands-off” philosophy upon their children without asking them (I guess it is hard to ask a newborn) whether that is the way they’d like to be raised! As Christians we have this politically incorrect advantage that we know for certain what is right and what is wrong. So we don’t quibble about it or apologise for it: we simply inculcate our convictions into our children from day one. Memorise Proverbs 1:7-8 for it clearly states who we and our children are to obey: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge ; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and reject not your mother’s teaching.” God first, then Dad and Mum.

We do not live in a vacuum, nor are we ever truly independent or self-sufficient. We need the guidance, counsel, admonition, encouragement and example of our Christian brothers and sisters. The Scriptures specifically say the older women should be teaching the younger women (are you ready for this!) “to love their husbands and children” (Titus 2:4). Can you think of a more unwelcomed and downright nosey activity in our secularised cultures of today? Just shows how far we’ve moved away from the Biblical standard. We should welcome such input from others within the Church. And we should be prepared to lovingly and gently give such input ourselves. In I Timothy 4:12 Paul admonishes the young man Timothy to set the believers an example. It is obvious that we are to do this for our children, but it is also our duty toward all other believers. In fact, we parents can have, by God’s grace and the respect we will have with other Christian parents, quite an opportunity continually to influence other children. Likewise we should consciously select other godly parents and encourage them, give them permission if need be, to speak to our children, to chastise and correct them as the situation demands, or reward them, without the need to first fetch us to the scene.

The Christian man can have no greater opportunity to leave his stamp upon the history of God’s earth than to leave his stamp upon his sons and daughters. Our labours here, more than in any other sphere, have everlasting consequences which will follow us into heaven. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain.” (I Corinthians 15:58). Hallelujah!

From Keystone Magazine
January 2002 , Vol. VIII No. 1
P O Box 9064
Palmerston North
Phone: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389
email: craig

The Christian Man and His Children, Part 2

The Christian Man and His Children, Part 2

Posted in The Faith of Us Fathers

The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it? — Jeremiah 17:9

Last time we established that the Lord our God is going to hold us fathers responsible for how we raise, shepherd and disciple His children who have been given to us by Him that we might steward them on His behalf. And the Lord has so ordered things that in fact we willingly co-operate with Him in their conception; that is, we cannot say to God, “I never asked for these children. Why did You give them to me?” The Lord has delivered our children into our hands, we are responsible for them, and He will call us to account for how we rear them.

We need to have a clear understanding about the inner nature of these our children. Yes, they are little chips off the old block in many ways. But don’t think for a moment they are little bundles of innocence. In a solely human respect they are lovely to behold and speak to us of human innocence like nothing else apart from the person of Christ. And they appear to do nothing intentionally bad or evil for a while anyway from their birth. Yet “I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5). Our children arrive in our arms as little bundles of depravity and it’s all downhill from there….unless we train them and shepherd them to higher ground.

The Lord tells us through Jeremiah (see above NKJV) that our hearts are more deceitful than anything else……that is, we are prone to self-deception! We see lovely little babies and think, “How sweet!” We receive kisses and cards from our youngsters and think, “My, but they have little hearts of gold.” Be careful: their hearts are the worst parts of them: deceitful and desperately wicked, says the Scripture; so wicked one is hard pressed to understand the degree of wickedness found there. We have all very recently witnessed the incomprehensible nature of this evil in human hearts as passenger aircraft ploughed into the twin towers of New York City. While our children do not manifest evil as much as they could, as much as they are apparently capable of, to the praise of God’s mercy and grace toward us, we must not underestimate the capacity for evil that could develop within them if separated too much from His Word and His people. Charles Manson, Idi Amin, Osama bin Laden, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Pol Pot were all lovely little innocent-looking babies at one stage.

Although there is that fallen nature within them which gives them a downhill tendency, this is not the natural state of affairs. Neither our children nor ourselves exist in a state of normalcy: we are cursed with a sickness called sin, which will eventually bring us to the grave. Unregenerate folks and unbelievers either think we are all basically good and morally healthy (I’m Ok, You’re Ok) or that we’re evolving in that direction and with Polyanna discount the notion of evil and put it down to misunderstandings (….or religious bigotry, a malady secular folks reckon they never catch!) So we need to carefully take our medication and follow the Great Physician’s orders, for both ourselves and our children. This is why our lifestyles do and must differ from the unbelievers: we are sick and we know it. They are just as sick, but refuse to acknowledge it. As Christians we are taking measures to counter sickness: we live and train our children to live godly, disciplined lives, obedient to the Scriptures. Unbelievers reckon life is just the way it is, so make the best of it and hope for the best. Christians, even aware as we are of our sickness and frailty, are called to a much higher objective than that….to show forth His glorious light out of these earthen vessels, demonstrating that the transcendant power belongs to God and not to us (II Corinthians 4:7).

By virtue of the children being created after the likeness of God, by virture of His grace and mercy toward them and us, by virtue of the sanctifying work of His Holy Spirit and the living word read and preached to them, by virtue of the positive effects of our prayers and examples and instructions and corrections our children do develop godly characters and sweet personalities. This is how it should be. But do note: it doesn’t happen all by itself. We recall that we are fatally infected by sin. Proverbs 22:15 says, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction drives it far from him.” We are told to use the rod of correction, generally taken to mean corporal chastisement, to drive the sin and rebellion (foolishness) out of our children when it manifests itself, lest it be allowed to settle in and become a permanent fixture of their personalities. In addition, and just as importantly, we are to instruct in good behaviour, model good behaviour and pray the Lord will regenerate their hearts so they’ll desire good behaviour and loathe the bad.

This two-pronged approach to godly training (to love the good and loathe the bad) is sensible and logical….. but far from easy to perform. First and foremost again, men, we must be stirling examples of this. Trifling with sin is asking for trouble. If you flirt with questionable TV shows, videos and publications, your children may do more than flirt: and being young will be far more deeply, and negatively, influenced by it. Being slack in performing our duties is all the excuse a youngster needs to himself procrastinate when he should act decisively. Instead let our children see us rub our hands in anticipation of each new day, a new set of 24 hours the Lord has graciously granted that we may serve Him all the more, strive to become more like Him, give of our selves to others, struggle to understand the issues of the day from the Biblical perspective and to then order our ways accordingly. Apart from being ourselves consistent, we also need to spend time with our children shaping their tastes by our enthusiasm in loving righteousness and by our example in hating sin.

I Thessalonians 2:11-12 (RSV) says, “…for you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to lead a life worthy of God, Who calls you into His own kindgom and glory.” We’re talking high standards here. And fathers are specifically alluded to as doing three things to build their children’s lives to be worthy of God. Exhort is what a more experienced man does to one much younger, what a superior does to an inferior, to bring him up to the higher level: it is mostly a one-way flow. It is drawing the immature into experiences that will try and test them but that will also be fun, exciting, challenging. Yes, there is a sense of duty about them, but that doesn’t mean they have to be dull and boring. Impart vision, men, while doing routine chores: “Mowing these lawns is tending to this property the Lord has entrusted to us, so our work is for the Lord, and He tells me all labour for Him is not in vain!!” (Colossians 3:23-24, I Corinthians 15:58). Fathers, we are to exhort our children to come up to where we (hopefully) are, occupying a place of godly character, respected in the church and community, fulfilling responsibilities to our wives and bosses.

Encourage is what men do to one another, how peers sharpen each other up: the flow is two ways. By the time our children are young adults, we should get a lot of encouragement from their fellowship, their insights into Scripture, their respect for elders, their pure relationships with their peers. There is a mutual respect, for your children know you are fair and wise and they have seen your hunger and thirst for righteousness. Though they no longer think you can do no wrong, they know you will not rest until you’ve tried to right your wrongs, no matter how difficult it is to apologise, no matter how expensive and inconvenient it is to make restitution. And your gnarled old heart almost melts as you watch them react in the same godly way to the wrongs they commit! At this time we are not ashamed (a real understatement!) as we stand shoulder to shoulder with them in the gate (Psalm 127:5). Your children don’t have to go job hunting: because of your reputation and standards of excellence and because of what people can see in your childen’s behaviour, job offers are coming in all the time.

Charge is what one does who is not going along, it is passing the responsibility on to another. Even home educated children leave home. They will take jobs away from home for a few hours at first, then maybe a couple of days a week. Then it will be full time. Each time you will remind them that their future reputations are being formed, that your own name and reputation which you have painstakingly built up over decades is also riding on their shoulders. The Name of Christ will also be adorned…or muddied….by the way they act and fulfil their responsibilities toward others. These are important concepts, and we need to charge our children to remember who they are and Who they represent. They may do a big OE or study in another city. You will charge them to keep the faith, to defend the faith, to correct their opponents with gentleness.

Training our children is a full-time job. And it is to carry on into their adulthood. How on earth can the task be done when our children are separated from us for a big chunk of time each day at school? Well, the Lord is merciful, and He appears to have ordered things so that the caring home and loving mum and concerned dad are the major influences even when a school is interposed. How much more effective can our commitment be by removing the interposed school and educating at home!

From Keystone Magazine
November 2001 , Vol. VII No. 6
P O Box 9064
Palmerston North
Phone: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389
email: craig

The Christian Man and His Children, Part 1

The Christian Man and His Children, Part 1

Posted in The Faith of Us Fathers

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.” — Luke 10:27

We are to engage our minds, our intellect, our understanding in order to love, serve and worship God properly. That is, we are to think. Think about this: from whence did your children come, men? Yes, from the Lord; yes, from your wife. But those children were not even conceived until you first consciously, purposefully and with much energy and anticipation, perform an act which was obviously designed to conceive that child. (Please forgive me if this sounds crude: it is not meant to be vulgar but instead to emphasise that your wife did not “fall” pregnant, nor did it happen by accident.) Maybe you didn’t have any child in mind at the time, but the child wouldn’t be around if not for your active and wilful participation in his or her conception. You are responsible, mate. And just as the Lord has forever held Adam (and through him all mankind) responsible when Eve ate the forbidden fruit, so He holds us fathers responsible when our wives bear our children. The Lord holds us responsible for our children, for providing for their physical, spiritual, character and academic development and security. “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children” — Proverb 13:22a. “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” — Ephesians 6:4. “…for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.” — Hebrews 12:7b-8.

Being responsible for Jimmy or Sue is not the same as saying the child belongs to you. Our children, just like everything else in the universe, both visible and invisible, are owned totally by the Creator of the universe. It is the Lord, this Almighty God, Creator and Sustainer of the heavens, the earth, the seas and all that is in them, even thrones, dominions, principalities and authorities (see Colossians 1:15-20), Who is not only the owner of our children but is also He Who has appointed you and me as stewards over His property. That is to say, one Day He will call you and call me to account for how we have stewarded, cared for, safeguarded, improved upon, nurtured, fed, clothed, housed and educated His property of whom He will be coming to take possession. I suspect He will inquire most keenly into how well we have taught our sons to fear His Holy Name so as to always respond with awe and respect at every thought of Him, to hate sin so as to flee from even the appearance of it and to so hunger and thirst for righteousness as to actively seek out ways to more consistently conform his entire life to the pattern of Christ in His Word. Will He not also examine the attitudes we built into our daughters, or allowed to grow there unhindered, if they do not positively demonstrate a most godly reverence, respect, modesty, humility and all those Proverbs 31 and Titus 2 virtues?

I may detect a voice asking, “What virtues are in Titus 2? And where is this Titus anyway?” A dead give-away that we are in trouble men, and have some serious studying to do just to get ourselves in the running for the task ahead: making disciples for the Lord of lords and King of kings. And just in case we may be tempted to think we are fairly up with Christian things and are doing a reasonable job, remember the counsel of Paul in I Corinthians 3:12-15. Near enough is not good enough….not for King Jesus. We need to work at changing our “She’ll be right” attitude to a “She must be right” attitude, for He is worthy….and what’s more, that’s what He requires. “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

We, then, are to be making disciples for Christ, fulfilling the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20 right here in our family, a microcosm of those “nations” mentioned in the verse, as a first step toward reaching “all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). (We should be far more competent, able and willing to tackle the nations once our children are firmly converted and discipled. And besides, our by-then-grey hair will automatically impart a lot more mana and respect to us in other parts of the world than if we went over as missionaries while still waiting for our beards to fill in properly.)

The methodology of fathers being responsible for diligently instructing their children in the context of everyday life as the Lord so graciously reveals it to us in Deuteronomy 6:5-7 has been described often. But verses 8 & 9 have perhaps not so often been described. We do not wrap or write verses on our hands or foreheads, although we do sometimes have a Scripture hanging on a wall or two in our homes. It would seem that these verses 8 & 9 of Deuteronomy 6 are surely references to something more substantial.

Verse 8 could refer to such things as ownership, leaving a seal or mark, a type of identification. After all, we have heard a lot about the mark of the beast from references in Revelation, a book full of figurative language. I am suggesting that this Deuteronomy 6:8 could also be figurative, but because it lies within a Book intimately concerned with heart and soul rather than outward appearances, these figures stand for something quite definite. One may have a mark of God or of the beast on his hand and on his forehead. That is, one’s mind and thought patterns are Biblical, set on the Spirit (Romans 8:5-6), thinking God’s thoughts after Him and taking every thought captive to obey Christ (II Corinthians 10:5), or they are set on the flesh, hostile to God and used to invent evil (Romans 1:30, 8:5-7). Likewise one’s hands, symbolising one’s entire catalogue of works; one’s works can be identified as Christian works of ministry or identified as works characteristic of the fallen angel who is the father of all lies and master of deceit.

So our very beings, what we think, say and do, even when we aren’t thinking about it (see Matthew 12:36-37), are preaching sermons to our children. They can tell the difference between a faith that is consistent inside out from one that only extends to outward appearances….and they will soon learn the different set of rules applying to each. Do not be surprised, then, oh hypocrite, when your own son can appear so angelic by organising a weekly Bible study for the church youth group while seducing the girl at a meeting of the two-member planning committee. (Yes, it does too happen. Not only can I name names, but I can say that the youths involved hardly see much wrong with it.)

Deuteronomy 6:9 talks about writing God’s commandments on your doorposts and on your gates. Again, we are talking about a lot more than those cute little silver Jewish verse holders one can fasten to the door and touch reverently each time you pass through. (That is about as efficacious as touching the car roof and lifting your feet while crossing railway tracks in order to have your wish granted.) The idea is that the Word of God reigns supreme in your home (the doorposts being the entrance or most obvious place to control the influences to your home). So what are your “gates” as mentioned in the verse? Perhaps just another word for doorposts. Perhaps as in the term “city gates” it means any place where you make decisions: your wider property, your fields, your rental flats, the business you run, the employees who work for you, the classroom in which you teach or lecture, the office team you manage, the work gang you supervise, the truck or machines you operate and whatever contracts you may consider entering into……all these things are to have the Word of God stamped over them. They are to be run by the commands, precepts, statutes and ordinances of the Lord God Almighty. And when you think about it, since He is omniscient, doing things His way simply has to be the best recipe for success….and sure enough the Bible’s been saying just that for thousands of years already: Psalm 1:1-3, Proverbs 3:1-2.

Right, men. Once we have sorted out our own lives so that they reflect the love and standards of our gracious God, we are ready to be proper stewards of our children, who are, as we said earlier, God’s children over whom He has set us as His stewards. Galatians 4:1-2 specifically addresses this issue of holding a child back until the proper time: “I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no better than a slave, though he is the owner of all the estate; but he is under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father.” So our children are in a holding pattern until they come of age at a date set by our Father God.

Now, there is a two-tier system operating here: our offspring will inherit that which we have laid up for them on this earth, and they will inherit that which the Lord has laid up for them not only on this earth but also later in heaven. What kinds of things do they inherit from us? They are both physical and metaphysical: houses, chattels, land, money, eye colour, a name/reputation, family heritage, culture, most of their character qualities, etc. Now do realise that while we like to say our children inherit such things from us, ultimately they get all of these things from the Lord, although filtered — and corrupted somewhat — through us parents.

What kinds of things do they get exclusively from the Lord? Those items often referred to as Providential: their talents, abilities, disabilities, giftings, ministries, callings, responsibilities, spouses, children, lifespan, etc., plus those things of which we know so little that will be enjoyed in heaven: crowns, mansions, life and ministry at the foot of the throne.

Men, listen carefully: it is our job to equip and ready and enable our children to themselves faithfully steward all these things they will be inheriting. We must be horrified at the idea of letting all these things fall into their laps when they are simply unprepared and incompetent…..due to lack of instruction and guidance on our part…….to handle them. Why should we be horrified at the thought? Because we know our children will be called to account for how they stewarded them, just as we are to be called to account. How callous to allow our children to appear before God and watch them have to fumble for an explanation. Our task as stewards of God’s children is not only to be striving to successfully manage these inherited blessings, roles and responsibilities ourselves but also to prepare these children so that they themselves, by God’s grace, may successfully manage them as well.

We want our children to grow up to be men and women of vision. Well, we’d better want that, for this is what God’s children are meant to be, those children the Lord has entrusted to us to steward on His behalf. They are to be ambassadors for Christ, ministers and messengers of reconciliation (II Corinthians 5:18-20) in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation among whom they shine as lights in the world, offering them the Word of life (Philippians 2:15-16). Our vision is not just to rear children who will be able to cope with a degenerate world, but to rear soldiers of the Cross who expertly wield weapons of divine power to destroy strongholds, arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ (II Corinthians 10:4-5). Men, we are first of all to be — and second we are to raise up — conquerors for Christ.

From Keystone Magazine
September 2001 , Vol. VII No. 5
P O Box 9064
Palmerston North
Phone: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389
email: craig

The Corporal Correction of Children – Part 1

The Corporal Correction of Children – Part 1

Posted in In line with Scripture

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

— Proverbs 22:15

We Need More Grandpas

Junior bit the meter man, and then he hit the cook;

Junior’s anti-social now, according to the book.

Junior smashed the clock and lamp, and then he

hacked the tree.

Destructive trends are treated in chapters two and


Junior threw his milk at mum, and then he screamed

for more;

Notes on self-assertiveness are found in chapter four.

Junior tossed his shoes and socks out into the rain;

Negation this, and chapter six says disregard the


Junior set dad’s shirt on fire and upset Grandpa’s


That’s to gain attention as explained in chapter eight.

But Grandpa takes a wooden spoon, pulls junior ‘cross

his knee;

(He’s read nothing but the Bible since 1933!)

What did Grandpa read in the Bible? He would have read a great deal about how to love, train and discipline children. The other book referred to in the poem was also ostensibly about how to love and train children, but instead of disciplining them, it seemed to emphasise understanding them.

We have here two very different world views which give opposing advice regarding the rearing of children. One world view is found in Grandpa’s Bible: that of the Creator God. The other is found in the literature of created humans. In the final analysis, there are only ever these two world views: one from the mind of God, the other from the mind of man (although there certainly is a vast amount of variation in this second one; see also Proverbs 3:5).

Our text says, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child”. This is a foundational statement about the nature of the child. Jeremiah 17:9 expands on this: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” Children are NOT blank tapes who learn evil from elders, an idea championed by John Locke in the late 1600s. They pick up bad behaviour NOT from the environment, as behaviourists such as B.F. Skinner would advise: it is in their hearts (and in our adult hearts even still) from conception. Children are NOT little bundles of innocence: they are little bundles of depravity (see Psalm 51:5) and can develop into unrestrained agents of evil unless trained and disciplined according to God’s Word. Selfishness, violence, lying, cheating, stealing and other such behaviour are just the child unpacking some of this foolishness from the vast store in his heart. Bad examples such as ungodly parents, siblings, peer groups or television heroes only bring out the worst of the child’s innate foolishness and allow the child an excuse for its own bad behaviour….these things do not cause the bad behaviour. Each child has its own personalised store of foolishness bound up in its heart. Some seem to have vast amounts of the most amazing variety of dirty tricks, rebellion, manipulation and other forms of selfishness, combined with really cunning and creative ways of inflicting them upon you. Others seem so sweet and innocent all the time. Don’t be deceived (which is a weakness of our sinful hearts and minds that takes prominence in situations where we are called upon by our duty to God to rouse ourselves out of the old easy chair and do some unpleasant discipline and training). Visiting us for the first time from the USA 17 years ago, I asked my mum to give her opinion of our child training and discipline practises. She’d observed for some weeks, and we knew we were doing a great job. “You want my true opinion?” she asked ominously. “Well, yes, of course Mom!” “That 3-year- old of yours has you both wrapped around her little finger”!!!! I couldn’t believe it! But my mum went on to name example after example of us being pushed around and manipulated by this sweet little girl who we were sure was obedient and respectful in every way. How wrong we were!

The text further says, “but the rod of correction drives it far from him.” Three things are immediately apparent: First, a rod is to be used. Second, it is to be used as correction. Third, it is to drive the foolishness out.

The “rod” here may have some reference to ancient symbols of authority or guidance, such as a shepherd’s rod or a ruler’s scepter. Both are very applicable to this situation, for a shepherd’s rod, like a good spanking, is to keep one out of future trouble. And parents, like rulers, must exercise over their children the authority delegated to them, or else be found guilty of abdication, neglect, irresponsibility, etc. A rod is probably not a hand in most cases, though exceptions may have to be made at times.

Spankings are to correct the child, not punish the child. Our culture is quite used to the idea of spankings being referred to as “corporal punishment”. This terminology is quite correct in describing the way certain criminals are to be dealt with by the civil government (Deuteronomy 25:1-3). Once public schools came into existence, the teachers, being agents of the civil (secular) government, could not corporeally “correct” to any particular standard (lest they break the secular clause of Section 77), and so simply punished…..usually by caning. It is instructive to note that Section 59 of the New Zealand Crimes Act 1961 (the statute which protects parents from being charged with assault whenever they spank their children) reads as follows:

“59(1) Every parent of a child and, subject to subsection (3) of this section, every person in the place of the parent of a child is justified in using force by way of correction towards the child, if the force used is reasonable in the circumstances.

“(2) The reasonableness of the force used is a question of fact.

“(3) Nothing in subsection (1) of this section justifies the use of force towards a child in contravention of Section 139A of the Education Act 1989.”

It says parents are justified in using reasonable force by way of correction. This is a legal recognition of a parent’s Biblical duty as spelled out in our text. Note: the force used must be reasonable in the circumstances (which appears to include ethnic and familial traditions…see “The Parental Use of Physical Discipline in New Zealand”, Parts 1 & 2, Keystone Vol. V, Nos. 3 & 4, May & July 1999) and used for correction. (Section 139A of the Education Act prohibits anyone from using force “by way of correction or punishment” in any early childhood centre or registered school “unless that person is a guardian of the student or child.”)

Spankings are further meant to drive the foolishness, the sinful manifestations, out of the child’s personality so that they do not become permanent fixtures. If the foolishness and sin are not driven out, but simply left to simmer inside, what do you suppose happens? The child matures in foolishness and grows into a fool. Read through the book of Proverbs for some sober warnings against such a thing. It is so bad that at one point the Scriptures declare: “He who spares his rod hates his son.” (Proverbs 13:24).

The objective behind spanking is to train, to correct, to discipline. It is not retributive, it is not vengeful: “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Romans 12:19b). God’s law requires the entire community was to take a hand in stoning capital criminals to death — with the exception of parents if it is they who turn their child over to the civil authorities. (Compare Deut. 17:7 with 21:18-21). Parents DO NOT have life and death powers over their children.

Because we each have this foolishness, we can easily identify with our children and help them see it is something we all must struggle with. Our job as parents is to drive the foolishness out until such time as the child can toss it out himself. It is a problem the child and the parent together can point out, identify and deal with together: often children are very perceptive in spotting parental inconsistencies (foolishness), and parents should be thankful — and repentant — when their children do point these things out. We therefore do not label our children “bad”; they and we see that there is bad in them, but with training they will master it.

From Keystone Magazine
May 2000 , Vol. VI No. 3
P O Box 9064
Palmerston North
Phone: (06) 357-4399
Fax: (06) 357-4389
email: craig


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