With a Little Help from My Friends

Father and sonNote: Next week I will be returning to part 2 of the Terrors of Hell.

A couple weeks ago Jen and I were discussing the topic of our children and having friends.  Since we started home-schooling a couple years ago the girls don’t spend much time with peer group friends and we were deciding whether this was good, bad or indifferent to our children.

Our daughter Madeline has a friend her age that attends our church and since we are not a big gathering there are not a lot of other similar ages for all our girls.  This is such an interesting topic to me and I’m feeling pretty firm in my convictions but I’m genuinely interested in what other Believers think about the topic.  So please don’t be shy about offering your opinion.  However, I’d like you to use Scripture to support your views.

Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.

As I’ve been thinking about this verse and any others that deal with our relationships one thing is very clear to me and I think very clear in scripture.  There are two classes of people, wise and foolish.  What do you want your children to be?  Isn’t it obvious that if you want your children to be wise they should spend time with those that are wise?  The opposite is destruction.

1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”

Most people will agree they want their children to run with “good company” and they don’t really consider their children’s friends “evil”.  A better question to ask is “are they saved”?

Can you be confident they’ve been born again and are new creations in Christ?  This is a whole other blog, about how you can discern salvation in children.  But for now let’s consider, not just that kids attend church, but are they Believers?

I thought back to my child hood and most especially as I came into my teenage years and young adult years.  The choice of friends I made was, except for the grace of God, my undoing.  God had providentially made arrangements to keep me alive, but it certainly could have been different on many occasions.  I say this and I’m ashamed of those choices and the things that a foolish young man was drawn into, but it’s the reality of my life and I praise God for His goodness and mercy in preserving me for His purposes.

Have you ever walked down the street to see a group of teenage boys together, or walk through a shopping mall and see the behavior of the kids “hanging out”?  It’s not what I desire for my children, but take it to a religious place.  How about the youth group at most evangelical churches, and you will see the same thing only under the guise of the “Christian” banner.  Am I wrong?

We have been blessed that our oldest daughter Grace has been saved and she can see the value of her relationships.  She enjoys spending time with some of the women in our church that are helping shape and mold her into a godly woman, these women are older than Grace but they are still young women.  Not with the desire to go to the mall and be foolish.

How do you suppose the fools will be destroyed?  Does this literally mean death and destruction?  Well yes, I think it can and it does.

2 Kings 2:23-24 Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead!  Go up, you baldhead!”  So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the LORD.   And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.

Here is a group of adolescent kids that are running around together.  Can’t you envision this scene?   We see it all the time, and once one decides to do something they all join in.  So they decide to mock and taunt Elisha, God’s chosen prophet.  These kids were drawn into the foolish behavior that offered destruction.

What about the group of teenagers that attend a party together?  They end up getting drunk and someone or all of them die in a car crash.   Is God to blame for this behavior?

Will this happen to my children if I allow them to be with other friends?  I don’t know.  Possibly and probably not, but think about the values that are shared when fools hang with fools.

Does this mean we will never allow our children to have friends their own age and go do things with them?  No, I don’t think that is what I’m saying, but I want to make close examinations of those children and what I allow my children to participate in.

I’m the one charged to bring them up in the training and fear of the Lord, so I must take Scripture and challenge my life and be willing to have it change the status quo.  God has given me a tremendous responsibility; and He will hold me accountable.  I can easily allow this to go with the flow and just believe that it’s a good thing for my children to have lots of foolish friends with no biblically validated reason for it.

Will this hurt them socially?  That is the argument I expect to hear the most often, but that doesn’t persuade me.  I will trust God that He has that covered, and I will train my children to interact with adults and other children responsibly and respectfully.  After all isn’t that part of the job?

If you are a Believer what do you think?  Because I expect if you ask most people they’ll think this is crazy talk.

Kevin

Time well spent…

Kevin & Grace SF 2

This past week I traveled with my oldest daughter Grace on a business trip to San Francisco.  This provided many opportunities for her to understand the world on a much broader sense than she typically experiences.  I’m very thankful for this, as home educators we are often accused of wanting to protect and keep our kids in a bubble.  I certainly want to protect them, but I think allowing them not to see the sinfulness of the world would be a mistake and one of the biggest advantages to home-schooling is the opportunity for our kids to travel.

Certainly San Francisco provides many favorable circumstances to see man’s sinfulness on full display.  The sheer number of people is overwhelming for one.  When you spend time in a bigger city it challenges the mind with the incredible amount of activity; the noises, the traffic, the chaos and cacophony of different things swirling around you.

I had several things in mind as we prepared for our trip and one of them was to allow Grace to help us navigate the airports.  I remember the first time I flew on my own and how intimidating an airport can be.  We discussed lots of different ideas during this trip and having a focus on being attentive to her surroundings and getting a feel for human behavior were also key ideas that I wanted to help her understand.

Can she identify what different types of people she will encounter and are they a serious threat or not.  As we spent the majority of our time in the Fisherman’s Wharf area, this is bustling with activity, mostly tourists, but lots of people that make their living there in various different ways, including the lifestyle of living on the street.  What an eye-opening experience as Grace saw how sin leads to a life of rebellion and lack of a desire to belong in the norm of culture.  It’s a sub-culture all its own and I’m convinced many of them want it that way.   But let’s not think they are any worse or we are any better.  Without Christ we are all the worst of sinners and held captive to our own desires.

We experienced men digging through and eating from garbage cans, and a man urinating in public in the broad daylight tucked behind a small building.   These are some of the raw things we will not forget.  The other wonderful memories we formed together were seeing God’s beautiful creation.  The Bay Area is stunning in its natural beauty and as we looked over the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay from a high perch above its incredible to think how God spoke and it was so.

Deuteronomy 6 tells me as I father I’m to teach Grace and my other children diligently the law of God as we live life together.  There is not to be a time when we put God on the backburner and focus on more important things.  He is the focus.  He is the one that I need to constantly be showing and reminding my children that we are here to bring Him glory.  Just as the gigantic redwoods glorify and show His wisdom, we must also give glory to the Creator.

Grace Redwoods

My most satisfying moment on our trip came Saturday evening as we went to dinner.  We entered a restaurant that I’ve frequented often and two people from the event staff were already seated.  They invited us to join them and we had a nice conversation about various subjects.  As the food arrived I announced I’d like to pray and ask the Lord’s blessing on this meal.

This prayer opened a door for us to discuss the purpose of home-schooling from a Christian Worldview and not simply that we think it’s a better education.  I was able to discuss how Grace is learning about life and by spending time with her father she is learning wisdom as Proverbs 13:20 tells us.  Grace did a wonderful job of allowing her father to speak, but also interjecting at appropriate times.  She was able to beautifully articulate her education and engage two adults in a real conversation.  She was engaged with them and not an electronic device as I looked around to see most of the adults conversing with their I-Phones and not the ones across the table from them.

I told her that night that I was very pleased with the way she handled herself and this is the way we can show the world Christ.  Yes, we must speak and proclaim the good news but also the world will see a difference in our behavior and realize this is just not normal.

Monday morning the Lord opened a door for me to share my faith and really talk to a man I’ve known for quite a while.  He was very honest in his lack of belief.  As I told him that belief is a gift of God, but in no wise will this let him off the hook as he stands before God should he breathes his last breath.  He and he alone will be accountable for his sin.  I explained to him that he doesn’t believe because he likes his sin as we all did before God grants us repentance and I think he related to that on a certain level.

As I look back on these past days it will be a memory Grace and I will share as long as we live.  It will be a time that I will cherish as her father.    As she is growing so quickly into a woman I pray she will see how much her dad loves her and cares for her.  But most importantly she will know how much her Heavenly Father loves and cares for her.

 

Kevin