Read I Samuel 2 and Luke 2
Now the young man Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and also with men. I Sam 2:26
And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. Luke 2:52
We are coming to the end of our child rearing days. Our youngest is 19 years old and still at home. It is still our great pleasure to spend quality time with him, as parents need to do. But we no longer tuck him into bed. Now he’s taken over that role with us.
When our first child was starting kindergarten, we struggled with whether we were irresponsible to be sending her to public school and not home-schooling her. Among our peers, we were the minority. Several mothers felt the need to talk to my wife about all the evils that befall children who are sent out of the home to be taught in the godless school system.
After spending much time in prayer and fervently seeking God in the matter, we heard a devotional on Samuel whose mother brought him to the temple at a very young age. This was during the time when Eli’s two wicked sons ran the operation there. Yet we read that the Lord used young Samuel to be His prophet in the midst of this corruption. We mused also of Esther, sent by her uncle to King Ahasuerus’ harem. She also was greatly used of God. And Moses, newly weaned, sent to the courts of Pharaoh. Not only did God protect each of them, but each also bore a witness to Himself.
Each of our four children had very different lives within their schools. Each also was a witness. I could tell you lots of stories, and so could their teachers, but I know that school had relatively little effect on the choices our children made in their relationship to the Lord.
When Jesus prayed for His disciples as He was about to leave them to go to the cross, He said, “I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.”
Both my wife and myself greatly appreciate the home school movement. Though we are thankful for our own upbringing in Christian homes, we see Christian parents from our generation as taking an intensely proactive involvement in their children’s lives. Unlike parents who were taught by Dr. Spock to allow their children to blossom and bloom in their own natural way, we have been very involved in our children’s lives. We were not their “best friends” as they were younger. We directed, prodded, encouraged, analyzed, and rebuked. Whatever nurturing we could give, we gave. But we always understood that though we could often change them on the outside, only the Lord could change their hearts.
Like every parent, our goal for their childhood was that they "would grow in stature and wisdom; and in favor with God and man.” That is how Scripture describes the childhood of Samuel, despite Samuel being sent out as a child to a wicked environment. That is also the description of the childhood of the Lord Jesus, sent by His Father into this confused and wicked world.
Perhaps our role as parents is not so much to shelter our children, but to assist and encourage them in their growth in wisdom, and favor with God and man.