Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thoughts on my family

Well, I can't complain if no one follows my blog anymore. I haven't updated for half a year now – I'm terrible at corresponding!
It's way past time that I write something. And it's almost Thanksgiving, so I'll write about something that I'm very thankful for.
I am thankful for my family. Now, that may sound very cliché, but it isn’t. I am thankful for them in a very profound way.
My family is somewhat counter-cultural. OK, very counter-cultural. God has commanded his church to be in the world, not of it; in other words, we are to engage those around us, but be distinctly different from our culture in the way we live. The principles God has given us in His Word are what we should live by first, rather than how the society around us operates. My parents strive to live in a manner informed by Scripture, particularly in raising a family. Their philosophy is that the family must be family-centered. For this reason, they have decided to homeschool us.

I understand that homeschooling isn’t some catch-all cure for what ails families in our nation today. Homeschooling, in and of itself, does not a wonderful Christian family make. There are some families that send their kids to private schools, and even public schools, that are in better shape than some homeschooling families. However, I believe that homeschooling, at its best, will far exceed the very best equivalent private school program. Homeschooling has more potential than any other form of learning for children. The reason, I believe, is simple: God wired children to learn from their fathers and mothers, in their home environments. He did not design children to leave their homes early every morning, sit in a class room with peers and listen to a teacher lecture most of the day, and then come home in the late afternoon and work on homework all night. That’s something our culture created, and I think in this case it’s an unnatural, unhealthy creation. God didn’t design us to work that way. The best place for a child to learn and develop is in the context of his family at home.

That’s an ideal, anyway. And I think it’s an ideal that should be pursued and cultivated.

Homeschooling in only part of the ideal family model. It is not a complete solution. It can only ever be as good as the family itself. A father and mother must also be committed to loving the Lord, loving each other and loving their children, and bringing up their children to love the Lord. One of the main functions of families in this fallen and broken world is to raise a godly generation. This is so much more important than being academically ahead of private and public-school counterparts. What will matter in eternity, GPAs and smarts, or living for the Glory of God?

Homeschooling is a tool. It gives a family liberty to live a high level of a family-centered life that would be impossible if the children were shipped off to school every day. It gives Christian parents a strong ability to pass the One True Faith on to the next generation, an ability that, I believe, is stronger than it would be if their children went to a solid private Christian School.

I am thankful for my family. It is only by God’s grace that I was born to godly parents who not only have the right values, but have succeeded in passing those values on to me. I am thankful for my five brothers and two sisters.

My family is not perfect. No family is. I’ve met some families that seem to have less conflicts than mine. My relationship with my younger siblings isn’t perfect. The one person in my family who causes me the most trouble is – me. I am a selfish sinner, and I often react to my siblings in selfish ways. Many times I have failed to set the example for them to be patient, kind, and loving. We are a family of broken people, and I am the most broken of all. But God’s love is so great! And really, that’s what holds us together. We forgive each other because God has forgiven us. My siblings have so graciously forgiven me for the many times that I’ve wronged them. I love them all so much.

I thank God for each member of my family.

I am thankful for Papa, for the loving way he leads our family, and for his servant’s heart; he not only serves us, but gives us the desire to serve others.

I am thankful for Mama, for the time and energy she invests in each one of us, teaching us, talking with us, doing our laundry, fixing our meals, and a gazillion other things – She is the closest thing to Proverbs 31 that I’ve ever seen.

I am thankful for my brother Ezra, 20, who is now studying at the Merchant Marine Academy. He is my best friend. Before we went off to college, he and I always shared a room, since he was born. Even though he is younger than me, I have always looked up to him for his disciplined focus and godly character. He is closer to me than anyone else.

I am thankful for my brother Isaac, 18, and his desire to do what’s right, even if it’s hard.

I am thankful for my brother Nat, 16, who constantly endeavors to encourage me when I’m down.

I am thankful for my sister Rosie, 13, and for her kindness and gentleness.

I am thankful for my brother Arthur, 11, and for the talent and sharp mind that God has given him, and for the natural way that he teaches everything he learns to his younger brother David.

I am thankful for my sister Susannah, 9, and for the love and affection that she shows to all of us.

I am thankful for my brother David, 8, who loves to help us work on almost anything, from cleaning the living room to cleaning the yard, even if he sacrifices his play time.

Of course we’re not perfect. But God has given me an incredible family. I love them all, and I hope, someday, to have my own family, growing together and loving together as we serve the Lord together.

3 comments:

Nathan LeMaster said...

Amen!

Nathan LeMaster said...

Oh, and I still read your blog... whenever you post that is.. :)

drumofadifferentbeat said...

I, the lurker, have decided to reveal myself at long last... not like you update much - though I think I'd rather comments and stories on Apricotpie. :)

Anywho, I enjoyed hearing about your family... y'all sound really neat. How close is Gresham to Seattle? (I'm sure it's far, isn't it?)
And your thoughts on homeschooling - right on and Amen! If you haven't already, you should find and listen to "The Children of Caesar" by Dr. Voddie Baucham (and read his books, and listen to more of his messages... my family loves his stuff, can you tell? :P)

- Kyleigh