Happy Father’s Day, men! Hopefully this weekend you can kick back and relax, maybe enjoy good food with family, and watch some golf. Whatever your favorite pastime may be, I hope you rest, recreate, and celebrate. I realize reading a blog post from the CEO of Classical Conversations probably wasn’t high on your list of things to do today, so let me get right to the point.
You are the general leading your troops (family) into the unknown, into battle against a world committed to your destruction. The simple act of homeschooling in the United States may not seem like such an endeavor, at least not since the 1980s when parents were thrown in jail for it — but it still is an adventure into the unknown, and one in which you lead the charge. Perhaps your wife is the one tutoring and working with the kids, or maybe you share those responsibilities together. Either way, you are the family’s leader, advancing this mission to places unimagined.
Malachi 4:6 (NIV) says, “He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.” The Bible is clear who has the responsibility of education: it is the parents. When they take that responsibility seriously, God blesses them and their endeavors. And when they abdicate, devastation ensues.
Wendell Berry, the well-loved poet and philosopher of our age, observes, “According to the new [educational] norms, the child’s destiny is not to succeed the parents, but to outmode them… He or she is educated to leave home… The local schools no longer serve the local community; they serve the government’s economy and the economy’s government.”
While homeschooling isn’t about being against other forms of education, it is about obedience to the order that God created. When we follow God’s order, things work out much better here, even into eternity. The Bible lays out a distinct order of operations in passages like Matthew 6:33 (NIV), “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
In Classical Conversations, we make our mission to know God and to make Him known. Parents are equipping their children not with what to think, but how to think—how to understand the world about them, the God Who created them, and their own role and function within it. Children are being raised up as individuals who are equipped to discover truth and share that truth with others.
You are probably familiar with J. R. R. Tolkien’s novel, The Hobbit. If you have only watched the movie and haven’t read the book, I would highly encourage for you to read it. In fact, I challenge you to read it to your children. Gandalf and Bilbo are the two main characters: Gandalf is an ancient wizard, wise and powerful, and Bilbo is a shy, small, dwarf-like creature, who is opposed to adventure and danger of any sort.
Gandalf: I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it’s very difficult to find anyone.
Bilbo: I should think so—in these parts! We are plain, quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty, disturbing, uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them…
Gandalf: You’ll have a tale or two to tell when you come back.
Bilbo: You can promise that I’ll come back?
Gandalf: No. And if you do, you will not be the same.
One of the things I hear a lot from parents considering homeschooling is, “Will my child turn out okay?” It is a question we, as parents, preoccupy ourselves with a lot, and it also softly echoes some of Bilbo Baggins’ trepidation. No, a classical, Christian home education is not a guarantee for your child’s success in life. But they will emerge not the same. They will learn to ask better questions. They will be better equipped to lead. They will be more prepared for the adventure ahead of them. And they’ll have a tale or two to tell when they come back.
So lead on, General, your troops await; adventure lies ahead. The odds may seem stacked against you, but truth is on your side, and the Truth will set you free.
Happy Father’s Day, and peace be with you.
CEO, Classical Conversations
To download Robert’s free 15-minute e-book, A Dad’s Guide to Classical Education, CLICK HERE.