The average child spends eight hours per day in public school, listening to lectures from teachers who do not know their background, their likes, dislikes or their religious preferences. During those eight hours, students are lectured from a curriculum prepared and approved by the federal government that often promotes ideals we, as Christians, do not endorse.
These ideas are drilled into their heads day after day until they are as real to the child as the values they once held dear from the teachings they received at home. They embrace what they are taught, what the students around them are saying, what the media is promoting until they are left without their own opinion, and they forget how to question.
When children quit questioning the world around them, they lose a part of themselves, and we, as a society, lose a valuable proponent of freedom.
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Albert Einstein said,
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
Distractions surround us in the form of work, Internet, television, movies and sporting events. These distractions often become more important in our lives than the small questions nagging us during the quiet hours. These distractions also distance us from our children.
Studies show that the average family spends less than an hour together each day. This time is usually rushed with dinner, homework help, permission slips and scheduling the next day’s activities. But where is the time reserved for asking a child what they learned in school that day? How do we make the time to respond to their concerns, their misconceptions and the discrepancies between the public school curriculum and our own personal beliefs?
A family of four took this approach: While their children were quite small, they made it a point to spend half an hour with each at bedtime, father with one and mother with the other. They made eye contact. They opened the doors for communication. They proved to their children that they cared about their concerns. They corrected any ideas that the children had that were contrary to Christian teachings.
Those children understand the value of questioning what they’re taught in the world, and finding the answers for themselves.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says,
“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”
When an entire family sits together over dinner, discussions come more easily, and each child benefits as they’re encouraged to ask the questions that have risen in their minds throughout the day.
But children won’t open up unless we provide those opportunities and take them seriously.
Remember, “Curiosity has its own reasons for existing.” It’s something to be encouraged, praised and dealt with seriously, so our children will learn to grow up with the values this nation was founded upon.
Herbert Hoover, 31st president of the United States once said, “Children are our most valuable resource.”
It’s up to us to raise them to become a resource of good in the world, to question the teachings that may not be in line with their core beliefs. And it’s essential that we do this during their formative years, when they are most vulnerable, most susceptible to the influences around them.
According to The Successful Parent, an organization teaching parents how to create emotional stability in children, “The formative years begin at birth and extend up into adolescence during which time one forms a basic identity and sense of self. The identity formed is usually a confluence of characteristics that come from the parents, extended family, school or educational setting, and community environment. We can even say that the larger culture one is born into and grows up in has a significant influence on personality development.”
The federal government has eight hours per day with your child. The media has three and a half hours per day, according to Nielsen statistics. How much time do you get with your child? Of that time, how much of it is spent reinforcing Christian values?
Proverbs 22: 6 states,
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
With so much influence toward the liberal world, how much time do we devote to training our children? How often do we sit down and discuss the issues in a way they can understand? Do we help them question the world around them or let them stew in confusion until they melt in with the people they’re around the most? Do we give serious thought to their questions or do we ignore or dismiss them because of the distractions of the world?
Select Panel for the Promotion of Child Health states, “Children are one third of our population and all of our future.”
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If we are serious about securing a future of freedom, we must include our children, we must find the time to discuss the things not of this world, the values that have formed us and this great nation that they will inherit. And no age is too young to show them the value of freedom.