Thumbnail Image

EHO Lite Advertiser
Ready for more?
Visit the Main EHO Site.
Thousands of pages of free resources.

A Foundation that Handles the Hard Times: Part 4

Printer Friendly Version

By Tammy M. Cardwell

Read Part 1 | Read Part 2 | Read Part 3

In parts one through three of this series we discussed the importance of keeping our priorities in order and the absolute necessity of God being first and our spouse being second. In this article, we cover the rest of the list – children, church, and homeschooling/job/family business. I have chosen to deal with all of these in one article for two reasons: first, for most people the hardest priorities seem to be the God and spouse priorities and, second, once those first two priorities are in their proper order the rest fall into place much more readily.

It would seem unnecessary to even mention to homeschoolers the necessity of keeping our children high on the list. After all, they are why we homeschool, correct? Unfortunately, I have seen through the years that it is all-too-easy to let our priorities shift once homeschooling begins, to let homeschooling take a higher position than the children being homeschooled or, God forbid, to let other people’s opinions of our homeschooling take a higher priority.

On that front, let me say this. When we keep our priorities in their proper order, those other voices tend to fall into their proper order as well. It can still hurt when our parents don’t understand and our co-workers ridicule us, but we are much less inclined to doubt ourselves and where most people are concerned it is the self-doubt that is most dangerous of all. When we walk in confidence, it makes a difference in all areas of life.

Keeping our children high in our priorities means developing and maintaining strong relationships with them. This, of course, requires spending time with them, and even though homeschoolers naturally have more time than system schoolers (those who put their children into educational systems), even we can forget how easy it is to lose control of our time. I noticed, recently, that the word “time” breaks down interestingly. T*I*ME I am the problem where my time is concerned; it is ME who decides how I will spend it, no matter how much I would like to believe otherwise. It is my responsibility to say no to those things I should say no to and yes to those things I should say yes to.

It is my responsibility, even now that they are adults, to spend enough time with my children that I know them. It is my responsibility to do all I can to understand them. One tool I wish I’d had when my two were younger is The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are, by Dr. Kevin Leman. This book helped me understand not only my children, but also my husband and myself; not surprisingly, we are all very different. Parents have been learning for ages, too often the hard way, that what works in discipling and disciplining the oldest often has exactly the opposite results with the middle child or the youngest. Their birth order determines a great many of these differences and Dr. Leman’s book explains the variations and helps parents learn how to work with them. Spend time with your children, get to know and appreciate them as individuals, develop strong relationships with them, and then they will be ready to truly receive from you as their teacher. We all receive the most from those with whom we have relationships.

Also remember that, even as your child’s teacher, your #1 priority is God. Bringing our children into strong relationships with their heavenly Father is our first priority and the only one with eternal results. As God asked me, I ask you. Which will matter a thousand years from now, that your son knows math or that your son knows God? This is not a responsibility we can palm off on anyone else: It is not the church’s; it is not the village’s; it is ours.

Parents in the Old Testament knew this. It is why we have stories about the three Hebrew boys, about David, about Joseph... I mentioned Joseph in part two of this series, but it bears repeating that he was a child – only 10-13 years old – when his brothers sold him into slavery. Even so, his parents had done such an excellent job of teaching him about God and His ways that, years later, though surrounded by a world that believed nothing he believed, he was a strong man of God who was used by God to affect the course of history.

Not long ago, I learned of another advantage to helping your children develop a strong relationship with God. I was told of some recent studies that indicate that the part of the brain responsible for making long-term decisions doesn’t even begin to develop until a child is 18 years old. If this is true, then children who have a strong relationship with God have a distinct advantage over those who do not. They need make no long-term decisions on their own; they need only listen to their heavenly Father and do as He says. Truly, life is easier on the one who walks with God.

As we focus on teaching our children eternal truths, homeschooling truly becomes a natural part of our lives rather than merely a thing we do. We are leading our children into deeper relationships with God, so of course we also lead them in learning the wonders of the world He has created. Yes, it takes work, but when our hearts are fully involved we tend to find the adventure much more exciting.

I covered much about the church priority when I discussed our relationship with God. Church is not about us and what we need or want; it is about God and what He desires for and from us. I Corinthians 12:18 says, “But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as he pleased.” In this chapter, Paul is talking about the unity we are to have as believers, comparing the body of Christ to the human body and noting how carefully God has planned the specific placement of the parts of each.

God has plans for every one of His children, every part of His body (Jeremiah 29:11), and those plans include the specific church He wants each one of us to be planted in as well as the precise positions He has chosen for us to fill there. It is your responsibility, as His child, to fit into both the church He has called you to and the position He has assigned to you.

Ephesians 4:16 says, “from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” The goal is the growth of the body and the edifying of itself in love – and we are each to do our part to reach this goal. Surely, we must desire this for we are part of that body whether we wish to admit it or not. If it had an option, would my knee choose not to fit in, would it refuse to do its part? I should certainly hope not, because if it did my whole body (and it!) would suffer. In point of fact, there have been times in most of our lives when just such a thing has happened – backs ‘going out,’ for instance, wreaks havoc with the human body, often shutting people down completely.

Read the verse again.

  • He has joined and knit the body together
  • Every joint supplies
  • Every part does its share

You and each member of your family are part of that “every.” Yes, even the youngest child has a place and purpose in the body of Christ, even a toddler can be fitly joined together, and even a 5-year-old can “do his part.” Teach your children from a young age – both by setting an example and having expectations of them – to be fitly joined together with the rest of the members of the body of Christ and the body of your local church.

In our home, our boys had age-appropriate responsibilities when they were young, and we required them to hook up with a ministry within the church as soon as they were old enough to officially be accepted for service. Being fitly joined to the church has always been a part of their lives and now they are both highly respected by those who know them. In fact, our oldest is on staff and serves in the sanctuary as both our band leader and lead guitarist.

God never asks anything of us without giving us much more in return. Our being fitly joined together benefits us individually as well as corporately and those benefits are far greater than any price we would ever be asked to pay. Even beyond the spiritual benefits, our family’s church is, in a very real sense, our extended family and its members stand by us as members of our birth family do. This has always been true, but I have seen it manifested in a greater way than ever before in the months since my husband had two strokes. They were mini-strokes and, on the surface, he seemed perfectly fine after a few weeks of recuperation, but he was not and many other members of the body have been sensitive enough to see it. Their support has often been like a lifeline, and it is a line we would not have had were we not fitly joined together with the rest of the body. These relationships are part of our foundation and, once again, it has proven itself able to handle the hard times.

Finally, as we walk through our list of priorities, come homeschooling, jobs, and the family business. I lump them together here simply as a reminder that they are all last on this list. No father should ever let his job come before his spouse, his children, or his church. Likewise, no mother should let homeschooling displace a higher priority. And yes, even family businesses have their place after the rest. Again, this is not some arbitrary list I’ve chosen to put together. It is, rather, an order that I see in the Scriptures and one I’ve seen hold true time and again through the years. We can each arrange our priorities any way we wish, but for a foundation that handles the hard times this is the only order I’ve known to be consistently successful. It is a fact; God honors us when we honor Him in all our ways, keeping our priorities in line with His.

Copyright ©  2006 Eclectic Homeschool Association

EHO Homeschool Resource Center
Thousands of resources available. Many at 10-32% discount. Free shipping on most orders over $25.

Featured Resource

Subscribe to the
EHO Newsletters
EcleticHS Discussion List
Eclectic Homeschool Newsletter
Join the Campaign

New Homeschool Resources - Visit the Eclectic Homeschool Resource Center for more discounted resources.


Contact Us |Linking to Us | Advertise| Reprinting Articles | Privacy | Search

This website is copyright © 1997-2015 Eclectic Homeschool Association, All rights reserved. 

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Thank you for visiting Beginning Homeschooling. We hope you found the homeschool resources to assist you in starting your journey into homeschooling.