At the same time these parents are exposing their kids to lots of spiritual stuff, they take them to day care full time, drop them off at public school and pick them up from after-care. I know the day care and I know the school system. They are both "good." Good in the sense that they teach the kids academic stuff and there is very little change of bodily harm. But I see the parents actions as dichotomous. The thing that does not make sense to me is that this Christian family- and many like it- believe that they can train their kids in a certain context for a small amount of time a week, and at the same time their kids intellect, bodies and hearts are being trained in a totally different and dare I say it, adverse context, for hours and hours and hours a week and they believe that their heart training will win out. Schools are not Christian, (though I will assert they are religious, but that's a different discussion altogether) and offer paradigms and beliefs that vie for a child's heart and mind. Can a person so divorce themselves that their heart be trained in one belief system, their intellect in another and they not have to make a choice between the two?
The reality is that only 4% of kids raised in Christian homes these day, keep the faith; keep the faith in a way that is decidedly and markedly Christian; keep the faith in a way that has the appearance, rather than just the words of a moral code. Somewhere along the line, the training isn't taking, or it's falling away, or it's being snuffed out by something more alluring and appealing to the kids. Somewhere along the way, many kids believe that Christianity is "almost christian" and that "almost" is just as good. Heart felt community is lacking in the American Church. True community is lacking outside of it, but at least their is some semblance of belonging in other quarters. Intellectual training- study as worship- is a foreign concept both inside and outside the church, and "good "Christian schools often substitute legalism for education that stirs the soul and calls men and woman to do courageous things for God.
The reality is that if we want to "reach" our kids; reach their hearts and minds, and imprint something on both that is permanent and true, we must live radically, we must live in a way that is different. It's a lonely road to homeschool. It's a lonely road to be a homeschooler. I hear this from not only my older adult kids, but from thier friends. Living so radically away from the norm makes them different in profound ways. Good, Godly ways, but ways that ostracize them from the average, the norm. And, honestly, homeschooling is not the only way to tackle this arduous task, but in some ways, as my friend Jennifer says, it's the easiest (and that too, is a whole 'nuther essay). People who don't live intentionally with a thought and care to train the hearts and minds of their children, who don't understand the profound influences that will clamour and shout for their children's hearts and minds, are naive, at best.
I was served by a beautiful young woman in Starbucks last week with a tattoo emblazoned across her collarbone in calligraphy. It said, "Self Preservation." I've thought about that a lot this week. Because I don't endeavor to give my kids the tools of self-preservation. If anything I want them to see their desperate need for SomeOne bigger, mightier and infinitely more dangerous, wild and free than they can ever be. I want them dependent on the Living God, and ready, willing and able to go and do and be whatever He is calling them to.
I can't do that for them, but I can empower them to have hearts and minds open to it, uncluttered by what the world has to offer their hearts, minds and bodies.