Greetings PAACH homeschooling families. I hope your homeschooling journey has been exciting and full of adventure so far this school year. I’m sure you have had your challenges as you endeavor to grow with your kids and show them how to live every day to glorify God. I want to share a little bit about my experiences navigating the difficulties of walking your child into adulthood. I also want to touch on the importance of finding joy during those difficulties.
One of the goals you should have for your child is to grow into a responsible adult. Teaching them how to think critically and weigh out consequences will go a long way in helping them to learn from their mistakes (which they WILL make). As parents, we tend to set unrealistic expectations on our children. When this happens, we are almost sure to overreact and be too hard on them when they mess up. This can exasperate your child and cause them to become discouraged (Col 3:21) You want to build your child up in the Lord, teach them self-discipline, and give them the tools they need to continue to learn and grow as an adult. If we are to be God’s representative, then we must learn to follow His pattern of discipline. In scripture, God often warns us of consequences while still leaving the choices up to us. I have tried to do this with my children starting around the age of 12. I will often talk with them about a problem they are facing and help them weigh out possible choices and the consequences. Then I remind them that they are the one who has to live with their choice and let them choose. This process has helped my wife and I keep a strong relationship with our children and gives an opportunity to build trust. When your child makes a decision that results in the bad consequences you warned them about, they learn to trust your wisdom.
Another conversation that my wife and I have with our kids regularly is that we are for them just like God is for us. We assure them that we are not wanting to control them, but rather teach them to control themselves. When they are younger the consequences come from you as the parents, but as they grow older the consequences come from God. Many are built into His design, and some come from His discipline directly. (Hebrews 12:5-11) We also walk them through the process of repentance, restitution, and reconciliation. God’s design in the law (throughout Leviticus) shows that God wants us to make right the damage done by our bad choices. This seems to be a lost concept in today's Christianity, but it is necessary for those in a church to maintain good relationships. The fact is that saying “I’m sorry” doesn’t magically fix our mistakes. However, it can be a good first step when accompanied by an acknowledgement of the hurt caused and an effort to replace or rebuild what has been broken. The truth is, teaching these things is in itself painful because they must be taught by example. Some time of self-reflection on how you handle fixing your mistakes might be beneficial at this point. What kind of example are you living out when you make a mistake and hurt your spouse or child?
Finally, I want to share a practice that has helped my wife and I through some pretty tough times when our children’s decisions have hurt us deeply. At times, we have felt disrespected, betrayed, attacked, discouraged, and incredibly frustrated as a result of a child’s bad decision. We have often asked ourselves these questions:
When it comes to the end of the day, we strive to restore the relationship with that child because that’s what God does. No matter what we do, God works it for our good because what is best for us is to remain in relationship with Him. He always draws us back towards Himself. No matter what your kids do, they will always be your kids. You love them because God loves you and your kids. One last tip: Enjoy the times when you are in good relationship. Remembering the joyful times can be very helpful when persevering through the hard times. I pray that you will have much joy in your family.
The PAACH Board desires to help and support you throughout your homeschooling journey. We also desire to help you disciple your children by providing encouragement, wisdom, and resources that will enable you to be Godly parents who lead your children towards Christ. We pray that your family learns together, grows together with others in community, and glorifies Christ in everything you do.
James Cox PAACH President
For questions regarding newsletter submissions, the Homeschool Convention or home education in general, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. A Board member will respond as soon as possible.
Mailing Address: PAACH | P.O. Box 5203 | Peoria, IL 61601