This is from Homeschool Today:
Rearing Lords and Ladies
by Betty Burger
Imagine yourself a father whose hobby is restoring cars. You own a 1970 Mustang, now in pristine condition, which you have spent years restoring. Today your seventeen-year-old son, just licensed, says to you, Dad, may I have the keys to the Mustang? Would you give them to him?
Has it ever occurred to you that God did something very like that, only much grander, for Adam and Eve in Eden? He made them lords of his new, perfect creation in which He delighted.
Now consider in contrast the most recent clothing ad you’ve seen for young people. A friend of mine quipped that the girls’ clothing in such ads should properly be labeled Early Prostitute and the boys’ clothing Bum . Lords and Ladies or Prostitutes and Bums? Which is the right description of the human race? Which are you? Which are you raising your children to be? These are very important questions.
The Mustang illustration above began a recent sermon by Dr. T. David Gordon of Grove City College . This excellent exegesis of Psalm 8 entitled What Is Man delighted (as well as encouraged and convicted) me because it brought a number of things that have disturbed me about our culture together under their proper headingthe doctrine of man. I was also grateful that my children were hearing these things from someone other than their parents.
So . . . why is this doctrine important and what does it have to do with homeschooling? Families and the church are engaged in a war for the minds of their children, and to a great extent the war is won or lost based on who or what the children come to believe they are. In the past hundred and fifty years, the common man has gone from assuming that he is a lord of creationmade in the image of God Himself and endowed by Him with dominion over the rest of creationto the idea that at best he is an animal among animals. Is it any wonder people act like bums and prostitutes and assume it to be normal behavior?
Consider these aspects of our culture:
Once upon a time it was considered normal for children to be seen and not heard in the presence of adults. Was this disrespectful to children? Perhaps sometimes, but the underlying assumption was that children wanted to grow up to be dignified adults. In order to do that, they had to quietly observe models of adult behavior in action in order to learn to be like them. Instead, our culture regularly lets children dominate the conversation in the presence of adults. Remember the toy store adI don’t want to grow up? In our culture, no one wants to grow up. It is no longer our goal to be mature, dignified adults, much less to teach our children how to be.
General lack of self-control
Ever since the sixties our society has deemed it a virtue to let it all hang out. The self-control once demanded of a lady or gentleman is passé. Some even consider it cruel to expect children to control themselves. I have read that a four-year-old cannot possibly be expected to sit still or concentrate on anything for more than fifteen minutes. Ours have sat through hour-and-a-half worship services since babyhood. Are they exceptional? No, like all the other kids in our congregation, it was expected of them.
Fear of aging and disrespect for the old
Are you terrified of every new gray hair? Do you look forward to the respect that advanced age will merit you due to the wisdom you have learned through life with the Lord? Probably not, but you ought to be able to. The fact that no one does so is a further evidence of the cult-of-the-young that grips us.
The glibness with which we speak evil of the image of God
How often do we make smart remarks about our elders, our civil leaders, our friends, and even ourselves? My grandparents’ generation believed that if one could not speak well of a person, he ought to keep his mouth shut.
Positive encouragement to be bums
Socially we expect irrational, antisocial behavior. Linguistically, we teach that language has no meaning, offers no real communication, so why endeavor to be precise. Aesthetically, we actively cultivate the art of the ugly.
The frenzy to prevent people having dominion
The media tell us to worship the earth, to conserve and preserve it at all costs to humans, to let the wilderness that our Christian forebears fought so hard to drive back overtake us. In our personal lives we excuse and encourage disorganization, lack of discipline, and plain, ordinary sloth, and we get praised for it! Orderly, productive people are considered too uptight. We are all products of our culture and infected with these ideas. How can we prevent their growth in our children and erase them from our own minds? The basic answer, of course, is to study the Scriptures ( Rom. 12:1-2). The following are practical suggestions for change:
Model dignified adult behavior that our children will be proud to imitate
Set an example as the apostles did for us (Phil. 4:9). What characteristics does a dignified adult have? Read Titus 2:1-5 for models of what mature behavior should look like. Even on simple issues, set an exampledress like a respectable adult, stand and sit like one. Kings and queens do not slouch.
Build from our children’s earliest days the image of who they are in their minds
When our little children came yelling, Mommy, Mommy! I would answer, Yes, Little Prince (or Princess). And always remember, it is a wonder that God gave us dominion. Marvel at it the way the Psalmist does in Psalm 8,and you will retain the proper sense of humility.
Guard your reactions, verbal and otherwise, whether you are waiting in traffic or melting in humidity in the worship service. Teach your children to control their bodies and their tongues. They can sit still and be respectful. We can control what we do and even what we think about. Indeed, we are required to (Phil. 4:8). But we cannot give away to our children what we do not possess ourselves. Self- control is a part of the fruit of the Spirit, and it has been said that you can’t have any of the other parts without that one first (Gal. 5:22 & 23).
Practice and teach respect for the aged
Give your time to your parents and extended family. Teach your children to value their wisdom (even if they are not believers) by valuing their presence and developing relationships with them. Make sure your children address anyone old enough to be their parent by his last name and title. If you lack grandparents for your children, visit a nursing home and build relationships with older members of your congregation. Obey literally Leviticus 19:32. And don’t fret if your hair is going grey. Remember, it is a crown of glory if it is found in the way of righteousness (Prov. 16:31 ).
Actively cultivate the image of God in you
Plant a garden, read a book to broaden your mind, show your children you love to learn, beautify your home in simple ways. Especially value language. Teach grammar, diction, proper articulation, spelling, and effective speaking and writing skills. In history show what happens in all cultures that reject the high, biblical view of people. In science examine the underlying philosophy of conservationism and environmentalism. Above all, refuse in every way to be a savage or simply immature. Savages never exercised much dominion over the earth (Gen. 1:26-28). We won’t either if we are content to be narrow-minded people who know little about anything.
Take dominion and subdue the corner of His world which God entrusted to you
Clean out your closets or garage; organize your books, desk, or kitchen; pull the weeds in your garden. After you have set this example, require your children to be responsible for their schoolwork, their possessions, and their appearance. We can’t subdue the earth if we cannot subdue ourselves by His grace first.
We are ruled-rulers as T. David Gordon termed it; we must act the part or disgrace the One who made us in His image. As we learn to be like Him, we are responsible to teach our children to do the same. May the Lord give us grace to honor Him by honoring His image in all people.