Tuesday, November 2, 2010

How to Raise Brilliant Children

Every homeschooling mom has the desire to raise children who will grow up to be wise and full of understanding.  We want our children to shine, excel and be successful, especially since we have devoted our lives to them as we poured into them academically.  Not only do we want our children to be filled with wisdom, but we want them to be able to function in society as adults and of course we want them to build God’s kingdom, but where does true wisdom and understanding come from and how do we make sure that our children will obtain it?  Does it come from reading various books or utilizing wonderful curriculum programs?  Would our children be filled with wisdom if they attended multiple field trips?  How about if they take an abundance of co-op classes?  What seems to be the logical answer to these questions is ‘yes’, at least that is what we are led to believe if we were raised in an educational system and/or just being a part of our society, but that is not the Truth.   If we look to the Bible as our authority, instead of society or our past educational experiences, we will find a different answer. 

The fear of the Lord is true wisdom.
In the book of Job, God is speaking to Job when He says, “The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding." Job 28:28  At one point in Job’s life he had everything you could have ever asked for; many children, an abundance of wealth and possessions, plus good health.  If you just read the first chapter of Job and did not read any further, you would have thought that Job was a wise man because of all that he obtained.  As you read further, you find out the he was well-respected in society, which would equate in our minds that he was a man of influence; therefore a man of wisdom. Yet, God allowed all of Job’s children and his possessions to be taken away from him.  As wealthy as Job was, the Word of God says he obtained those things because …”he was blameless and He feared God.”  Job 1:1 If you continue to read further in the book, you will soon find out that Job is arguing with God about the situation he was in and finally the Lord rebukes him and then tells him, The fear of the Lord is true wisdom.”  Job 28:28  In other words,  “Job, shut your trap.  You may have possessed many things, but “I Am” is here to tell you that it is not what you can obtain that makes you wise, but Who you fear.” (my paraphrase!) 
When I read that verse several years ago, I never applied it to my life as a homeschool mom.  As the years have gone by while I have taught my children, I could not help but wonder, worry and fret if I was covering everything they needed know and whether or not there were any ‘gaps’ in my children’s education.  Although I am still very conditioned by what I think I should be teaching my children and how much of it I should be covering, the Word of God is the Truth, regardless of what society says, or what type of education I have received, or what a well-meaning homeschooling publisher may have written.  What matters most is that our children will know the Truth and where true wisdom comes from and that it does not come from reading many books, etc., but by reading the One True Book and having fear of the One True God. 
Yes, there will be ‘gaps’ in my children’s education because I can not ‘do it all’ for there just isn’t enough hours in the day. So I choose to make sure that my children are brilliant, by being full of true wisdom and understanding before I teach them knowledge. "But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?”  Job 28:12  “Who has put wisdom in the mind?  Or who has given understanding to the heart?” Job 38:36  It all comes from the Lord.
The Bible speaks about Solomon being the wisest man that ever lived, he was a man of great wisdom and understanding.  When I think of Solomon, I could only hope that my children would one day have the wisdom that Solomon once displayed (until of course he rejected the things of the Lord because he chose to listen to his pagan wives and concubines.)  “ God said, "Ask! What shall I give you?" And Solomon said: "You have shown great mercy to Your servant David my father, because he walked before You in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with You; You have continued this great kindness for him, and You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” 1 Kings 3:9  “So God replied, "Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people and have not asked for a long life or riches for yourself or the death of your enemies- behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. 1 Kings 3:11-12

So how did Solomon become so brilliant and filled with wisdom, he asked the Lord for it, but did you notice in this passage that he also spoke of his father’s godly character?  As Solomon was growing up, he saw his father’s devotion to the Lord.  He saw how David handled difficult situations, trials and attacks, even the attack from his own son Absalom who tried to usurp his throne. David displayed the life of a godly man, so much so, that Solomon desired to live a life of devotion and servanthood to the Lord as a result of his father’s actions.  Because of David’s example of reverence for the Lord, Solomon asked God for wisdom.
We have an opportunity every day to teach our children how to be wise, but it begins with our example.  Do our children see us live our lives with the fear of the Lord?  Do they see us spending time in God’s Word on a daily basis?  Do they see us submitting to our husbands?  Are our priorities and activities God-honoring or are they worldly?  Where do we spend our time and our money, is it in one’s self and entertainment or in ministry? Do they see us protecting them from things or situations that God would deem as evil?   When we sin, do our children see us apologize and restore our relationships?  Those things matter; they will either show our children that we fear the Lord or that we don’t.     
Isn’t it nice to know that if we teach our children to fear the Lord our kids will receive wisdom?  Yes, it is that simple of a truth, however, the faith that it takes to embrace that thought process is huge and might be difficult to live on a daily basis.  We might have the tendency to keep going back to what we think we should be teaching our children.  There is nothing wrong with that, however, if we place a higher priority upon knowledge over wisdom, we could end up raising a fool who will spend eternity in hell, rather than a brilliant, wise child who will spend eternity in heaven.  I encourage you to spend your time on the wiser choice!