Because of our cultural truculence in rejecting biblical values regarding children, I felt this required its own article. In the West generally, and in the America particularly, we do everything backwards with our kids.
Start here: Your first duty it to God Almighty. If He wants to take your children, fighting Him is the worst thing you can do for them. They are His children first, and He granted them to you. If He is not sovereign in every detail of your existence, He is not your Lord.
Next, you must understand it is better for your children to be martyrs than murderers. It is better that they learn to refuse evil commands from mere men, at the cost of their own lives, than to disobey God. We are pacifist against all human governments because not a one of them uses violence as God decreed. God has not forbidden people from defending their homes and families from attackers, but He demands you first have something He considers worthy of defense. Life itself is not that something.
Related to that: The worst thing you can ever do is render your children unto Caesar, as it were, because it’s just a step away from throwing them to Molech. If you are going to fulfill your duty to God in raising His children, you have to understand they must be taught to obey His Laws. They will not learn that in any government education program. If your local school was controlled by the parents of the children, that would be fine. As a former “professional educator” in the public school systems, I assert with full conviction you have almost no input regarding the contents of their education, despite the possible illusion of such input.
They start very early with the conditioning from the likes of TV, movies, music and other entertainments. Even for the first church in Jerusalem, this was an issue, as the teaching of the Law of Moses was corrupted by Hellenism. However, they had the advantage of not having to fight for the right to teach their children better. Aside from a few radical communities such as Sparta, most early Gentile communities had similar advantages over educational choices. On the other hand, they had a huge barrier overcoming the local conditioning of the various pagan cultures. Today, a proper biblical education might as well be from another planet.
But we cannot begin to correct this until we first correct our own assumptions about child rearing. It is absolutely critical for children to develop with the doting attention of their mother during the first five years of life. Lots of cuddling, lots of attention, all day long from their mother first, then from others in the extended family — this is alien to our life style. All the more so with all these alternatives to actually raising our children. We have conditioned women to insist they have other things to do, more interesting, more fulfilling personally, than be a full time mother. God help us.
The fathers should be involved, but their role as head of the family typically means being busy most of the day. Somewhere around age five, that exposure to father should increase incrementally, but dramatically, over the next two years. In an ideal world, a father’s work would allow the children to be with him at least part of the time, helping some. It is in the father’s care they learn their place in this world, learn to incorporate other adults into their modeling of behavior. Yes, for girls there is less of this, but there still needs to be some. Somewhere around ages seven to nine, they begin apprenticing themselves toward their adult work life. Ideally, they would be exposed to all of the different types of work they might see from the whole clan, but only in the most exceptional cases of rare talent should anyone consider training outside the immediate covenant community.
At age nine or so the gender separation in public becomes essential. They are no longer little kids, and sexual differentiation brings in a host of moral issues. Young ladies are no longer to run free in the world, but must be escorted. They have only a few years to become prepared for marriage, and it is serious hard work. Boys must generally be kept from social contact with unrelated females until they are mature enough to take their place in society as men. Except for those whose callings require strong academic investment, there is really nothing inherent in human development requiring education past age fourteen or fifteen. At this point they should be ready to enter full time apprenticeship.
Marriage between age mates is simply not a good idea. The females are typically far, far more mature than any males their own age, up until men are approaching thirty. By that time a woman takes increasing risks bearing children, so she is married rather young to someone at least a decade older. By no means should any female be left to her own devices to choose a mate; her family is responsible for making things happen.
This is the way God’s people did things from the beginning, yet it seems repugnant and alien to us. We have so very far to go. Until we make a commitment to begin moving in this direction, we cannot pretend anything we do for our children is any good. Remaking our social order around the biblical mandates is now very much a tall order, as even churches seldom consider, much less act, accordingly. Most churches do nothing to remake people into God’s image for life in a fallen world, but simply reflect some of the tamer elements of the society around them.
We cannot continue pickling our children in this evil world.
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