Tag Archives: Christian upbringing

What Did Moses Know About Childhood Education?

Moses and Ten Commandments

It turns out Moses was right.

Most Christians, those who believe that the Bible is God’s revelation of himself to humans, know that Moses was a man who spoke face to face with God. He led the Israelites out of Egypt, and he carried two huge stones down from Sinai after God wrote commandments on them with his finger. At the end of his life he preached a sermon to the Israelites and told them that they absolutely, positively, without fail must teach their children everything they had learned about God in the wilderness. Moses said,

These words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9).

Because Moses spoke these words, people who use the Bible as a guide to faith and life dutifully teach their children about God. They read the Bible. They take the children to Sunday School. They pray with their children and for their children. They introduce their children to Jesus, and they teach their children how God wants them to live. They teach children that human beings are born sinful, and they teach their children to repent of their sins, confess them and turn away from them.

I bring this up, because secular thinkers accuse Christian parents of being child abusers, because Christian parents tell children that they are born sinful. Yet Christian parents say these things, because Moses admonished parents to do so. Moses, the man who spoke with God face to face, said these things, because the things children learn when they are young stick with them all their lives. Whoever teaches children what to believe teaches them the way they will live. The Catholic Church used to say, “Give us a child till he is seven years old, and you can do what you will after that.” They said that, because they had learned through millennia of childhood education that what little children learn is crucial.

Secular thinkers, however, try to tell Christians that they should not interfere with the minds and hearts of children while they are small. Secularists tell Christians that it is wrong to “impose” religion on children when they are so small and vulnerable. Of course they say that, because they do not want children to be Christians; they want children to grow up secular and believe secular teaching.

How do I know that this is their objective? I know it, because of what secular teachers are doing. A recent online article reports the work of a lesbian teacher whose mission is to “help” children learn to accept homosexuality as a normal way of life. Pam Strong says that in many years of teaching children about homosexuality, she finds that they are most willing to accept the teaching in kindergarten. If they learn about homosexuals in kindergarten, they pretty much accept it as the norm by fifth grade, according to Ms. Strong.

This is exactly what Moses told the Israelites, many thousands of years ago. This is what generations of Christian parents have learned, too. Five-year-olds are ready and willing to be taught by adults. They want to know what adults know, and they want to please adults, so they try to be obedient. Kindergarten is a good time to teach children to know and love God.

What did the Israelites do about the instructions Moses gave them? The book of Judges chronicles 400 years of history after the Israelites heard Moses speak, 400 years during which they entered and partly conquered the Promised Land, 400 years during which it is said of the moral climate in Israel,

In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes. Judges 21:25

The people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites, and the gods of the Philistines. And they forsook the Lord and did not serve him. Judges 10:6

As you notice in the first passage, the writer tries to blame Israel’s misbehavior on the lack of a king, but Israel’s history proved that kings were no guarantee of obedience to God. In the second passage, the writer lists gods of the people they were supposed to defeat and drive out, but instead of defeating those gods, the Israelites found them attractive. Before long, they were serving the gods of their enemies. They forsook God. Clearly, they were not talking of God when they lay down, when they got up, and when they were with their children. They were listening to someone else, not God, not God’s priests, not God’s judges. If every generation of Israelites had heard about God from the day they were born, they would have known him and served him, and history would be different.

The same thing is happening in the US. In ancient Israel, the parents were surrounded by the people of Canaan, whom God had told them to drive out. Those people served gods for whom an orgy could be an act of worship. Those gods could be manipulated with sacrifices, rituals, and magic words. Instead of turning to God who had brought them out of Egypt, the Israelites and their children worshiped gods that were more appealing. In the US today, the more appealing god is yourself. Do things for yourself. Satisfy yourself. Experiment with your sexuality and decide what makes you happy.

This is what secular thinkers are now teaching Christian children in kindergarten. Secular thinkers know the deep truth of what Moses said, and they are making sure they get their message for children engraved in their minds early. They say, “With these big ideas there are also very big words that are very hard to understand. I find that whether it’s kindergarten . . . [or] grade six, visuals help a lot.” The secularists who say that sex is for personal gratification, and teach that everyone should experiment and figure out what sort of sex is fun, think they are teaching big ideas with big words that require pictures for enhanced understanding.

They are right. They are right on all points. Small children are highly impressionable. Small children readily learn anything that is taught in appealing way. They love pictures and learn a lot from pictures. They want to please their teachers, and to please their teachers, they will act out behaviors encouraged by teachers. They do it when they are taught to think homosexuality is normal, and they do it when they are taught that Jesus loves them.

The problem for Christians is this: Secular thinkers are promoting the idea that teaching children that Jesus loves them is brainwashing. To teach a child to sing “Jesus Love Me” is brainwashing according to the secular worldview. The same secularist says that teaching children that homosexuality is normal makes the nation a better place. Jesus is a danger. Homosexuality is a good thing. Secular thinkers are turning the minds of children upside down.

Would it be so easy if the children already knew Jesus? Of course not. The question is—do the little children of Christian parents know Jesus? The answer lies in surveys by Barna and Pew, which reveal that the number of adults in the US who claim never to have had any religious connection at all is increasing side by side with the number of adults in the US who were exposed to religion as children but abandoned it at adulthood. I use the word exposed, because children who were dropped off at Sunday School as children, whenever Sunday School did not conflict with soccer, clearly do not get the morning, noon and night immersion in a life of faith that Moses imagined. On the other hand, children who hear about homosexuality in kindergarten, and ever thereafter, are immersed in news, books and public conversations that admire homosexuals and belittle Christians.

Christians must start teaching their children about Jesus in the cradle, and they must follow the admonition of Moses to live their faith night and day. That really should not be a problem. That is what Christians should be doing anyway. This is what Jesus told us to do—deny self and follow him. If Christians do this, they will be bringing up their children to know Jesus and the teachings of Jesus. Parents will pray in the sight of their children when life gets tough. Parents will pray with their children to give thanks for good things and ask for strength to endure bad things. The name of Jesus will be spoken reverently by parents and children alike, and the children will figure out for themselves that “omg” is not a respectful attitude toward God. Statistics tell us that fewer and fewer parents are doing these things. If Christians in the US want a different fate than that of the Israelites, a fate that was a natural consequence of their rejection of God, then Christians in the US need to stop acting like the Israelites. Statistics say that Christians are falling away from faithful worship, rejecting the Bible as a guide for faith and life, and engaging in mind-melds with various religions in what secularists celebrate as “interfaith dialogue.” Instead of standing as bright lights of truth before their children, Christian parents are chasing after the same fool’s gold and self-serving lies that attract their children. The children learn from the parents that it is important to “fit in” and “get along” and “don’t make waves.”

In public school, the children will inevitably hear all the secular teachings. Secularism dominates the public schools. If nobody has ever told them different, they will be vulnerable little children who want their teacher to praise them, and they will go along to get along. If they do not learn any different from their parents, they will do what their parents do—blend in with the surroundings. Do Christians want their children to grow up knowing how to stand strong for their faith, or do they want their children to fit in with secular culture?

Was Moses right? I say he was. What do you think?

By Katherine Harms, author of Oceans of Love available for Kindle at Amazon.com.

Image: “Paris cimetière Montparnasse716” by GFreihalter – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Paris_cimeti%C3%A8re_Montparnasse716.JPG#/media/File:Paris_cimeti%C3%A8re_Montparnasse716.jpg



The State Wants all the Children

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.  Ephesians 6:1-3

Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus about an issue Moses had thoroughly covered right before he died – God’s plan for the upbringing of children. God’s plan includes a father and mother who produce children and rear those children in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord.” God’s plans for families put heavy responsibilities on the parents. Children are admonished to listen to their parents and to obey them, because the parents will be held accountable by God for teaching their children to know God and to live according to God’s teachings. Moses, Paul, and most parents actually believe that children belong to their parents, and that their parents have the final authority over those children. The laws at every government level in the USA have upheld this model of family.

Two weeks ago there was a considerable uproar when a commentator on television promoted the notion that children belong to the community, not to their parents. When something like this is expressed in actual words, it sounds extraordinarily outrageous, but the fact is that the same thing is being said in many different ways throughout the culture.

For example, the President of the United States of America recently began to advocate mandatory kindergarten for four-year-olds. Four-year-olds. Many parents struggle when it is time to let a five-year-old go to school, wanting to be sure that each child is actually mature enough to benefit from school and enjoy it. Any number of parents have dug in their feet and refused to send a child to school before they thought the child was ready, and many is the parent who, on high school graduation day rejoices that they refused to rush the child. If the President gets his way, however, it may be very difficult to keep a child at home through his fourth year, let alone his fifth. What is the rush? Obviously, the rush is to get the child into a state-controlled environment early in life. Parents who know how teachable a four-year-old is may very well want to do all the teaching themselves rather than make their child available to be taught a secular morality or other ideas in conflict with their own family values.

Further, it can no longer be assumed that if the subject of sex is going to come up at school, the parents will be notified. Recently, a school in the state of New York scheduled a day of anti-bullying training without any notice to parents that the topics covered would include homosexuality. Confronted by angry parents after the fact, the school explained that homosexuals had endured bullying, and the session was intended to teach children not to do that. Few parents would object to a teacher saying, “Please be kind and respectful of everybody.” Many parents could and did object to a teacher asking girls to pretend they were on a lesbian date. Almost every parent would object to discovering that girls were told to ask each other for a lesbian kiss. Many more parents would object to learning that older girls also gave presentations encouraging the girls in the school to experiment with sex and to enjoy it and not to feel embarrassed about it.

The school took the stance that because the session was about bullying, not sex education, it had no obligation to tell parents about the lesson plan. It is very obviously a deliberate strategy to obtain an outcome that the state wanted. By pretending they had no obligation to tell parents what was coming, they deprived the parents of any opportunity to keep their children from being exposed to this behavior.

Unfortunately, parents must simply opt out of public school altogether in order to retain their control over the kind of teaching the Bible says they are to give their children. The Bible says, “Bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Encouraging girls to pretend they are on a lesbian date is not included in the “instruction of the Lord.” The schools, read that “the state,” have many ways to undercut what parents teach their children or even how much time parents have to teach anything.

Think about this. Schools are now trying to feed children all their meals. There are schools that actually offer three meals a day, and the meals are available not just to children who might not get food at home. The meals are offered to all, and some parents are falling for it. The child leaves home in time to eat breakfast at school and never comes home again until after eating a third meal. The child need never sit down at the table with the parents to eat a meal. Well, maybe on weekends. In summer there is the Summer Food Service Program. All these programs are advised in government guides to provide both nutrition education and physical education as part of these programs. So your children can learn and will learn to eat what the government wants them to eat and to exercise the way the government wants them to exercise.

Then there is history. Children are taught a version of American history that might shock parents and grandparents. The Pilgrims were not seeking religious liberty. The Founding Fathers had no religious principles, being driven to separate from England by capitalist greed and slave-holding bigotry. Schoolhildren are not taught to honor and respect founders of the USA or the Constitution they wrote. They are taught that the USA has prospered on the backs of poor people around the world rather than as a result of personal liberty, free enterprise, and limited government. God might not have an agenda that parents should control the teaching of history, but he does have an agenda for the truth. He would object to the complete rewriting of history to fit a Marxist worldview.

It is time to ask the question again. If you are a parent, to whom do your children belong? Who is responsible for their character development, their general deportment, their personal integrity, and their outlook on fundamental moral values? Have you handed off that responsibility to the public schools? Or do you still think it is your job to teach your children how to be honorable, mature adults? How will you answer God on the day when he asks you about deeds done in the flesh with regard to the upbringing of your children? What will God say if you respond, “That’s the school’s job.”