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Christianity. Theology. Apologetics. Philosophy. Literature. Politics. Science. Culture.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

A Guest Post by My Father (Part 1)

In the comments section of The Myth of Adolescence (Part 2), fellow blogger Jan (The Happy Homemaker) requested that I share about the environment in which Brett and I were raised. There are few better ways to accomplish this end than to share the following article by my father, Gregg Harris. Originally published in TABLETALK magazine in August of 1999, these words capture the heart of my father's approach to raising his children. Long a reformer, my father was a leading member of the home-school movement, and has more recently turned his focus to the reformation of the church. He currently serves as a teaching elder of Household of Faith Community Church. The church was planted in our family's living room in August of 1998, when Brett and I were 9 years old. Besides his study, writing, and teaching, my father still occasionally travels and speaks around the country, and is actively involved in the raising and instructing of his remaining (at home) 5 children. Serving as Brett's and my manager, advisor, and visionary, our father is our hero. Now, without further ado, I present my dad:

Priceless Treasures: My Reasons for Home Schooling
by Gregg Harris

C.S. LEWIS ONCE OBSERVED that God is not so much offended that we want too much as by the fact that we are satisfied with so little. Though He offers us the highest of adventures in our Christian life, we settle for the stale mediocrity of our lukewarm religious routines.

The parental counterpart to this idea is that most mothers and fathers actually want too little for their children - they settle for success in this world's terms. But God would have us aim higher, not like an ambitious stage mother pushing her mildly talented children into the spotlight, but like a fine jeweler making the best possible use of each bit of gold, silver, and precious stone he has. My children are priceless treasures, and I want God's highest and best for them.

What does it mean to aim high in this way? What am I really trying to accomplish in the education of my children?

Is it enough that they read well? No, not for me. I want them to commune with great authors from throughout the ages and be able to comprehend the profound ideas and truths that God has used to change the course of history. Let them be voracious readers of truly great literature.

Do I want my sons and daughters only to write and spell correctly? No, I want them to correspond with fellow enthusiasts in their chosen areas of endeavor. If they have the gifting, let them eventually author intelligent, superbly written works concerning the important issues of their day. Let them be prolific writers, whether privately or publicly

Do I want them merely to know enough history to pass a written test? No, I want them to understand the times in which they live and to be able to pass the real tests of life they will face in voting booths and on battlefields. Let them be like the sons of Issachar ("who had understanding of the times," 1 Chron. 12:32) in the unfolding dramas of future events.

But education is so much more than mere academics. It is primarily matter of character development. Self-discipline may be out of style, but it is never out of work. Do I want my children simply to be nice, well-behaved, and safe from peer pressure? Not at all! Aslan, in Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, is not a tame lion, but he is good. I prefer my children to be like that - good but not tame, men and women of integrity, not conformity. Let them be so influential and contagious in their faith that they turn the hearts of their companions toward God. Let the world grieve that its best and brightest have become Christians...