It has been of great interest to me to observe the critics of the fastgrowing Home Education movement. It has been my experience that one of the most common accusations made to parents wishing to educate their children at home is that the children will suffer due to lack of socialization. By this the concerned critic of Home Education is voicing the fear that Johnny may end up socially retarded if he does not rub shoulders with enough of his peers and may not know how to get along in society as a well adjusted personality.
Many voices of this school of thought are convinced that maximum exposure for Johnny to friends and activities is an absolute necessity for his well being and has a far reaching impact on his ability to get along in a complex world.
Not surprisingly many Christians have obligingly accepted this theory as fact and have diligently sought to socialize their children. Most have found out to their chagrin that once their child has been properly socialized they have more than they bargained for.
Instead of producing Spurgeons, Moodys, Hudson Taylors and Abraham Lincolns, socialization has largely produced carnal worldly feeling oriented Laodicean Christian youth.
Even the pagan world has authoritatively documented the deleterious effects of television on young minds. Yet Christians are still heard to not only defend its usage and ownership they maintain one is depriving his family if he destroys the family altar (television). My dear Christian friend your TV is indeed socializing your youngsters but in a way you will profoundly regret in years to come.
How about friends? Surely our children should have many of them, especially if they are found in church and at our Christian school. May I respectfully point out that our churches and Christian schools in this country are filled with hardhearted youth whose hearts are clearly inclined toward this world. Because a youngster is involved in a church youth group or Christian school does not guarantee the impeccability of his character! Our girls over the years have confessed to having had sexual intercourse in the church building while activities are going on in other parts of the building! Christian school students use alcohol and dope. They lose their purity; they kill their babies. All of the wickedness you observe in the mass media has been confessed to our staff people by our live in students who as you know all come from fundamental backgrounds and most of whom were enrolled in Christian schools.
How a child behaves in and adjusts to his family can be a possible forecast of how he will function in the world around him as an adult. This is precisely why it is so vital that he be taught to immediately and sweetly obey authority, learn the lessons of selfcontrol over his flesh and feelings and learn how to lovingly interract with his siblings.
As this happens, as an adult he will obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit and mandates of Scripture as a continuation of the obedient character formed within as a child (Proverbs 22:6). He will function as a self-controlled responsible adult who realizes from his childhood training that giving vent to excess and following feelings create problems. More importantly for the purposes of this article a child vigorously trained to responsibly interract with his several brothers and sisters (the Bible presupposes the normal family has many children Psalm 127:35 Psalm 128:3 Psalm 113:9) will be able to successfully integrate himself in most social situations as an adult.
Witness an early agrarian America with its rural economy which, in many instances, saw families living in comparative isolation from their nearest neighbors. Education and socialization of necesssity took place within the confines of the immediate family circle. Responsibility and Godly character thus formed produced a charactered leader such as Abraham Lincoln. On the other hand socialization and peer interaction of contemporary Christian youth may reinforce hardened hearts and questionable character if the child's home is weak; because youth left to socialize (especially in unstructured unsupervised ways) on their own will tend to reinforce one another's weakness of character. I am convinced no child should be allowed unfettered and unsupervised fraternization outside the family circle if he is not correctly responding to his parents or siblings.
God providentially places children in specific homes. Their problem by and large is not their old fashioned parents but their unwillingness to obey Godly authority. A rebel may well find comfort, acceptance and solace in the arms of uncharactered friends but he has bypassed his primary responsibility to first find his pleasure, joy, peace and fulfillment in his family. To put it another way, a child properly socialized with his parents and siblings is a far better prepared candidate for marriage and ministry than one who is primarily socialized with friends. Instead of obligingly going along with whatever direction your child is heading and instead of accepting his circle of friends and activities you must choose them for him based on your scripture enlightened discernments.
It is about time some Christian parents said to another set of parents Our kids are not good for one another.
This is not unloving. That is love and genuine caring. We must very carefully gauge the effect children have on one another.
Scripture warns us that evil character is contagious (I Corinthians 15:33; Haggai 2:12-13; Proverbs 22:24-25). If your child has one friend with evil character he will be infected with that character without exception. You must very carefully choose his friends and associations and just as closely monitor his activities. The chief friends of a child ought to be his Godly parents and secondarily his Godly siblings. Other friends and associations should have a lesser priority.
To some these ideas seem narrow and restrictive. This is true. So are the Scriptures. In fact the Scriptures picture the Godly life in that way and yet it is filled with happiness peace and joy.
Whereas worldly Christians are busily socializing their children to their detriment and exposing them to all manner of things this world has to offer, the narrowminded Fundamentalist agrees with Paul: "I would have you wise unto that which is good and simple concerning evil" (Romans 16:19). Ask Jacob and Leah how happy they were when their daughter Dinah was socialized! (Genesis 34:15). Read the Old Testament closely and see how God was pleased when Israel became socialized with the pagan nations around her. Israel's many compromises and her ultimate apostasy should stand out as clear warnings for us today (I Corinthians 10:11).
Noah appeared to the world of his day as a religious fanatic yet his family alone was saved. Abraham kept his family at arm's length from his Canaanite neighbors and their filthy abominations and produced a Godly Isaac. Jonadab refused to obey the social planners and polite society of his day, maintained a strict lifestyle for himself and his family and had the joy of looking over the ramparts of Heaven 400 years later to see his descendants still living separated lives (Jeremiah 35:510) uncontaminated by the world.
It is my prayer that you see the two contrasting principles in all of this. it is the satanically dominated world which says socialize whereas it is the Word of God that says SEPARATE !
by Ronald E. Williams, Director