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Training Children, Part 1

May 13, 2011

Children, Faith

“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.”  ~Proverbs 22:6

This wonderful advice from Solomon guides a lot of our decisions as parents.  After prayerful consideration, we decided years ago to homeschool our children to be sure they are getting the proper “training.”

What is the proper training?

As Christians, first and foremost, that means raising them in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ and the inspired Word of God (the Bible).  In addition to church and Sunday school attendance, we honor God with family prayer and Bible study and sometimes listen to Christian music.  We feel they must have this all-important foundation to build upon if they are to be strong in their faith and strive to live God-honoring  lives.

As parents, we hope they will go on to a university after high school, so we are trying to provide a classical curriculum that will well-prepare them for college.

As preppers, we aren’t too sure that “continued education” as we know it will exist still when they reach that age.

Education vs. Training

Whether that is the case or not, we feel that part of our duty as parents is not only to educate them, but to train them.  What is the difference?  In our minds, an education often includes abstract concepts and even memorization of historical dates.  Training them is teaching children concrete things or skills, giving them the opportunities to practice them, and helping them gain proficiency.

For example, children may be educated in the facts about a plant’s ability to make its own food by photosynthesis.  Our children will also be trained in how to prepare a seed bed, plant seeds, weed them, mulch, create compost, identify ripe fruits, pick them, prepare them for the table, preserve them, and save the seeds for next year.  Both aspects of learning have their place, but the training provides children with needed skills that will serve them well for a lifetime.

Training Children to Be Productive and Work Hard

Another related issue is the work ethic we want to instill in our children.  I had an interesting conversation with a lady while in line at a grocery store.  I often get comments about how much of some item I buy at once.  (As a prepper and avid deal-seeker, I will often buy as many of an item as store sales allow that I also have coupons for, so possibly 8 jars of natural peanut butter in one trip).  I usually just smile and say I have lots of children.  After that reply, the lady asked more questions about my family.

We ended up in a discussion of large families, homeschooling, and such.  But she made a comment that caught my attention.  I was expressing my gratitude that my wonderful husband could keep all but the nursing baby home with him while I shopped and added that I had left the kids with a list of chores that needed to be done when they finished their schoolwork.  Her response was “Yeah, I guess with that many kids, they have do some chores.”

Hmmmm….  Only because of the number of children we have?  Shouldn’t ALL children be learning to take responsibility for their belongings, clean up after themselves, and contribute to the family’s well-being?  Wouldn’t it be good experience for an only child to put away his own clothes and feed the dog he asked for?

It is our responsibility as parents to “train up a child,” so shouldn’t we be preparing them to be responsible adults with wide range of useful skills?

In the next part, I will detail some of the skills we feel are important and how we go about teaching them to our children.

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9 Comments on “Training Children, Part 1”

  1. A Says:

    Very thoughtful post.

    Reply

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