The Mississippi Baptist Foundation  |  est. 1943  |  Psalm 24:1
client login


      “What is being taught at home?” was the question posed on a church sign that I observed recently. Inasmuch as home education or “home schooling” has been growing in popularity for many years, I suppose that some passersby might initially consider the question on the church sign to be pointing to the growing trend to teach the three “Rs” (Reading, Writing, and ‘Rithmetic) and more at home.     
      Home education has been practiced throughout history as parents and communities have passed knowledge from one generation to the next. Concerning the importance of home schooling children regarding biblical truths, parents are challenged to “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up…write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6).
      Parents have the unique privilege and responsibility to train up their child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. In addition to setting a careful and consistent example worthy of emulation, parents can also train up their children through Explanation. And, such explanation should be offered with patience.       
      How many times have you, as a parent, issued a command or a series of instructions only to have your child respond, “Why?” Perhaps you did not really feel like explaining or you didn’t want to take the time to do so because you knew that the first answer would lead to a second question and so on. In order to nip the questioning in the bud, you offered the well-known and oft-used reply “Because.”
      My guess is that most parents (whether they were willing to admit it or not) have submitted the very informative “Because” to their children on more than one occasion. Generally, when I submitted that eloquent one-word answer to one of my children, I would quickly hear “Daddy, ‘because’ is not a good answer!” Children have tremendous curiosity and proper training seeks to develop this curiosity rather than to stifle it.     
      Over 70 years ago, Margret and H.A. Rey wrote a children’s book entitled “Curious George.” Featuring a chimpanzee named George, the book presents a series of unique situations and predicaments in which George found himself stemming from his robust curiosity. Fortunately, the “Man in the big yellow hat” was available to assist George to navigate the outcome of his escapades. Surely the degree of patience afforded to a monkey by the man in the big yellow hat can be at least equal to and even surpassed by the measure of patience exercised by parents as they seek to train up their child through explanation!
      Parents must also explain with a purpose. Perhaps you have heard about the newlywed couple who just moved into their first apartment. As the wife was preparing a ham for the evening meal, she used a large knife to slice off both ends of the ham before placing the pan in the oven. She then tossed the two cut ends into the trash. Not familiar with this approach (or any approach) to baking a ham, the young groom asked his bride why she had cut off both ends of the ham. She replied that her mom had always cooked hams in this fashion so she was simply doing what her mom had done. Because of her husband’s continued questioning, the young lady called her mom for a fuller explanation. Her mom simply responded “Well, that’s the way my mom cooked a ham.” Not being satisfied, the young wife called her grandmother and asked the matriarch why she had sliced off both ends of the ham prior to placing the pan in the oven. The seasoned woman chuckled and explained, “Honey, the reason that I cut off both ends of the ham years ago was because my oven was so small that a pan large enough to hold the whole ham would not fit.” Lack of explanation continued an unnecessary and wasteful practice to subsequent generations.     
      While parental example is necessary and important, explaining with patience and purpose is equally beneficial. Children are curious. They want to explore and examine the world around them. In many cases, parents may be doing a tremendous injustice to their children when they fail to take the initiative to explain the “whys and why nots” of life and the “do’s and don’ts” of life. Children will find the answers to questions. They will experiment with various alternatives and possibilities. Children need someone who they respect and trust to help supply answers to their questions and concerns. Inasmuch as their future path…yea, even their eternal path…can be influenced by parents, explanation with patience and with purpose is vital to training up a child.


Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for parents, grandparents, and others who have opportunities to teach children. May these influencers not grow weary as you grant them strength and patience for the challenging task of training up a child. Amen