By Heather Walton
“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40 ESV)
Education is not a neutral activity, disconnected from the rest of life. Instead, it is a system of discipleship. The goal of education is to bring about change and to mold the student in some way to be more like his teacher. We cannot simply instill knowledge into our students; we leave with them an impression of who we are, of our very essence. I believe that’s why James said that teachers are to be held to a higher standard (James 3:1); they bear a high responsibility for their students’ outcomes. They are disciple-makers.
Who do you most want to influence your children? What qualities should that person have? Can you hand-pick every person who has a part in the discipleship of your children? Perhaps not, but you likely have much more control than you think. Why? Because parents are responsible to be the primary discipleship-agents in our children’s lives. We can be our children’s primary teachers. And, for the most part, we can dictate what other influences are allowed in our children’s lives.
How is this possible? Through home educating our children. Home education equals home discipleship. There is no distinction. The term homeschooling can be somewhat misleading, because it carries an academic connotation. However, it is much more than that. Home discipleship is primarily about training our children up in God’s ways. Academics are important, but so are life skills and talent training, among other things. Above all, we should desire to instill in our children a love for God and for other people (Deut. 6:1-7; Matt. 22:36-40; Mark 12: 30-31).
We may delegate a portion of that responsibility to the church and to others, even to Christian schools, but we need to be careful to make sure that everyone we allow to influence our children is worthy of that privilege. Even the best intentioned teachers can steer our children wrong, and though we shouldn’t expect perfection, we should expect those who want to influence our children to have a holy and humble reverence for God’s Word. Those who don’t can inflict great damage.
The Lord had harsh words for hypocrites and for those who would harm the innocent (Matthew 18:6; Luke 17:2). We must be vigilant in the care of those entrusted to us. Our children will be disciples; the only question is by whom?