|This guest post is by Carey Adams-Dudkovsky with The Foundation for American Christian Education.|
Embrace Your Home Mission as Christians
In the very beginning of Teaching and Learning America’s Christian History: the Principle Approach,® Rosalie Slater outlines the three spheres of Constitutional liberty:
- The Christian Home
- The Christian Church
- The Christian School
What Has the Most Influence?
Of the three, the Christian home has the most influence as the home heavily impacts the other two; the church and the school are dependent on the success of the home. “…the development of individual character and happiness in the church and state, in time and in eternity, starts with, and depends upon, home-training and nurture….” (R.J. Slater, Teaching and Learning America’s Christian History: the Principle Approach, p. 5)
How many of you have thought of your home as a mission? If so then what does that mission look like?
In short, mission by definition is to send out; if your home is a mission then you are preparing for the “sending out” of those God has given you charge of.
Therefore, the mission of the home is a calling of God and is divine and is a “soul-mission.” Consequently, the home is a divine institution so we are not only there to provide for the physical well-being of the family, but also for the education of the whole body, of mind, and of spirit, of preparation for the state, for the church and for eternity. This is a sacred responsibility.
What the Christian Home Looks Like
So what does the Christian home look like? Deuteronomy 6 says “thou shalt teach my words diligently unto thy children, and talk of them when thou sittest in thy house…” This is the heart of Principle Approach education and this is also the heart of the home.
The seven pillars of Principle Approach education (the seven principles) really are as important to the home as they are to education. As the home has the greatest influence, imagine what can happen when your home, your divine institution, teaches principles at the heart of everything. When children learn to think according to principles, they develop the ability to reason biblically towards forming a Biblical worldview. Begin in the home to imbed Biblical principles and your work in educating your children becomes more whole and complete.
The Idea of Providential History
In my own experience, I have seen people struggle with the idea of providential history when first coming to Principle Approach education. For me history was always providential history, because that is what I was taught from a young age. I couldn’t understand how people couldn’t understand it. For me there was no separation.
I can remember as a college student being faced with young Christians who were convinced that Communism was the purest form of Christianity. There was no way of convincing me of this because I knew that liberty was the true spirit of Christianity and without God we had no liberty; government control for equality was the opposite of Christianity.
The Effect of Teaching Bible Principles
This is where you end up when you teach biblical principles, when the truths of God’s Word are placed at the heart of everything, within children deeply rooted in God’s Truth, they are not easily swayed by other ideas and emotions as they get older. It also, over time, captivates the heart with a love and affection towards God. Having the affection towards God is so important because that is what will sustain their faith throughout life. Affection comes through knowing God, seeing his providential hand at work, and seeing the blessing that comes through faith.
How This Looks in My Own Family
So what does this look like in my own family? I have seen the lasting effects of biblical principles in my daughters. When there are issues or decisions that need to be made, bringing it back to a principle always brings clarity, often direction, and correction if needed. There is no room to argue when you bring things back to God’s truth. Just asking the question sometimes is enough. What is the principle behind your decision to do______? How are your choices honoring God, or honoring your parents? I will often tell my daughters when they are in conflict with each other that they need to value each other’s individuality.
Equally important, when it comes to discipline, I am not sure anything is more powerful than teaching a child how to be self-governed. Children need this and want it. When there are power struggles, teach your children it is in their power to choose to be self-governed and you release the parent from being constantly in a position of correction. It gives them responsibility over their actions and choices.
As a result, these seven principles are guides for shaping and forming character, which is the primary goal of the Christian home.
The Order of Our Individual Home
How do we order our individual divine institution—the home?
- Through prayer, reading scripture and praising God
- By teaching Biblical principles in all areas of life
- By shaping their Christian character for their “soul-mission”
- Modeling Biblical reasoning and Christian character
Three spheres of Constitutional liberty are:
- Home…To build the foundation of America’s Christian character.
- Church….To build the foundation of Christian Conscience
- School….To continue to build on the foundation of Christian character and conscience
- Seek to fill your children with the knowledge of God’s Word and build in them affection for the One who created them.
“Family religion is implied in the marriage relation and obligation. It is included in the necessities of our children, and in the covenant promises of God. The penalties of its neglect, and the rewards of our faithfulness to it, should prompt us to its establishment in our homes. Its absence is a curse; its presence a blessing. It is a foretaste of heaven. Like manna, it will feed our souls, quench our thirst, sweeten the cup of life, and shed a halo of glory and of gladness around our firesides. Let yours, therefore, be the religious home; and then be sure that God will delight to dwell therein, and His blessing will descend, like the dews of heaven, upon it …
“Yours will be the home of love and harmony; it shall have the charter of family rights and privileges, the ward of family interests, the palladium of family hopes and happiness. Your household piety will be the crowning attribute of your peaceful home, —the ‘crown of living stars’ that shall adorn the night of its tribulation, and the pillar of cloud and of fire in its pilgrimage to a ‘better country.’… (R.J. Slater. Teaching and Learning America’s Christian History: The Principle Approach, p. 9 & 10)