Yes, I chose the title because it would raise the hair on your neck, but it matters too much to just let it slide.
I grew up in early modern American homeschool circles. I remember wise instructors assuring parents that the best thing they could do to prepare their children for a dark world was to only expose them to the light. The idea was that if you give kids enough truth they will recognize a lie when they eventually encounter one.
It is good to see this is no longer a widely held viewpoint because the fallout from young people raised in such a naïve environment was inevitable, reaching even into my own family.
What is fascinating is we were told to focus on the Bible and Scriptural ideas exclusively. We were to learn about Christian history and think about Christian ideas. But they forgot how strongly the Bible warns us against such narrow thinking:
2 Corinthians 2:11 – Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
1 Peter 3:15 – But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer [reasoned statement or argument] to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.
Matthew 10:16 – Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
Not to mention how often the Bible warns us of Satan’s deceptions from Genesis 3 to Revelation 20.
Perhaps the strongest warning to learn to deal with lies accurately is in Hebrews 5:14:
“But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
How will our children recognize and be wise about the falsehood flooding the world if they never exercise their senses to tell the difference between right and wrong?
Naturally, we hardly want to just throw our kids into the moral waters without a life jacket. A big part of our role as parents is to train our children up from spiritual babies into mature Christian men and women.
So, what does this look like in my home?
When I was looking for a homeschool curriculum, I purposefully chose one that focuses on exposing children to other cultures and thoughts. It isn’t always the most comfortable and can be heart wrenchingly sad at times, but the result is that both I and my children have an increased capacity for connecting with others. This naturally leads to another key to how I’m developing my children in a safe environment.
Just as when my children were infants, I took on the burden of converting adult food into a format they were ready to absorb, so I come alongside, exposing them to as much of the world’s thinking and God’s truth as they are ready to mentally and spiritually handle. They learn by my reading and actively discussing issues with them. Even when they are old enough to study on their own, I will be requiring interaction between us on each subject. Apologetics is not a subject to study in isolation.
All of this takes a fair amount of preparation and thought on my part. If I’m a spiritual baby myself, there is no way I can pass on any moral enzymes to my children. At the same time, I don’t have to have all the answers before I can start working with my children.
There is nothing wrong with learning right next to my children if I’m careful who we’re learning from.
The curriculum I chose for us has already picked out some excellent materials to help us interact with truth. This saves me a lot of time trying to find materials at the right level for them. I also regularly take some of my personal time to read and listen to wise apologists who have interacted with ideas outside of my experience.
What I watch for in teachers are people who begin with the Bible and then interact with the world’s ideas. There is no level playing field of ideas with Christianity, an equal of other worldviews. God Word is truth. It accurately explains reality. Does a teacher start with man’s reasoning and end up by allowing Jesus to be Lord since it is reasonable, or does he start from Jesus and work out to how people have twisted His truth?
Another thing I am constantly watching for is how to expose the hook inside of the enemy’s worms. The world has powerful lures pulling people into its vortex of half-truths and distractions. They have nothing attractive of their own but can only take God’s goodness and twist it around poisonous lies. If I can help my children recognize the sleaze behind the slick sales pitch of the world, they will have a much better chance of resisting its siren call.
Proverbs 23:31-32 – Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.
Ephesians 4:14-15 – That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.
Cheri Fields is a 2nd generation homeschooler involved in learning and teaching at home since 1982. She currently teaches her seven kids in Michigan and has found ways to include them in the online ministry God has called her to, particularly as cohosts for their family’s podcast. You can find her at https://creationscience4kids.com. She is a member of the International Association of Creation and a graduate of the Institute for Children’s Literature.