“Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.”
G. K. Chesterton
The beginning of a new school years signifies getting back into a routine, having an overscheduled appointment book, and the constant juggling of not having enough time to fit in everything which needs to be done. The pace of life quickens during the autumn season, just as the days begin to grow shorter. We send our children off to school with high hopes that what they are being taught coincides with our values and Christian way of life, but down deep, we know that is not always the case. That is why it’s so important to begin the process of educating our children at home when they are just infants. We place those seeds of wisdom and knowledge in our daily interactions with our children, such as the Golden Rule, the Ten Commandments, and lessons from the Bible. Then we nurture and protect those seeds, so that when they are sent out into the “real world” they will have a solid foundation of faith to stand on when they begin to absorb the lessons which are being taught by the teachers and by the interactions with other children.
I love Chesterton’s quote because it shows the value of passing life’s lessons within a family context. As mothers, we are our children’s most important teachers because we spend those critical first five years with our children, modeling the Christian faith to them, teaching them how to treat others, instructing them about manners, helping them to see the beauty of God’s creation and how they fit into His plan, and teaching them that there is a right and a wrong way of doing things. These are the lessons which they will carry on into their adult lives, and subsequently, they will pass them on to their own children. Henry Brooks Adams said “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops”. The same holds true with us being our children’s first teacher. Our influence will affect many generations to come, and we will never know what kind of impact we have had at all. That is why it is so important that we approach each and every day with a prayer on our lips that we make this day a day in which the Lord directs all of our actions and words so that we can have a positive influence on our children, guiding them through their daily activities so that they can make choices based on their Christian upbringing as they grow and mature.
This year, my youngest enters her senior year in high school and my oldest is a junior in college. It’s an exciting time for my youngest as she makes decisions about her future. It’s a time which is also filled with a touch of melancholy as her childhood draws to a close and she faces adulthood. The transitions she is going through are exciting to watch, yet some anxiety is present as I watch her standing at the beginning of independence. My oldest is switching to a new college and switching majors, and thus she is facing some major transitions as well. I am certain she will excel in her new major, yet I know she must be feeling some anxiety as she starts out at a new college. She is moving into her own apartment, thus giving her a lot of independence where she will be making her own choices and decisions which will have life-long implications. My prayer for both of my daughters is that they stand firm in their faith, and that they remember the lessons I tried to instill in them over the years. My prayer is that what they have learned will keep them on the path towards goodness. They must now seek out not only book-knowledge, but the knowledge of what God’s will is for their lives. I pray that they are able to discern His will through prayer, and then embrace what His direction is for them.
My job as a mother is far from over as my daughters go through this transition. I must switch gears now, however, as they cross the bridge from childhood into adulthood. I am learning how to let go, when to intervene, and when to pray the hardest! I have learned that I must hand my children back over to God, and trust that He will keep them safe in His graces as they grow and mature. So, I am still learning lessons myself, even though I have been out of school for a very long time. I pray that I remain open to learning new things until the day I die. I pray that my girls will continue to come to me for counsel when they are facing a rough time or a tough decision. I pray that their future holds many, many wonderful experiences, and that they learn how to place their trust in God as He directs them through life’s lessons.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. Proverbs 1:7 NIV
©2008, Valerie Wolff