Retooling: Teaching Our Children, Whose Responsibility?

The 21st Century Retooling of the Church – Part XIX


Training a child in the way he should go… is a written Biblical truth.  What does a mother do when “training a child”?  A mother has to teach her new born how to latch onto a mother’s breast when first breastfeeding to receive nourishment; how to then wean he child off of that method and onto solid food, eventually using a spoon; how to be potty trained to end the never ending task of diaper changing; how to be obedient to parental instruction; how to dress oneself and do personal hygiene; how to appreciate learning by being read to, preparing the child for its up coming intellectual instruction through our school system unless she chooses to home school herself.  Basically, a mother is instructing her child through their childhood how to eventually become independent, no longer needing one’s mother because of her instruction and training.   Mothering teaches one how to experience one’s every day life and one’s faith eventually on their own.

In the 21st Century we have willingly handed over this coveted job of “training our children” over to institutions:  Day Care facilities for our newborns and toddlers and then Public School Systems to teach them intellectually as well as their physical and moral characters, so that we can continue advocating our careers and what we think is “good lifestyles” of pleasure.  We complain when public schools are teaching something contrary to our moral code, yet we reneged on our responsibility to teach those moral codes at home because we, as parents, are to busy investing in our careers rather than our children.  Children are always the greatest investment to a family and to a nation.

When my children were born, I made sure that they were placed upon their mother’s and father’s chest during the first hours of their lives so they could learn to “know” their mother’s and father’s heartbeat, so they could distinguish it from any other’s.  Giving that privilege up to an institution to train my children would rob them of the Christian principle of learning to recognize “the heartbeat of the Father”, their heavenly Father.  I want my children to “experience” the “heartbeat of the Father”, their spiritual Father, to be their moral compass through life.  Jesus, while on earth, always tried to show the world about “His Father”.  His relationship to his Father became his moral compass.  Even as a 12/13 year old in the Temple he was shocked when his parents were upset about his not returning with them.  He said, “Do you not know that I am doing my Father’s business?”  I believed that Mary & Joseph had trained their son to “know” the “heartbeat of his Spiritual Father” all through his childhood and now he was being “released” in that training for “the work of the service”.   

Teaching, in the five fold sense that I am advocating, trains a child to “experience” the “heartbeat of his spiritual Father” rather than training a child intellectually as currently practiced by the Western Church.  A five fold teacher’s job is to “walk through this training” with the child (of God) teaching him how to “experience” God eventually “on his own” by teaching him how to trust the Holy Spirit of God.  Along side of the teacher in this five fold process is a pastor/shepherd who nurtures, cares, and helps develop these spiritual principles in the child (of God).  It is almost as if the teacher and shepherd overlap in their instruction in the child’s development.  The prophet helps in the training of knowing “the heartbeat”, the still small voice of the Holy Spirit, and how to be disciplined to its instruction, while the apostle over sees the wholeness of the child’s instruction, spiritual development, and welfare.  This is the core of the “equipping of the saints” in their development to be more Christ like in order to eventually release them “to do the work of the service”.

“Training a child in the way he should go”, or the way he should “experience” Jesus, the walking out of his faith in his daily life, that motherly nurturing and developing, is a far different strategy than intellectually being trained “to know how to do it”, but not necessarily accountable for “doing it” by an institution!

We, the believers in Jesus Christ, need to wean ourselves from the need to “institutionalize” so that we do not relay on an institution to raise our children rather than training them personally.  The church is all about experiencing relationship.  The five fold is all about experiencing relationships. We, as Christian parents, need to learn to “train up our children” in order to “release them for the work of the service”, rather than releasing our children to institutions to intellectually teach them in the dogma, creeds, or principles those institutions advocate.