As a homeschooling family, discipleship of our children is always before us. Whether we strive to achieve the perfect discipleship moment every morning through the plethora of resources available or we seek the perfect evening Bible time when Dad can be present, have you ever felt that discipling your children has become a series of boxes that simply need to be “checked off” on your daily to-do list?
Yes, me too! To be honest, there was a point in our life when that is exactly what happened. We were attending a small church that actually created a weekly, family discipleship plan—complete with check off boxes! While there is nothing errantly wrong about this plan, in fact, I applaud the vision of the church leaders; I found that discipleship simply became another daily chore-in the same category as making our beds and cleaning our rooms.
I honestly do not think God intended discipleship to be this way. In her delightful book, Season’s of A Mother’s Heart, (a must read if you haven’t!) Sally Clarkson writes, “God never intended discipleship of children to be difficult or a matter for the experts. I think He meant it to be as simple as a loving personal relationship, guided and infused with spiritual intent, fleshed through a living example.” I believe this is the intent of Deuteronomy 6:5-7,
“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (NIV)
Discipleship books and guides may offer valuable support to your family; yet they also have the propensity to become mundane. As homeschool moms, we need to be on guard. Protecting our children and ourselves from this tendency is not as difficult as it may seem. As moms in the home, we are blessed to be able to see beyond the words our children speak and ‘hear’ their true intents and desires. Developing a close relationship with our children, loving them unconditionally, and living out a God-filled life before them is discipleship at it’s finest. Our children need to see us live a life that is God-centered. They need to experience first hand what true grace looks like. As parents, we should extend grace to them, but we also need to give them the opportunity to extend grace and mercy to us. As a parent, have you ever had to ask your child/children to forgive you? As humbling as it is to seek our children’s forgiveness when we sin against them in word or in deed, teaches our children the peace that comes from above as we forgiveness and grace to others.
Once again, I believe Sally Clarkson says it best in her book, Seasons of A Mother’s Heart. These words had a tremendous impact on me when I first read her book years ago and I pray they are a blessing to you as well.
“If I accomplish nothing else in filling in the blanks on the Biblical outline of discipleship, though, let it be that these three qualities stand out in bold letters-that my children knew my heart for them from my personal relationship with them, that they knew my heart for truth from the spiritual intent that I had for each of them and that they knew my heart for God from the living example I lived before them.”