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"Don't Drop That Baton!"

"Don't Drop That Baton!"

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“Home educators have an edge.”
“Home educators have an edge.”

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Published by: The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine on Apr 09, 2013
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07/06/2013

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“Don’t Drop That Baton!”
 
Denise Mira
 
 “They’re leaving!” 
 
It’s hard to miss this ugly, dramatic pronouncement in glossy,
church-
related periodicals everywhere, but George Barna’s stats proclaiming that an
average 70% of teens will leave the church after high school graduation
1
quite
honestly don’t scare me.
 
I birthed five strong-willed, independent-thinking young men, beginning with myfirstborn in 1984. After over a quarter-century of investing my life in their spiritualdevelopment, while also home educating them and serving local, national, andinternational churches as a full-
time pastor’s wife and trans
-
local leader, I’ve learned
a whole lot about transferring the baton to the next generation.Home educators have an edge. We have the benefit of access to our children 24/7,to lead by example and to influence powerfully, primarily because we have
theluxuries of time
 
and togetherness
. Yes, as a homeschooling mom, my thoughts oftenhave been occupied with pencils, papers, co-ops and curriculum, but
my overridingmission and passion
has always been more about imparting my
beliefs
to my fivesons than simply executing my academic agenda.
The average Christian parent doesn’t get to see his school
-aged child for seven toten hours of each weekday, because during those hours children are on the way toschool,
in
school
 ,
or on the way home from school. That same child spends about asmuch time in his bed at night, sleeping. The hours left for meaningful parent-childinteraction are not only few, but they also are chock-full of stressed carpools,debriefing, dinner prep, chores, homework, and assorted extracurricular activities.The fact is, formal schooling holds families hostage to a system that dominates theirdays, nights, and weekends. Within that system, only crumbs of time are left fordiscipleship.
 
Worse yet, while the vice of academia grips these vulnerable kids in its jaws, theyare likely to be exposed to all manner of negative influences during their countless
hours on campus. In public schools it’s no secret that their course of study will be
permeated with secular humanistic philosophy, while at the same time they could bedodging bullets, bullies,
2
blatant sexual perversity,
3
peer pressure, and ruthless
cliques, to name a few of the dangers they could encounter daily. And let’s be
honest, private schools
won’t guarantee a child exemption from such hazards.
 
On weekends if there’s time after soccer, hockey, dance, and football, this same
parent will drop his children off to attend church programs designed to save themfrom the deplorable indoctrination experienced while engaged in their educational
institution. Kinda crazy, wouldn’t you say?
 
One local church in our metro area recently upgraded its children’s ministry facilities,
at a cost of $400,000, with elaborate décor, Wii games, basketball, air hockey, andother age-appropriate amusements.
4
These folks are serious about impacting theyouth in their city, but in my decades of experience, I have learned that providingmyriad special youth nights and extravagant parades of pleasure for teens inoutreach e
ndeavors doesn’t keep the teen sheep in the fold. Institutions will not save
 
 
our kids. It’s up to us parents to create our own revolution in our homes for our sons
and daughters.
5
 
I said “home educators have an edge,” but I didn’t say “we have it in the bag.” Manyenthusiastic homeschool parents are smugly touting their youngsters the “signs andwonders following them,” but a word of caution: babes
under your wing
 
aren’t yetadults who’ve decided to follow Jesus.I’ve met so many disappointed parents and heard so much debate related to thistopic. I don’t have all the answers, but I’ve found what I think is
the
non-negotiablein this all-important matter of getting
and keeping
our kids in the race.
It begins with us.
The good news is that we’re the models! Wow! Such power in ourvery own hands to impact the next generation. The bad news is that we’re . . . the . .
.
models.
Sigh. Such huge responsibility before God to make right choices for thesake of our children.
 
A young boy was sitting, crying, in the back seat of the family car on the drive home
from church one morning. His parents, quite alarmed, questioned him: “What’swrong, Johnny?! Something happen in Sunday School?” Johnny blubbered, “Well, [sniff, sn
iff] my teacher said [whimper] we oughta beraised in a Christian home, but [bahhhah] . . .
I wanna live with you guys!” 
 
We’re allhuman and it’s easy to relate to this humorous tale, but Dad, Mom, despite yourfallibility, can you honestly echo Paul’s ple
a:
Follow my example, as I follow the
example of Christ” 
(1 Corinthians 11:1, NIV)
 
?
 
It’s my conviction that we pass on to our children far more than our physical DNA.
Our sons and daughters will reflect what we
are.
We establish the standard and cast
the mold, and that’s serious stuff. We can preach it down, but if we aren’t living it,kids know it. You can’t get anything past them.
6
 
So . . .
what are
 
you? 
 
I’m not asking if you’re a church member, a homeschool
leade
r, how much money you give, or what good works you’re involved in. What we
are
and what we
do
can be two very different things.Are we simply religious followers in systems, attending to those duties prescribed byour church denominations and traditions of men, or are we decidedly surrendereddisciples of Christ, recognizing that
 
“. . . he died for all, that those who live should nolonger live for themselves but for him who died for them . . .” 
(
2 Corinthians 5:15,NIV)
?
 
As Christian homeschooling parents, we are far more than educators equipping ourstudents for a future vocation; we are the
 primary ministers
of 
the Gospel of JesusChrist 
to our impressionable youngsters. Sobering.
 
If we believe Jesus’ statement that
“a student is not above his teacher,
but everyone
who is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40, NIV)
, our mission is
paramount. We can’t deny that
 
our toughest job is to first lead ourselves strongly,
baton firmly in hand. Let’s be done with lesser things and “. . .
run in such a way as
to get the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24)
!
 

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