The other day, I had an interesting conversation with another homeschooling mom. We were discussing career paths and college admissions. We shared our reservations about pursuing some less-guaranteed areas of study. She has one child and I have five. One of mine is already in college.
“Well, at least you have five chances, I only have one.”
Did you ever wish you hadn’t intercepted a conversation because you missed where it was going? My interception was, “Chances?, it’s not like I have an option to allow three or four of my chances to be near-misses.” I only wish I had asked her to further explain what she was thinking……it has been gnawing at me ever since.
3 John 2-4 says, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”
When we read the well-known passage in Psalm 127:3-5, there are a couple very familiar verses that are often quoted with regards to children:
“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them…..”
Clearly, we draw from this passage that children are given as a blessing, a reward, in fact. With the word, “heritage”, we understand that the blessing will pass on to further generations and connect the parents’ lives to the further successes our children enjoy.
Many look not only to the accomplishments of Charles and John Wesley, but to their amazing mother, Susanna, who spent separate hours with each of her many children, imparting the Word of Truth and intensive teaching. She had a great “heritage”, and her arrows were well-directed.
I think my friend’s funny “chances” concept may reveal that we may somehow think we are given each child to prove our homeschooling “muscle”. Many of us may be tempted to benchmark that we are going to hit the “target”. However, the challenge with homeschooling is that there are years when we are hidden in the butterfly’s chrysalis, the quiet, hidden place where the most important work is happening, the time when no one can judge whether the butterfly will emerge with the anticipated form or not.
The “arrows” verse tempts us to consider whether some arrows hit the target, and others disappoint. Surely, our Lord has no intention for us to live in the fear of misdirected arrows. He intends diversity in their destinations, for the sake of His immense purpose. There is not only one red target in heavenly warfare; but there IS one common design for a spiritual arrow.
We desire for our children to have doors of opportunity opened to them by way of their education. If, as may be the case with some, their souls don’t prosper to the degree we hope, we would want them to have the opportunity to prosper as adults until His kindness shepherds them to a place of personal discipleship.
A good honest question for parents today is: Which things cause “no greater joy” in our hearts? Academic achievement? Shielding them from difficulty? Prosperity? Health and safety? Spiritual well-being?
When the day comes for us to pull back on our “arrows” and release them, have we been careful to assure that the truth is in them? As the passage in 3 John says, we, as parents, pray for our children to “prosper in all things and be in good health AS their souls prosper”. Our arrows need to be crafted with truth. Let us take heart and remember that there is NO GREATER JOY for us than that our children “walk in truth”.