10
Aug
09

swimming lessons

(Going Public part 3)

One of the biggest obstacles Julie and I face as we continue to wade through the issue of our children’s education is trying to determine how much influence we allow the world to have on each child and when.  Of course when it comes to the world ‘out there’ it is really a matter of trust and timing; eventually they will have to swim.  We want our kids to be able to swim and navigate through the waves…that is, not to drown in the waters of the world around them.

On the one hand, it is easy when our eyes are fixated on the world to become overwhelmed and perhaps over-protective of our little ones to the point that home schooling is the only option.   (Note: we definitely see a place for homeschooling, but the question for us is whether that is for our family…not whether it is right or wrong.)

On the other hand, we fully trust that God is Sovereignly in control of our children’s future and that it would take more faith for us to send them out, and thus, for our family (at least for Rilyn….this is a year by year issue), public school is the answer.

Through time in the Word, prayer, and discussion with each other we are convinced that the answer is not black and white.  We know that we are called and given the responsibility to train our children (Prov. 22:6  Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.).  From this truth, we feel the weight of a responsibility to influence each child in a way that will draw them closer to their heavenly Father.

We also know that ultimately God is in control and has the Ultimate influence on everyone and everything (Romans 11:36, “From him, through him, and to him are all things, to Him be glory forever Amen!”)  From this, we are able to draw a peace and courage that God never calls us to do anything apart from him.

So what is our calling?  What is God telling Julie and I?  Something that helped us is the analogy below:

None of us who have children want them to drown.

But how can we prevent it?

One way is to keep them away from bodies of water deeper than two feet.  It works.  Kids won’t drown if they don’t get into deep water.

But we can also guard them from drowning by another method:  teaching them to swim.  Though it isn’t foolproof, it works rather well and provides more freedom.

In the same way, we should teach our kids to “swim” against the currents of the world.  Avoidance of the world is ineffective-children eventually go away to college or start their lives and encounter all the things we guarded them from.

They will be more ready to face worldly currents if we have taught them to swim. (Dennis McCallum, “The Postmodern Puzzle”, The Real Issue March 1998)

Public school is an excellent pool in which to train our young sons and daughters.  Yes, it’s deep and noisy and the water’s cold and sometimes the chlorine gets in your eyes.  Sometimes you get splashed by other swimmers.  But this is preparation for even bigger bodies of waters to come.  Someday they’ll have to swim in Lake Michigan.  (David & Kelly Pritchard, “Going Public”, pg. 27)

Obviously, none of us want our kids to drown… but even more so, we desire our kids to do more than stay afloat…we desire for them flourish, to live life to the fullest….to swim like Michael Phelps and win the race…(1 Cor 9:24).

We didn’t throw Rilyn into the pool as a baby…it wasn’t even until age 3 that she took her first lesson…Julie and I both know that one day she will dive head first into the the waters of this world…so we start today with the swimming lessons. For each parent, this will look different.  Have you ever been to a 3-5 year old class learning to swim?  It is often obvious which kids are ready to learn and which kids are still afraid of the water.  In the same way, each child will  learn to swim at a different age…but we mustn’t let their first lesson be the first time they go into the pool by themselves!

Rilyn’s swimming lessons              From May 2008

Going Public Part 1
Going Public Part 2

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2 Responses to “swimming lessons”


  1. 1 Carrie Rice
    August 10, 2009 at 1:08 am

    Great post! I’ve ordered this book, and I can’t wait to start reading it!


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