Warning: This is a bit of a rant
As my children have gotten older I've become very aware of how little time we have left to influence anything in their life, which in turn has made me be extemely thankful that we started homeschooling and are able to spend more time with our children, being role models and guiding them in their walk as Christians into adulthood. As any Christian parent does I worry that they will choose not to walk in Christ's footsteps, fall away and become enamoured with the worldly way of living.
Going back a little while, I remember when I was a teenager and starting to try and think for myself I believe I was very blessed to have firm roots in our church and youth group so that I had other Christian young people to model myself after and to support me when I was confused and troubled.
When we moved back to Victoria our choice of Church to attend was influenced greatly by their youth program as we wanted our children to have Christian friends to influence them as most of their friends at that time were not. Also we wanted to have other positive role models in place for when our children inevitably go through the stage of thinking they know better than their parents and start listening to other people more. We also started to attend a 'Connect Group', known as Homefellowship group when I was growing up. This particular group was held on a Friday night while the older kids were at their youth group and so we'd drop them off and take the younger children with us. These groups are important to bond with other like-minded Christian's, they become friends and even family and are a great support but also allow you to be a support to them. For reasons that are unimportant we needed to find a new Connect Group to attend and the way our church do this is rather than have you jump around from group to group trying to find the right one they find one for you.
But finding the right group for us is not easy, apparently. It seems the trend is for husbands and wives to attend separately so the man goes one week and the woman the next and whoever does not go stays home with the kids. Tim and I don't want to do this. We want to attend as a family, letting our children see how we interact with other Christian adults, allowing them to interact with other Christian children and maybe learn something about what it is to be a Christian from others. But people hear that we have eight children and just assume that it's too hard. What emphasized this for me was how rudely we were spoken to after church, by a prospective connect group leader telling us that it was just too hard and he and his wife had family issues and that it was unfair to his wife and again that it was just too hard.
This attitude is rife throughout the church and I believe that it is wrong. It is Satan's influence and he is laughing his head off at how many young people are lost because of this. We say that children are a blessing but our way of living shows that it is just lip service. I've said tongue in cheek that having a larger family with many children is my silent protest at our attitude toward protest but I guess I'm getting more and more serious about it.
Think about this, though. The average family sends their kids to school. They're up at 7am and are out the door around 8am, no later than 8:30am. You can't class that hour to hour and a half as a time of positively influencing your children in their walk with Christ and it's normally spent rushing around, getting ready for school and getting ready for work. Then the kids spend from 8:30am to 3:30pm or 4pm at school learning secular curriculum, playing with other children from various backgrounds. That's around 7 hours of influence by peers and other sources. Then in the afternoon they've got homework and playing until dinner. You might have some time around dinner, if you don't sit in front of the tv, to have some constructive conversations and role modelling and then it's bath and bed all ready for the same routine the next day. And that's not counting the numerous families who have both parents working and so the children are in before and after school care as well. When they're getting 7 hours of input from other sources and only a couple of hours from you a day it's not hard to see why so many children are choosing a worldly life. I'm not saying homeschooling is for every family but when you understand how little input you really are having on your children why wouldn't you want them to spend as much time with you as possible. And that is why we want our children to come with us to our connect group.
I want to point out that I think our church is fantastic and really cares for families, adults and children, and that this rant is in no way aimed at them in particular but churches and Christians in general and the insidious attitudes that satan has sneaked into the church.
For those who might be interested there is a great book by Paul O'Rourke called Why Satan Hates Our Kids. I'm about 1/2 way through it and it has really touched my heart.