Back in May at the Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Conference I had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with the Master Books crew and some of the authors they publish (Master Books is an imprint of New Leaf Publishing). Israel Wayne is one of those authors. He gave me a copy of his book Full-Time Parenting: A Guide to Family-Based Discipleship to review. By the way, this is not a paid review. I get to keep the book, but opinions are my own, and I am using my affiliate links.
I read Full-time Parenting over the course of spring and summer and found a lot of, what I consider, good information in it. I also found some things I didn’t agree with. I highlight some of my thoughts below.
Some of the topics this 158 page book with 20 chapters covers include
- How I taught my children to sit still and be quiet
- The seven year teaching method
- The father’s role
- The perfect family syndrome
- Keeping your marriage strong
- Living on one income (by Israel’s wife, Brook)
- Considerations before you start a family business
- Christian schools vs. homeschooling
- Comfort & advice for single parents (by Israel’s mother, Skeet Savage)
- Why some children leave the faith
- Passing the baton
In chapter three, The Seven-Year Teaching Method, Israel referenced Deuteronomy 31:10-13 where it says “And Moses commanded them, saying, ‘At the end of every seven years,…thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and the stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear; and learn to fear the Lord your God…” (emphasis mine).
He related some stories from his own life that resonated well with the application of that passage and I agree that there is wisdom in this seven-year teaching method. As one father, Israel points out in the book, shared that though he read the bible regularly to his children not all of his children were familiar with the same parts of the Bible. This man had mentioned his seven year old daughter was not familiar with a passage. I think we can all agree that our children can’t remember everything we thought we taught them when they were four, five or six while I may remember very well those occasions.
Israel has some strong views on the father’s role, homeschooling and the government. I don’t agree with all of his views, but I also have little doubt that he has spent much more time than I thinking through and reading up on those topics. Regardless, I don’t believe that God has necessarily called every Christian parent to homeschool their children or put them into a Christian school. I do believe it’s likely that God’s plan for some Christians is to have their kids involved in the public school (because He is God, He orders our steps) and I don’t see the mandate in scripture (see chapter 15: A Christian Education Manifesto); and, while I do not want my kids in public school (or private Christian school), I still believe taxes are necessary to support our local public schools and I don’t have a problem with that. I’m sure we’d have a lot more problems in society if kids could not go to school. Does any of this make public schools or other kinds of schools right? Does it mean I agree with everything being taught there? Not necessarily. It is what it is.
I know this is probably one big hairy, gray-area-kind of subject, that leaves lots to be considered, but that’s where I stand at the moment. Jesus did tell us to give to Caesar (a representative of the government) that which is Caesar’s (taxes). Jesus can certainly provide for his own in the midst of a crooked government. We have to trust him (and God’s word)!
With all that said, for sure, sending your kids off to any school to be taught things you are not in control of can be/ is dangerous. How do you know what they are being taught? As the parent, you are responsible for this, I believe. Maybe public schools weren’t so dangerous once upon a time. You be the judge and let God lead your steps according to his word. I just know good, godly people (pastors now) who once taught for years in the public school system. It was their mission field. But that is a whole other topic. Let’s get back to this book: Full-time Parenting.
Israel is from a big family, his mom was a single parent for some time, and he was a hyperactive child as he mentions in chapter 6. I like what he said here…”As a hyperactive child, I can honestly say that I never ‘suffered’ with hyperactivity. In fact, I rather enjoyed it! It was the people around me who suffered.” I think this chapter will give parents who are struggling with hyperactive children a good laugh and some real hope and direction.
Just a few more thoughts. I like what he said about teaching our kids what is “normal” (chapter 5). because, let’s face it, that is a loaded topic and I think we tend to discern “normal” from the world’s perspective, not from God’s perspective.
I like that Skeet and Brook both share their thoughts in this book too. FYI, right this minute Brook and Israel have another book going through the publishing process. I understand it may be released before March 2016, Overcoming Angry and Stressed-out Parenting: Pitchin’ a Fit. You can sign up on Israel’s mailing list to be kept in the loop about it here.
Well, I really feel like there is more good to share from this book, but the hour is late. I would recommend this book for anyone who is looking for direction and encouragement into godly parenting. And, it’s okay to not agree with the convictions of every Christian brother or sister. There is a lot we can learn from each other if we ourselves have a humble, teachable spirit. That’s how I want to be. How about you?