Last week the board invited new Trinitas parents to a discussion of the book Teach Them Diligently. Through the years this book has informed the school’s policy and practice about correction and discipline in the classroom. All parents are required to read the book sometime during their first year at the school alongside a book about classical education.
There is no magic in Teach Them Diligently; neither is there magic in any other parenting book. The beauty of Teach Them Diligently is that it points the reader back to the Bible and attempts to explain how to hold ourselves and our children lovingly accountable to the word of God Who saves us to be His people and walk in His ways. The Bible then, not Teach Them Diligently, is the source of the ultimate wisdom for parenting since it reveals who God is, who we are as His redeemed people, and how we can best love this God that saves us.
This is important to Trinitas because we are a Christian community made up of lots of children. Our desire is to live Christianly with one another, and we believe even children are capable of that when they are taught to live in a manner consistent with what the God of the Bible reveals in His word. For children to live Christianly with one another, of course, requires lots of teaching and training, which begins at home with parents and is then supported at church and school.
To know how to be good Christian parents, it is helpful for us to begin with the end in mind by asking the question, “What is my vision for my child?”
When I was asked that question about my oldest son during my initial interview at Trinitas fifteen years ago, I think I responded with, “Oh, I think he would make a good lawyer or something.” But Mr. Trotter wasn’t asking me what career I thought my son should go into; instead, he was asking me what kind of man I envisioned my four-year-old son becoming. I soon came up with a good answer to that question, an answer my church and the school and a whole lot of godly men helped me discover over time: I want my sons to become men after God’s own heart, loving and walking with the Lord, serving their neighbors and building the kingdom, spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ by speaking it and living it. That’s my vision for my children.
If that is your vision for your children, too, I want to warn you that it doesn’t happen accidentally. Our children are not our own. They belong to God, and we get to steward them for Him for a few, too short years. Matt Whitling, a respected classical school principal and conference speaker in our time puts it this way, “Raising kids is a timed event with eternal consequences.” R.L. Dabney, a nineteenth-century pastor said, “The education of children for God is the most important business done on earth… this is the end for which [parents are] kept alive by God—this is [their] task on earth.”
Thinking about parenting that way helps us see how important it is to bring the Scriptures to bear in the lives of our children right now.
In God’s word we find salvation, joy, and life. We learn the character of the God who loved us even in our sin and redeemed us for our good and His glory. The Scriptures reveal so completely who this God is and who we are supposed to be as His people that we cannot ignore them when it comes to parenting our children. Well-parented children, children taught and trained with the Scriptures, are a key ingredient for the success of any Christian community—especially Trinitas Christian School—and indeed, for the next generation of Christendom, so teach them diligently (Deut 6:4-9).