The Fear of Failure: Fears and Concerns Series (Part 4)

A fear that grips us all, at some time and in some way, is the fear of failure. This is especially the case with home education because it is a different approach to education than what is usually accepted.

Failure is always a possibility when starting any new venture. In fact, what is required to get past it is the decision to take a risk, and oftentimes that risk involves having to trust God rather than man.

The fear of failure may show up more than once in your home education journey. In fact, it is likely to show up at every stage of your children’s growth and learning process, especially at the secondary or high school level, but that is likely to diminish as you gain more experience and knowledge.

I realize that it is not a fair comparison, but having home educated my own children and now being involved in the home education of my grandchildren, not to mention having been part of the education of thousands of students in my life, I have come to the point of being fearless within the field of education.

I think I have experienced everything at least once and found solutions to nearly every issue causing fears and concerns in this arena. And, if I haven’t, I believe my collective experience has prepared me for what lies ahead.

I am telling you this because one of the best ways to deal with a particular fear is to connect with someone who has experienced the same. Someone who can comfort you and guide you to properly deal with it. Scripture tells us that we comfort others through the comfort we have received. This means we can only help others by having experienced what they are going through.

My experience has equipped me to tell you that although failure is always a real possibility, you can avoid failure by avoiding the things that can only lead to failure. I have discovered seven things that can eventually lead to a failure in home education.

1. A house that is not in order or has no order, is in danger of failing and if the house is in danger of failing, the home education program is usually not far behind.

When my wife informs me that a new family has joined our organization, the first question I ask is whether the husband is on board. When the husband and wife do not agree on home educating their children, it is not going anywhere. It is critical that mom and dad agree and work together to make home education successful.

In order for this to take place, it is important to have a proper understanding of the authority structure within a family. This is not to advance or condone dictatorial leadership, but the buck has to stop somewhere and anything with more than one head is a freak!

I believe that the father has the authority along with the associated responsibility for the leadership of the family and this is especially true when it comes to the education of the children. How this actually manifests itself is dependent on the characters of the father and mother and the individual dynamics of the home.

It is important here to not confuse the division of labour with the need for structure. If either the father or the mother are not fulfilling their respective roles or if either tries to play the role of the other, things do not usually go well. Most failures in home education are related to this problem.

2. Related to the first issue of improper order within the family is the question of the place of children within it. Children are born to parents, not the other way around. They are not mini-adults and are not mature enough to make the best decisions regarding what direction their lives should take. That is why God “invented” parents. Having children in control is a sure recipe for disaster, not only in the home education but in the home, period.

3. When parents have brought the school way of thinking home, they will often get frustrated with trying to fit a “square peg into a round hole,” so to speak.

Training and teaching children at home is entirely different from sending them to school, therefore, bringing school home usually doesn’t work. If this problem is not fixed, when thinking that the school way is the only way, parents will eventually send the children to school where they actually know how to “do” school.

4. We are social beings and usually do not function well by ourselves. We require fellowship with people of like mind to properly survive what may come our way. When a family, a mother or children do not have the support of others, the wheels of home education can come off pretty quickly.

5. Following the advice of people who see themselves as experts but who have limited knowledge and experience will ultimately lead you to frustration and failure. Although it is important to surround yourself with people sharing a similar journey, it is best to listen to those who will support and encourage you to home educate in keeping with the unique individual needs of your family and children rather than direct you to do what they have done.

6. Educational decisions based on anything other than the educational welfare of the child is a bad idea. It is not the movement, the program, the technique, the resources or the methods that matter. Losing the focus of home education as being in the child’s best interest is sure to end in failure.

7. By far the biggest obstacle to success, or if you will, the main reason for failing in a home education, is parents lacking the knowledge of, and confidence in, God’s way.

Not everybody would agree with this statement, but since we are coming from the biblical perspective, I can assure you that we are either leading children to the knowledge of the truth, or we are not. It should also be obvious that the two different directions are mutually exclusive. That is, you cannot reach God using man’s way, nor, for that matter can you usually please the world using God’s way.

In my opinion, failure in a home education is returning to the school as having the greater authority and knowhow in the raising, training and teaching of children.

I would be a fool to state that school should be avoided at all costs. However, one has to know that nearly every school either advances man as God or man’s idea of education as Godly. Therefore a return to school is, in my opinion, to have failed. Failing to trust in God and putting our confidence in man is sure to fail us in the end (Ps. 118:8).

Several years ago, while being interviewed regarding home education for a radio program, the interviewer asked me to summarize home education. Without hesitation, I said it was a matter of faith. I still believe that today.

We are likely to return to this fear of failure as we proceed with this topic on the fears and concerns of home education because, once you have overcome it, it is likely to come again.

Who Says… We Should Strive For A Perfect Family?

Part of the series Who says…
Written by Léo Gaumont, published on 2015-05-11.

Nothing will bless parents more than imperfect siblings who truly love one another.

Building on a foundation that God is, that He created the universe and that He ultimately is responsible for our children’s being, should provide ample substance upon which to build our faith. This lengthy series will identify the secular thinking that has eroded that faith.

Bible Reference: 1 John 4:20

Everybody has a favorite family, besides their own, especially when the children are younger. We tend to pattern our families after those who “appear” to have it all together and whose children model Christian virtues. At least we did. However, as our children grew older, cracks started to appear in our “perfect” family, especially once the children reached puberty and discovered that their parents were, well… less than perfect. Don’t get me wrong, our children were not failures, crazy or overtly rebellious, they were just being adolescents who were stretching their own wings in preparation for independent living and we were, as we now understand, trying to put a stop to it! Why? Because we were deceived by a religious spirit that advanced the lie that Christians were not only different but better than the world and that “bad things only happened to bad people”.

Even though we knew in our hearts that something was amiss with this thought, we fell for the gimmick and were devastated when our children failed to live up to the unreasonable expectations we had come to believe should be required of those professing Christianity. What made matters worse was that there was no lack of self-righteous individuals who really believed their children were “phenomenal” and were quick to condemn those who displayed a “lower level of spirituality”! Distraught, we approached those we had esteemed as model families, only to discover that in reality, we were the ones who had elevated them to being not only models, but perfect. But, they all had issues! Every family had issues because every person had issues. Once we reconsidered the impossibility of creating perfect families from imperfect people, we were freed from having to pretend that things were “phenomenal” because they weren’t. My imperfect family could now enjoy each other’s company, in spite of the imperfections, rather than arrogantly professing the impossible. We learned that God’s love cannot be earned; that love was a decision rather than a feeling; and that there was no better place to practice love than within the close proximity of the imperfect members of our family. Our decision to home educate really brought the imperfections of our family to light. Once it was established that we would love each other no matter what, we were presented with plenty of opportunities to test that resolve. Honesty, admitting error, forgiveness, looking out for each other’s welfare while striving to come to knowledge of the truth, built us a family of imperfection basking in the perfect love of our Lord. Christ died to set us free, not to put on us a yoke of bondage.

Today, our children are all grown up and have imperfect families of their own. I know it is hard for grandparents to admit that those wonderful grand-kids are imperfect, but we continue to emphasize that fact. Our family continues to be tried, tested, hurt, betrayed, discouraged, disappointed, attacked, smashed and bewildered, but we continue to love and support one another in ways that the imperfect world should see as the greatest gift anyone can give another. This unconditional and undeserved love that we freely receive from our perfect God is all we need and it is all that we can truly pass on. We remain each others’ best friends in spite of all the harm the world has dealt to us. Our “phenomenal” children are indeed phenomenal in that they sincerely love one another and are there for each other during every trial and temptation. From a Christian parent’s perspective we have the best things available on this side of heaven. Not perfect, but blessed, as it is the free gift from God.

Who says we should strive to be a perfect family? Arrogant, self-righteous individuals who turn people off from receiving the unconditional love of God with their impossible, religious expectations for a Christian life. Let Him “perfect” your family in his love!

Standard Kids and Perfect Families

Part of the series Feedback
Written by Léo Gaumont, published on 2014-01-27.

A question was asked as to what was meant by our never having found the standard child or perfect family.

We do not claim to have all the right answers but based on our present understanding of the scriptures, we will do our best to bring a little clarity to your queries.

Bible Reference: Romans 3:10-12

Sometimes a question is asked that may cause us to, in turn, question the question! Confused? All questions are legitimate and they all need to be answered. Some questions have answers that are so obvious, you may actually think the person asking the question is lacking in some way. We all make assumptions about others that are simply not true. As an example, a believer diligently studying the scripture, will often assume that all professing believers do the same. We have all stated that everybody knows that…, or started a conversation three levels above the person we are talking to simply because we assumed they had spent as much time in thought about the topic as we have. The first rule of assumption is… never assume anything! So, let us deal with the topic at hand.

First, the perfect family. We all desire the perfect family, may even think we know of one or two, or aspire to create one of our own. Strange, considering that every family has problems of some sort. Scripture makes it clear and we are all well acquainted with the fact that there is no such thing as a perfect person. Therefore, since every family is composed of imperfect people, there is no such thing as perfect family. So, if you are bothered by the fact that your family is less than perfect, problem plagued or even dysfunctional, congratulations and welcome to the real world where everyone does everything possible to cover up the imperfections of their family. By the way, even though home education is the best way to properly train and disciple children, there are no claims made anywhere that it will result in perfect families. A bit less dysfunctional, perhaps, but never perfect. Enough said.

The standard child is a creation of secular humanists that desire a global conformity for people. They see children, not as a creation by God but as a cosmic collision of protoplasm. These people hold a schizophrenic view on the value and purpose of children and generally treat them as computers in need of programming. A standard is actually something applied to a product. One would expect all cars of the same make, model and year to be the same! When applied to programming (as in a computer) the product (the children) should all be the same. God does not delight in conformity but in diversity as manifested by His creation. When considering that God has created multiple billions of people, each one unique in the universe, one can indeed marvel at God’s creative genius, His love of diversity… and the complete impossibility of there being a standard child.

Hope this answers your question.