BCS “Top Ten” Tips for Parents
How can we as parents lead our children to fruitful, faith-filled lives? Even as our students are being taught in classical, Christian methods and materials in school, we can support and enhance that learning by what we do at home.
Here is a top ten list to help guide you in some best practices to share in the learning and faith building at home.
1. Worship God. Prioritize worship, membership, and service in a local body. All studies show that this is a major factor in young people persevering in their faith. Your family is the theological community where you are teaching them something about God all of the time.
2. Read the Bible. Read it as a family; read it privately and model for them. (Ps. 119). Consider appointing a time for daily reading so that it becomes a habit. Keep it short and only increase with kids’ maturity. Leave them wanting more.
3. Sing songs/hymns/psalms to God. It’s a commandment. (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16) It's especially important for our children to see the men of the family leading in song.
4. Read a book. Read a single book each year that your kids are reading and discuss it with your kids. Also, develop a reading list of your own and model for your children that which you’re telling them is a good idea. Read to them. Read the “classics” aloud.
5. Be joyfully curious. Wonder aloud. Do research together. Especially outside. Get your kids outside. And do it all joyfully. Realize that attempting to cultivate curiosity or wonder without joy is surely doomed to fail.
6. Teach and model hard work and perseverance. Avoid shortcuts. Don’t merely tell them to work hard, but model it. If BCS is doing her job, we will challenge your kids. Repeatedly. If not, you’re not getting your money’s worth. Expect to hear, “I can’t do this!” and respond with a smile and, “Sure you can! How can I help?”
7. Create a sense of “sowing and reaping.” God has hardwired the world in such a way that ideas and actions have consequences. This isn’t opposed to grace. The Apostle of Grace also exhorted the Thessalonians, “If a man doesn’t work, he should not eat.” And, “as a man sows, so shall he reap.” We as parents must have the courage to teach our kids the hard lessons of natural consequences. Teach them to sow well . . . and expect a good harvest.
8. Reframe the “phone” discussion into one of wealth and cultural dominion. Your children will see “phones” as (largely) conduits for entertainment and communication (peer influence). Reframe the conversation to show them the ways to use it as a tool for productivity or learning.
9. Don’t talk about grades (much). Pro-tip: if you’re going to discuss grades, do it offline from the dinner table and at a time when your kids can hear what you’re saying. Focus on their effort and more importantly what they are learning. A "C" with much learning and effort is better than an "A" with no effort.
10. Pray with your kids and for them. Without question, the most neglected spiritual tool in our kids’ lives. Lecture/accuse less, pray more. Minimally, it will put you in a different frame of mind. You will nurture their own relationship with the Lord as they commune with Him in prayer and see how He answers them.
Bonus: When you talk with your children, target their hearts, which according to Scripture, is the well-spring of life and the source of all their thinking and feeling. Behavior is merely an indicator of a heart-inclination. Like a fever or sickness. True education forms and directs the affections, which are clearly a matter of the heart. The entire Western tradition affirms this until recently . . . when things changed radically for the worse.