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November 20, 2008



Great insight from Joel Belz’s father…"If I fail to feed my children, the government will step in. If I don't house them, the government has programs to help. Of course, I don't intend to turn those duties over to the government. But I would much rather have the government feed and house my children than to have the government shape their minds."
No matter what educational tract once chooses, there are plenty of simple things parents can do to help shape the minds of their children. For what it’s worth, here are a few things we’ve discovered as parents (1) Spend 90% of your effort during the first three years of life on cognitive and emotional development. Many child development experts believe this is the best time for shaping a child’s future potential, at least compared to the equivalent amount of effort required later. Include lots of reading, play, interaction with others, and of course, love, and age appropriate discipline. (2) As they grow older introduce bible memory verses, prayer, more imaginative play, more discussion of values, and plenty of opportunities for social interaction and physical activity. (3) By the time they are 10 - 12 you can introduce higher-level critical thinking, development of a Christian worldview, and begin helping them discover their strengths. (4) Age 13-14 and older, not as easy, especially as they begin to shape their own minds, but if you’ve done your homework on 1 – 3, it’s very manageable and fun to watch them develop into the unique person(s) God has allowed them to become.


If I ran the world, I would completely privatize education. Since I'm not yet "His Excellency, Generalisimo Augustin," though, I guess the world will have to wait on that one--with bated breath I'm sure.

I do think it's worth noting that public school (though woefully inadequate in many ways) can provide a child with both a good skills education, and great insight into "how the world" thinks and operates. Assuming the right combination of planning and preparation precedes that introduction, it offers the near-adult an unparalleled opportunity to practice a "challenged fidelity" to his or her beliefs. It also sends a message I endorse: isolation is unacceptable. I'm reminded of Daniel's Babylonian re-education. He seemed to think there was value in learning how his pagan brothers and sisters viewed their world.

Sometimes the school of hard knocks is the best one.

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