Some kids skipped for joy, casually swinging their lunch boxes in the summer air. I ran for a helmet and shovel, hunkering down to fight against the coming onslaught of the school year. As a kid, I was really never in the contention for student of the year. I deemed summer reading lists to be more of a summer suggestion list; I had to repeat second grade; and, I cheated my way through sixth grade math, earning summer school and a two game suspensions from middle school basketball. When it came to school, I was trouble with a capital T.
And as kids snap on their backpacks for this school year, it can be tempting to hope that school will make our difficult kids better people. After all, even the ancient Greek philosopher, Plato, believed that education would make the world a nicer place.
Though I am very thankful for teachers installed at school and for those who teaching at home, the Bible does not say education is the solution. School is not even part of the biblical solution to our kids’ issues. Just ask my parents; I kind of disproved the whole power of education every fall spring, and summer.
The Real School Problem
Ultimately kids that are disrespectful, liars, or just plain hard to be around are sinners. Their problem is that their inability to think. And God is not just talking about the ability to realize two plus two equals four. God means spiritually, kids have darkened minds (Eph. 4:18). They cannot understand what good really is or even want to be obedient. Their hearts are hardened against truth. Education in manners, science, or social studies will not make our kids better people even if they have the best teacher in the world.
The Real Hope
What changes a kid’s heart is the Word of God. When God opens little eyes to the truth of the gospel, they become kind, honest, and pleasant to have at home. As Christian parents, we should put our hope in the truth of Jesus (Eph. 4:20-21). Though having unbelieving kids is a great and constant trial, Jesus does not disappoint. He saves. More importantly, he cares for us in our weakness. As Paul reminds us, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).
My grade school and middle school career was more stained than my baseball pants. From August to June, I was vocally critical of school and my mom. As a consequence, I spent many an afternoon at the kitchen table doing extra homework or sitting on my bottom bunk in a timeout. But after fourteen years of rebellion and several low test scores, God radically changed my heart.
One Sunday night while skipping church to play NCAA football on the PC, I repented of my sin and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. Since that night, I have had my eyes open. I started to be obedient, to get along with my siblings, and to love the church. I even took off my anti-school helmet and became one of those backpack toting kids who loved school. As a high school freshman, I got that school gave me the tools to better understand my God and his world.
While I cannot promise that God will redeem any child, I hope my story is encouraging. If God can redeem my heart, he most certainly can save your kid. If you have a sinful kid roaming around your house today, keep preaching and praying. And if you don’t regularly teach your kids from the Bible or pray together, why not start now? The power of God should inspire every parent with hope (Eph. 3:20). As your struggles continue remember, “Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Parents, you will survive!