Pre-Weekend Post

There is much to process here by all the great input you have given. There will be more questions to come after we synthesize the current answers a little more, but in the meantime, is there anything you wish could be discussed about this topic and in this forum? Please post your questions here and we’ll include them in the next round.

I’m viewing those of you who are contributing as a “focus-group” of sorts, and your thoughts have been very valuable to us. We hope you will continue to stick with us over the coming days.

The week 2 drawing is coming up tomorrow afternoon, so please leave your thoughts on the any of the previous questions you haven’t already.

Thanks!

4 Comments

Filed under How Kids Think

4 responses to “Pre-Weekend Post

  1. Before I ask my questions, I want to express how excited I am to see parents thoughtfully, prayerfully and Scripturally engaging these issues together. I anticipate being a regular reader.

    Here are the questions that your posts have prompted?
    1. Is it possible to have a Christian worldview and not be a Christian?
    2. How do we escape the error of teaching a worldview rather than seeking new birth?
    3. How do we make clear to our children that while a biblical worldview is indispensable, being saved by God is not conditioned upon it?
    4. How do we preserve kids who grow up in Christian families from the Romans 2 syndrome (from which I suffer) of considering ourselves wise [and judging those we deem fools] because we have in the Scriptures the embodiment of truth and knowledge?
    5. How do we help our children to understand that the good news is not just the entry point to new life, but IS the substance of life to those who have been born again?

    I have many more questions, but will stop there for now.

  2. Rose Bexar

    This question kind of repeats some of the questions you’ve already raised, but I think it’s a different enough formulation that I’ll ask it anyway.

    In my class on John Milton, we’ve been talking about Milton’s notion of “trial by what is contrary”–the idea that, as fallen individuals, we need the spiritual and intellectual strengthening that comes from engaging both different opinions and outright evil. Thinking about that idea in the context of this discussion, I’m reminded of a common complaint among college composition instructors: too many freshmen haven’t been taught how to think for themselves by considering all sides of an issue. This problem becomes especially apparent when they have to write argumentative/persuasive essays that involve acknowledgement of and response to counter-arguments. Especially on controversial topics, students will often simply parrot what their parents believe or what they’ve heard in the media, go way over the top rhetorically, rely on emotion rather than reason, and not give the other side a fair shake. I’ve even heard stories of students not wanting to engage the other side because they don’t want to have to change their thesis. We teachers end up feeling like the poor schmuck in the Monty Python “Argument Clinic” sketch who wants a good argument and can’t get anything but abuse or contradiction. (I actually had my students watch that during our argument unit; they seemed to get the point.)
    IMO, kids really need to learn how to handle trial by what is contrary well before they get to college. But–and I’ll include myself here as a potential future parent–how do we go about equipping kids during their first eighteen years for the kinds of attacks they’ll face in the “real” world without overprotecting on the one hand and overwhelming on the other? How do we maintain the right balance between what is taught and what is caught? And do we need to use different approaches when dealing with a strong-willed child as opposed to a compliant child?

  3. Rose should be encouraged that they understood the Monty Python sketch. That’s a step in the right direction! I think her concern is a common one among college professors, especially (unfortunately) at Christian colleges.
    Here are a few thoughts from my experience with my own kids and from working with college students.

    First, kids can sense fear in adults from a mile away. So you have to pit all your fears against the gospel and see that Jesus is bigger than your fears. Like in the hymn–“the hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight.” Paul talks in Phillipians 1 about not being afraid of anything in your opponents. So don’t “freak out” when you realize your child has encountered something that opposes the gospel. Stay calm. Don’t fear your friends, your enemies, your parents, your future, etc. OK, I feel like singing “My God is so Big”. I’ll leave it at that. Jesus is bigger than what I am scared of.

    Second, use the big ideas of the Bible in little places. I can’t keep alot of counseling techniques in my head, but I can keep track of the biggies of Creation, Fall, Redemption. Those cover many of the kids’ questions. There are probably a variety of explanations for Rose’s students not understanding the notion of “trial by what is contrary”. One might be that they have never learned what the contrary is, b/c they don’t really know the gospel (she didn’t say anything about the students’ backgrounds). They don’t know what THEY believe, so they don’t know what OPPOSES what they believe. So, read Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians. What is Paul talking about? Who are those who oppose him? What are the false teachers teaching? What is it that he is so passionate about?

    Also, I try to teach my own kids and youth/college kids in my church to try to find common ground with whoever they perceive to be their opponents. They can always find common ground b/c everybody is made in God’s image and retains part of that image, even in their broken, fallen state. Nick explained this well in his comment on the previous post, so I won’t repeat it. But I really think fear is the biggest factor. Her students probably have not engaged the contrary position b/c they are scared of it.

    As to her question about strong willed and complaint children….Ahhh, many of us are fortunate enough to have one of each! It’s important to teach them that they can either trust Jesus or themselves. There isn’t another place to place your trust. If my trust is not in Christ, it’s in me. It is possible to trust in rules instead of God whether you are keeping the rules or breaking the rules. You can be self righteous about your compliance, or you can be self righteous about your flouting the rules and making your own rules. But you are still trusting in yourself. In that sense, compliance and rebellion are flip sides of the same coin, not different ways of behaving. So I try to tell them every chance I get, there isn’t anyplace else to go (John 6 and Hebrews help with this idea). We need Jesus for salvation and we need him for our life everyday.

    That’s all I can think of for now.

  4. Oops–this was meant to go in the Balance post comments–I’m copying it there. Sorry!

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