Tim Throckmorton: Back to school is time to reflect on the parent’s job

Published 5:34 am Sunday, September 4, 2022

Sitting on my front porch with a nice cup of coffee in hand, I watched as the first school bus of the year rolled by with students headed off to class.
The back to school season has arrived!
I began to think about riding a school bus years ago along the same road to the same school and before long, I was considering my grandkids who are in school now.
What they can potentially face in their current setting is nothing like what their parents or grandparents would have dreamed would await them.
It was Carl Henry that stated that Christians should “work through civil authority for the advancement of justice and human good” to provide “critical illumination, personal example, and vocational leadership.” Jeremiah 29:7 says: “But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Referring to Babylon, the prophet recognized that secular government served a legitimate purpose in God’s plan for Israel.
This is still true.
Today, good governments promote literacy, advance just laws, provide religious liberty and allow churches to preach and teach. Christian witness in the public square contributes transcendent values about moral and ethical issues. Christian withdrawal opens a moral vacuum susceptible to influences that pressure government to move outside the purview designated by God. Politics affects government, shapes society and influences culture. Because of what the Bible teaches and the inevitability of its effect on our culture, Christians must care about politics, and they must be involved in it!
As students around the nation go back to school it must be remembered that the most important authority in a child’s life is still a parent!
The writer in Proverbs reminds us, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
The phrase “train up” carries the idea of a dedicated trainer.
Parents need to see themselves as dedicated and committed spiritual trainers of their kids. That means you don’t coast through parenting and you don’t stick your head in the sand and hope everything going to turn out alright.
You get in the game and show up each and every day.
It’s the two words “train up” that cause us to give close attention.
They mean in Hebrew “touch the palate of.”
Hebrew mommies would soften food and with their finger gently touch the palate of the child creating an appetite, a taste or desire to have more of that food. Our lives and influence must create a taste for God in our children.
Benjamin Rush, who signed The Declaration of Independence and ratified the Constitution gives us a glimpse into the worldview our founding fathers were guided by.
“The only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government is the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible. The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effective means of limiting Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible at schools.” Boy, does that make sense!
My friend Joseph Backholm, senior fellow for Biblical Worldview and Strategic Engagement at Family Research Council said recently, “If someone asked you whether you should be a good spouse or a good parent, you would reject the premise of the false choice presented. The correct answer is: ‘do both.’”
The Christian life requires multi-tasking.
So, disciple your children and coach their Little League team.
Preach liberty to the captives, feed the hungry, and clothe the naked.
Love sinners, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mock you.
Don’t neglect the discipleship of your children or of yourself.
Do all of this, simultaneously.
And if God is calling you to run for school board, then run for school board. If we don’t, someone else will.
And as we have seen, that doesn’t always go well.” As President John F. Kennedy once said, “If not us, who? If not now, when?”

Tim Throckmorton is the national director of Family Resource Council’s Community Impact Teams.

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