A homeschooling mother recently shared a story about her 17-year-old son who had a job stocking grocery shelves. Within a few months of starting his job, he was awarded two promotions. Sadly, this was not the case for most of his co-workers. What made this boy so remarkable to his supervisors? Take a moment to consider the likely answer to this question. What traits do you believe this young man possessed?
This teenager showed character. He had a willingness to work. He paid attention to detail. He was respectful of his elders. He knew when to work and when to take breaks. He had a heart to serve. He also had a desire to represent Christ. Now ask yourself how this young adult learned these things.
You Reap What You Sow
There’s a famous quote—“You reap what you sow”—that is often proclaimed in the midst of a negative situation. Instead let’s consider it as a positive exhortation to develop a master plan for our children’s character. If the statement is true, then sowing properly must be a top priority for every parent.
The 17-year-old boy finding success at his grocery store stocking position was blessed to have parents who took the time to sow godly traits into their children. You have the ability to do the same for your children.
“Sowing” into a child’s life starts at conception. Each year is foundational and important; but the four years of high school are unique. It is during these years that a young person increasingly opens to influence from all surroundings. This is a key time for mature, godly influence to take solid root. What a powerful opportunity God has given you as parents. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the thought of higher level subjects, college entrance requirements, and advanced expectations, embrace this opportunity to sow solid seeds into your young person’s life. Consider the steps you can take to help influence your high school student to have a growing heart toward Christ.
Don’t Lose Focus
Academics typically get prime focus once a student reaches grades 9-12. It is very easy to emphasize a four-year program based solely on academic success. Don’t lose the focus of godly influence as you prepare your student for educational excellence. Biblical worldview and educational excellence are actually natural partners. Encouraging biblical analysis alongside the study of classic literature and world history creates endless opportunities for high school students to learn through the eyes of Christ.
Traditional high school level curriculum can be incredibly influential on a student when viewed from a biblical perspective. Routine assignments become more than just boxes to check. Don’t lose opportunities for your high school student to clearly see the difference between a godly heritage and a worldly one. What seeds is your curriculum sowing into your high school student’s life? Keeping Christ central through these crucial years is one way you can encourage your teenager to have a heart toward Christ. Make sure biblical Christianity is the backbone of your high school academics.
Extracurricular activities are frequently considered “necessities” in a well-rounded high school experience. These activities are key opportunities for parents to sow a godly influence. Being involved in sports, clubs, music, debate, and drama truly can enhance high school level learning. I have often encouraged such opportunities with the high school students in my home. But too many times these activities become “gods” in the lives of all family members. They go beyond their intended goal of team building and goal setting and take precedence in a student’s life. Recognize opportunities to view even these events from a biblical worldview. Be involved in these activities.
Your children are nearly grown now, but your influence and knowledge of the activities in their lives are still crucial whether they think they need it or not. Know their coaches, directors, and mentors. Don’t fall to the mistake of believing that parental involvement at this level is not necessary or that all adults will influence your child positively. Seeds are being sown every time your high school students attend a practice, event, or meeting. Make sure godly seeds are taking root and encourage your teens to sow godly seeds around them.
Are you encouraging employment during the high school years? Entrepreneurship, family partnerships, and carefully selected job opportunities outside the home are strong ways to teach financial and personal responsibility. However, do not forget the notion of instilling a heart to serve. The message of a me-focused society is preached from television sets, billboards, and advertisements all across the country as well as on the Internet. Taking time to reach out to others is a God-focused mentality.
Utilize the high school years to reinforce on an attitude of giving. Consider a weekly service project as one of the requirements for graduation from your home high school; consider choosing curriculum that encourages such service. Sowing the seeds of service in a young person’s life creates a strong potential for future generations to do the same.
What do you hope to see in your children as they grow into young adults? What are the skills needed to enable them to fulfill the plan God has for their lives? The answers to these questions should become core components in your children’s high school experience. Whether you are still in the planning stages, or have students in high school now, it is never too late to make Christ the central focus of your family’s homeschool.
Examine your student’s curriculum, extra-curricular choices, work opportunities, and service projects. Then be sure to spend time examining your own priorities as you lead by example. Every day seeds are sown into your children’s minds and hearts. Treasure the high school years as a God-gifted opportunity to carefully lead your young adults toward Him.
Copyright 2010. Used by CHEA with permission of the author.
In 2012, Bret Welshymer, and his wife Stacy, will be parents to four high school graduates. The Welshymers thank God for academic success, but having children with hearts to serve Christ is their strongest desire. Bret is from Southern California where he served as a pastor for nearly two decades. He now endures occasional snow and frigid weather conditions in Missouri where he works for My Father’s World.