Better Late Than Early

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After reading this 2011 article on the wisdom delaying formal education, I found a book called Better Late Than Never (1989) by Robert and Dorothy Moore, advocating later education. I’ve just read the first two chapters, but I cannot help but share a few gleanings off this treasure trove of a book:

Who and what comes first-parent’s liberty or their children’s welfare? True freedom implies responsibility to protect another person’s liberties. If the young child develops best at home, then it is the greater loss for him, and ultimately society, if he is sent elsewhere. (p. 4)

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I do not think that the solution to the nation’s child care problem is to provide every young child with a preschool education or to place every child from a certain age on in a child care center. I believe that we should do everything in our power to strengthen and support family life rather than supplant it in any way. We must provide good substitute socializing settings for children of mothers who choose to work. But we should be wary of those who suggest that centers or experts are intrinsically superior to home set tings. We must be aware of how the nature of the family has changed. We should use this awareness in developing social institutions that are not just centers for children, but also institutions that work directly toward supporting family life. (p. 15)

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Without professional training, simply by being herself, a concerned, loving mother usually can do more for her normal child than a teacher can. Parents should, of course, be willing to learn new ideas. But a mother need not be a trained teacher, nor does she need to teach in any formal way. By using the framework of everyday home activities in a practical way, she can help her child learn as much as possible about the things around him. (p. 21)

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Children are happiest when they are busy, and keeping them busy should not be a matter for concern. Much of a child’s busyness will be accomplished on his own. Much of it will come from the child’s questions and curiosity. The parent’s goal should be to respond to the child’s questions in a patient, consistent and constructive way. Forget about the pressures of achieving. Cultivate the idea of being happily child-centered, for the child is important. Take advantage of his motivation of the moment. Be happy that he is curious, and try to go along with his curiosities whenever you can. (p. 21)

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A reason often given for the trend toward early schooling is that such experience gives a child opportunity to learn how to get along with others. Several questions should be raised about this presumed benefit of early schooling. What is the evidence that these children actually do get along better? What kind of socialization should they have? Do we want them simply to make many acquaintances? Or do we expect them to develop concern and consideration for others and respect for older people? What do we really mean by “getting along”? Are these values really best developed in a crowded situation, where a child has relatively little attention from an adult whom he can use as a pattern? Or will he find more identity of the right kind in a home where his parents can respond to him on a consistent, warm and constructive basis throughout the day, and where youngsters in the neighborhood can challenge his selfish ideas? The so called preschool socializing process does not necessarily socialize ideally… In fact, there is considerable support for the notion that, for most children, the preschool is not the best for social purposes. The young child needs a free but some what protected environment. He should not be subjected to undue excitement or competition until he develops the ability to reason consistently-and until he has reached a level of maturity at which he perceives well and begins to see his environment in a less selfish perspective. Until then, he cannot see another’s point of view. This applies even when he is at home, although the demands of school often induce more selfishness than generosity in the social life of the 5 or 6 year old. And such selfish attitudes generally limit his sociability. Parents should make up their minds what kind of children they want, and what sacrifices they are willing to make. They should be aware of what they can do that teachers never can provide. They should consider care fully how much they risk when they place their children in environments over which they have little control. Children like to act “big.” They want to be like “the big kids.” This would be fine if they imitated the best qualities of their idols. Unfortunately, this is not so often the case. Children quickly pick up new tastes, mannerisms and speech, and too often the worst of these. This is less likely to happen if they remain in a reasonably good home until age 8 or 10. (p. 23-24)

What do you think?

Justice and Beauty

6a00d83452063969e20148c72da95a970cJonathan Edwards, in his book The Nature of True Virtue, argued that human beings will only be drawn out of themselves into unselfish acts of service to others when they see God as supremely beautiful. Here’s an example to illustrate what he means. If you listen to the music of Bach because you want people to think you are cultured (or because you want to think it yourself), then music is only a means to achieve some other end, namely the enhancement of your reputation. But if you play Bach because you find it not just useful but beautiful, then you are listening to it as satisfying in and of itself.

Edwards taught that if, through an experience of God’s grace, you come to find him beautiful, then you do not serve the poor because you want to think well of yourself, or in order to get a good reputation, or because you think it will be good for your business, or even because it will pay off for your family in creating a better city to live in. You do it because serving the poor honors and pleases God, and honoring and pleasing God is a delight to you in and of itself.

—Timothy Keller, Generous Justice, 182-3.

The Bible’s One Big Story

Did you know that one of the ways you can teach your child to read the Bible correctly is to read with them the right books? There are so many children’s resources out there, but most of what we find in Christian bookstores do not really tell us what the Bible is all about.

Contrary to the Marcionite thinking that the Old and New Testaments are not related to each other, our Savior Himself testifies that the whole Bible points to Him: “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27) Yes, Jesus is in the Old Testament, too!

JSBThis is one of the reasons why I love the Jesus Story Book Bible (Zondervan) by Sally Lloyd-Jones, because it shows  children and adults alike the centrality of Christ in all of Scripture. Lloyd-Jones tells us what the Bible is not, and captures  the One Big Story––how God is redeeming a people for Himself through the person and work of Jesus––in the first chapter of the book:

Now, some people think the Bible is a book of rules, telling you what you should and shouldn’t do. The Bible certainly does have some rules in it. They show you how life works best. But the Bible isn’t mainly about you and what you should be doin. It’s about God and what he has done. Other people think the Bible is a book of heroes, showing you people you should copy. The Bible does have some heroes in it, but (as you’ll soon find out) most of te people in the Bible aren’t heroes at all. They make some big mistakes(sometimes on purpose), they get afraid and run away. At times, they’re downright mean. No, the Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a Story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne–everything–to rescues the ones he loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life! You see, the best thing about this Story is–it’s true. There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling on Big Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them. It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story. And at the center of the Story, there is a baby. Every story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like the missing piece in the puzzle–the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.

I truly believe that that the JSSB is a valuable resource that each family should own. I cannot recommend it enough!

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Other Jesus-centered children’s Bible story books that I can recommend would be Marty Machowski’s Gospel Story Bible (New Growth Press)––along with its accompanying family devotionals, Long Story Short for OT and Old Story New for NT––and The Big Picture Story Bible (Crossway) by David Helm. Crossway will also be releasing a children’s story Bible by Kevin DeYoung called The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden in August 31, 2015.

The burning bush. David and Goliath. Joseph and the coat of many colors. The Bible is full of classic stories that fill children with awe and wonder. But kids need to know how all those beloved stories connect to Scripture’s overarching message about God’s love for the world. In The Biggest Story, best-selling author and father of six, Kevin DeYoung, leads readers on an exciting journey through the Bible, connecting the dots from the garden of Eden to the return of Christ. Short and extremely readable, this imaginative retelling of the biblical narrative can be read in one sitting and features action-packed illustrations that will bring the message of the Bible to life for the whole family.

Now that is something to look forward to.