As for many, Thanksgiving was a wonderful time for Marty and me to gather with extended families. Parents, brothers and sisters, daughters and sons-in-law, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, and a few extras assembled for a Thanksgiving feast. We enjoyed each other’s fellowship and caught up on the joys and sorrows of this past year. And once again, I was confronted with the thought—parenting is a daunting responsibility. I share that responsibility both as a parent and an educator.
Preparation for life is at the core of education. Frequently, I am engaged in conversation with parents who desire to provide their children the best preparation for college and future work. Obviously, education is a key factor in this process. But what kind of education? Where a student attends school, what teachers he or she has, what courses are studied—all these are important considerations. But aren’t there even more important considerations? As parents, we must avoid a myopic view of successful child-rearing. Is success measured by a good high school and college education, a good job, and a happy family?
Allow me to make a comparison. BJU Press textbooks are distinguished by strong biblical integration. In fact, writers have defined four levels of Bible integration. Level 0 is no integration. There is no evidence of biblical influence, only academic content. Level 1 is referencing the Bible, such as using analogies and examples from the Bible. Level 2 takes integration up a notch by emphasizing service and worship with discipline. While level 1 and level 2 integration are commendable, truly effective integration cannot occur without level 3 integration—understanding the biblical metanarrative of creation, fall, and redemption authored by a sovereign God, accomplished through the sacrifice of Jesus His Son, and embraced by man.
Similarly, when preparing our children for life, we should aim beyond the lower levels of preparation—good kids, good education, and good character—and strive for level 3 biblical integration in our daily preparation. Truly Christian education and childrearing promotes a redemptive focus, biblical thinking, submission to Christ, and godly living. It is more than a head knowledge; it includes the heart attitude. It focuses beyond success in this life to triumph in eternity. Every thought, action, and decision is measured by the principles and promises of the Bible and the Person of Jesus Christ. BJU Press calls this biblical worldview shaping, and such a perspective gives meaning and purpose to all of life.
Rather than seeking to build heaven here on earth with a perfect education, a perfect job, and a perfect family in a perfect home in a perfect neighborhood, we should heed Christ’s command to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” This is the best foundation we can provide to prepare our children for life.