What is the role of the parents in paideia education? All the parents at Veritas know that parents are the primary educators of their children’s education, and that the role of the school is to come alongside them to help them to fulfill their role. But parents rarely ask me what their role in this paideia education is. Maybe it is because they think if they ask the question, they might open the door for the school to shift the responsibility of education to the parents. Or they may be afraid that by asking they are taking on greater responsibility than they already are. Or they may be doing fine with parenting.
Whatever the case may be, it is critically important that 1) parents understand that they have the key to the success of their children’s education, and it has to do with their role in parenting, 2) and that this success depends on partnership with teachers & admin at school. I would like to focus on #1 on this and the next article, and #2 on the following article.
The first and the most important role of the parents is to develop a culture of making worship with their children the center of their lives. This includes Sunday worship and family worship. The point is that worship is culture shaping. Every time a family comes together to worship, something beautiful happens, even if not explicitly shared, but even more so when they are shared. The culture of their family changes. An excellent resource for family worship is Joel Beeke’s Family Worship.
Beginning with the culture of a worship-centered life, parents can fulfill the three offices of Scripture: priest, prophet and king. Their priestly function is that of ministering to the hearts of their children.
Enjoy the Lord together with your children. Spending time with children is not enough. Parents should aim to spend time enjoying the Lord together. Children are shaped first and foremost by what parents enjoy. That’s right. This is the hardest. Parents really must think about what they love, because that’s what is going to influence their children the most. How? You could enjoy the Lord indirectly by fellowshipping in the Lord, which means that you are having wholesome fun together, but with the goal of encouraging one another in the Lord. Or more directly, you can be engaged in a cultural activity (visiting places or watching or reading something together) where you are enjoying the Lordship of Christ more discerningly.
Shepherd your child’s heart. Parents have the privilege (and the challenging task!) of shepherding their children’s heart (Prov 4:23, Dt 6:5ff). This does not mean only the heart. It means a parenting that is focused on the change of the heart—to love and obey God. Even discipline should be motivated by love and directed to love and obedience to God (Heb 12:6). Don’t fall into the trap of the modernist lie that you need to “respect” a child’s own heart regarding their order of loves, including his/her relationship with God. It is parents’ responsibility and honor to guide their children to love God.
Minister to your children’s emotional needs. Children, especially in our generation, experience a variety of socio-emotional needs. And many parents are at a loss in helping them. But at the bottom, children face the same challenges as adults—anxiety, anger, rejection, loneliness, shame, guilt, depression, and self-harm. And the problem and solution lies in our relationship with God. So, it is critically important that parents learn to be healed in their own socio-emotional needs through God’s Word and guide their children to do the same. Veritas will follow up soon with a seminar on biblical counseling of children.
May the Lord bless you and your children, and your children’s children according to the riches of his grace!