I cannot tell you how many times I have heard educators lament, “We simple cannot overcome in the classroom what happens in the home. We may make some progress, but when what we teach is not reinforced in the home, it is all for nothing.”
At the same time, I have heard many parents lament, “We cannot seem to overcome at home what is happening at school. We cannot overcome the influence of teachers and peers. We are afraid we are losing our child.”
Hearing these things makes me ask, “What if?” What if home and school were not meant to overcome one another? What if home and school worked in partnership, functioning as a team for the intellectual and spiritual development of the child?
Every single day at CLA we are working to turn that “what if” into a “this is how we work.” Thus, at the core of who we are at CLA is a robust understanding of the role of the family.
God created the family to be the primary educational unit among his redeemed people. He makes this clear in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. The passage begins with what Jesus called the greatest commandment in the Law. “Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Love for God is at the heart of what it means to live obediently before God.
How is that love to be cultivated among God’s people? The answer comes in the next verse. “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.” The word of God becomes the means to shape our thoughts of God and feelings for God as the Word is not merely intellectually understood but also embraced with the totality of our being.
That begs another question. How does one come to know and love God’s word so that we learn to know and love God? Moses tells us by saying, “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” This comprehensive approach will lead to identification as God’s people as we “bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
From this passage we can draw two important principles. First, the training of children is the responsibility of parents. The passage says, “You shall teach them diligently to your children.” This means that parents should labor to impart truth to their children. By implication, this also means they should protect them from error.
Second, the type of training God has in mind is all- encompassing. That is, we are to be intentional by having a discipleship focus in all the times and situations. That is why the passages says you should teach your children when you walk, sit, stand, and lie down. Simply put, “A thorough biblical instruction can only be provided when related to all of life . . . Nothing can be clearer–God wants the children of his people to in an environment conditioned by His Word (Wilson, Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning, 48).”
The task is overwhelming and pushes us toward partnership. Make no mistake about it. Wherever you choose to educate your children, you are in a partnership with that institution. So before God you better make sure that you are partnering with like minded people. “Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals (1 Cor. 15:33).”
Beyond this there is a great blessing to partnering with a like-minded institution, the blessing of enlightenment and reinforcement. I cannot tell you how many times I have talked to my kids about something until I am blue in the face. Just when I am about to give up, one of the kids will “get it.” When I investigated to find out why they “got it,” I was surprised. I assumed it was because of my repeated teaching, but it really happened when they heard it from someone else. Sometimes my kids need to hear solid truth from other adults. Because I know this happens, I want to partner with a school that is on my team.
That is what CLA endeavors to be, a partner in the task of discipleship. We are not hired guns. We help. We supplement. We give aid as parents disciple their children. We are servants of the same mission. It is at the heart of who we are and at the core of what we do.