I had a difficult conversation with a friend this weekend. Her son is rebelling, shrugging his shoulders and thumbing his nose at every choice his parents make. He sulks. He shuts himself in his bedroom and turns up the music. He refuses to attend events with them.
My friend is complacent. She says it's hard, but it is what it is. She's given up in deed but not in prayer, and while I'm encouraged that she is pleading for her son at the throne of grace, it breaks my heart that his parents don't fight for him in practical, tangible ways. Teens respond to practice, not theory. They see that what we do doesn't always match what we say.
Homeschooling won't save our kids, although to hear some proponents tell it, homeschooling is a panacea. It's not. Homeschooling cannot save, cannot redeem, cannot compel us by its tenacious love. Only God can do that. Don't shift your hope to homeschooling.
Homeschooling is a tool. By its nature, homeschooling affords us time, and time is what is required to nurture a relationship with anything. A brick and mortar school does not. A brick and mortar school that espouses humanism, at best, filled with hopeless students who themselves are rebelling and sulking and thumbing their noses at any authority but themselves (the folly of youth, for certain) will not afford us relationship-building time and opportunities to repent to our children and reconciliation over our sins committed with and against them.
I don't think all public schools are bad. I don't believe there is a one-way only approach to the education of our children. I don't believe homeschooling is the only way. I realize that may cause many of you to stop reading, but I'm solid in my beliefs because my beliefs stem from a place of grace. I was once in the "every-Christian-must-homeschool-or-they're-sinning" camp, but grace and mercy compel me to step outside of myself and my beliefs and hold fast to the truth that Christ is the only perfect redeemer and He dwells in every educational situation.
And yet, I wish my friend would stand up and fight. I wish she would do battle with the enemy for the sake of her son. She cannot do a thing to save him; she could deliver him up to the best teachers, spiritual leaders, his father. She could soak him in truth and the gospel and a healthy church body and still- STILL- it won't save him.
But she could stand up and fight. She could tell that boy that he's wasting his time, scraping the crap off the bottom of a dumpster instead of feasting on the buttery potatoes, the sizzling bacon, the soft and squishy bread rolls, the Angus steak dredged in butter, the crème brûlée. Wasting his time trying to win the acceptance of his buddies when the King of the Universe loves him so much that he poured out the wrath he had for that boy onto His own son instead. In spite of what he's done. In spite of the guilt and shame. In spite of the imperfect parents he gave to that boy.
That's hope. It's our only hope. It's a love so fierce and tenacious and beautiful and perfect that it is the only thing that will save us. See, homeschooling gives us the time to have those conversations with our kids and to pour out Jesus' grace all over them. Fighting for her son might mean she has to do battle in the hardest way she knows how right now- bringing him home from school. Just hear what I'm saying though: it won't save her son. But it might prove to him that she isn't giving up, that he's worth fighting for. That's what Jesus did for us.