Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Teaching Our Children

"...(the average current American) family has, at best, a transitory togetherness. People sup together, play together, travel together, but they do not think together. Hardly any homes have any intellectual life whatsoever, let alone one that informs the vital interests of life. Educational TV marks the high tide for family intellectual life." -Allan bloom in The Closing of the American Mind(57-58)

This quote was in a book that I've been reading recently. In this particular chapter, Professor Bloom was describing how the average family has lost its effectiveness in educating children. He provides an accurate critique here I think. Many families, including my own if I am honest, often resort to a "transitory togetherness." At times, even in our family of two, we go through days where we eat together, watch tv together, take walks together, etc. But the tendency of our family of two--and of every family--is toward those interactions being shallow instead of deep. Surface level. Detached. No real meaningful conversation to help each other learn. As the husband and leader of my family, I am sorry to admit this is the case. But I doubt I am alone.

I'm sure the pull toward "transitory togetherness" becomes even stronger when more and more people are added to the family. Education takes a back seat, because busyness reigns supreme. Games, practices, concerts, church programs, television, meals, and other activities keep families busy. But parents must be sure to actually educate their children. Parents have a God-given responsibility to teach their children to think, to answer life's greatest questions, to impart wisdom, to teach them the gospel. These can be done informally of course, but if you were to evaluate your family's time, how much is devoted to busyness and how much is truly devoted to the educating of your children?

A great way to start is by having family devotionals each day where biblical conversation provides regular opportunity to impart wisdom and help your children learn to be good thinkers.

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