“Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.” (Proverbs 29:18, ESV)
There are two good Christian men that I have been blessed to come across in my early years as a Christian. The first is child training expert and author Michael Pearl, and the second is Charity Gospel Ministries preacher Denny Kenaston. Denny Kenaston provided me with the importance and emphasis of having a vision, and Michael Pearl helped with the art of practically applying such a vision. Although I no longer have the same vision as these two folks, two truths remain from what they have taught me: we must have a vision for the future, and we must carry out that vision correctly.
How well you train and nurture your child is vitally important to our goal of dominion for Christ in this world. Your child isn’t going to just suddenly become a virtuous individual overnight when he turns fifteen and starts reading and comprehending good Christian material. Neither will he become so just because you are a faithful Christian yourself. You must start immediately, from the very first months of the child’s life, to mold him into a godly individual. As a parent of the children that God has trusted you with, you must realize that child training is the single most important task of your life.
Child training is extremely important because it molds and shapes the character of your child. A child with poor character will definitely not embrace a noble worldview when they become older. If your child is selfish at a young age, he will be selfish when older also. And his selfish attitude is going to trickle down into the decisions he makes for his life. Instead of choosing a life of a servant-leader as is befitting for Jesus’s disciples, he may end up choosing a road that is motivated by selfishness and greed. This decision will cause his future children to become compromised in a chain reaction of negative consequences. Thus the way you raise your children now will have an effect on future generations long after you are gone.
Even the very early years of a child’s life are critically important to the child’s future character and vision. Michael Pearl uses the illustration of a young tree in this article: if you let it grow crooked when it is young, then as it grows bigger it will be just as crooked if not worse, and many times harder to correct.1 The older and stronger it becomes, the more difficult to amend it back. The same is true for children, Pearl explains in his book To Train Up A Child, “What a child is at four, he will be at fourteen, only magnified many times over. Your two-year-old whiner will be a twelve-year-old whiner. The intemperate five-year-old will be an intemperate fifteen-year-old.”2 Do not take training your child lightly, even at the earliest stages of life.
We are friends with a family whose oldest son we would never let our daughter marry when he is grown. At age 7, every time this boy does not get his way, he throws a fit like an out of control raging animal. He also will not obey his parents until he is forced to do so–when they start to show their rage and he knows they are finally serious. The reason for his faulty character is that his parents did not correct and discipline that behavior when he was nine months old, and two years old, and so on. It has now become part of him. When he is fifteen years old he will still be the same way. He might learn to mask that behavior, because it is socially unacceptable, but inwardly he will still be a selfish brat with poor character. He will continue to have these traits his entire life unless God miraculously intervenes.
From a very young age you are shaping your child’s worldview. Even as a baby it is very important to instill your values into your children. Everything that happens in life is a teachable moment and your child is being educated 100% of the time he is conscious. You are training and molding your child’s character in every part of every day, whether directly or indirectly, whether you realize it or not, and whether it is intentional or unintentional. Your children learn from you even when you are not trying to teach them at all.
When one realizes this, it should become obvious to the thinking Christian that public schools are definitely out of the question. Are you going to let the children of the devil and enemies of all righteousness have a strong influence on the majority of your child’s day, molding and shaping his character along the way? Now even if this is obvious to you, know that “Christian” schools are not much better. They may not teach evolution and other intellectual fallacies, but the atmosphere of these schools are not going to provide a solid environment for your child to be godly and have a proper worldview.
The key thing to remember is that every decision you make will have an impact on how your child turns out to be, whether big or small. Some decisions carry much bigger consequences than others, such as sending your children for someone else to “school” them, because then the learning models in their lives become someone other than their parents. Now every decision of that teacher or guardian, whom you’ve allowed in your child’s presence, is molding your child’s behavior.
Some decisions are not so big, but still have an impact on what your child will turn out to be. Yet some decisions you make look small at first glance, but carry far more impact than meets the eye. Something you think might not be a big deal really is. Some things that don’t look “spiritual” are actually carrying some very important eternal consequences. One little decision could snowball into many unrecognized consequences for your child’s life.
Ever wonder why some people you meet are extremely selfish? Or extremely angry and bitter? Or why there are some folks extremely kind and polite, or patient? It is most likely because their parents trained them to be that way. They carried the habits they learned when they were one year old into adulthood.
Many people have heard and quoted Proverbs 22:6, which says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Most people misinterpret this verse grossly, likely because they are too proud to admit their parenting failures. When the parents of such people fail to train their child successfully and their child grows up to not be what he should, the parents love to excuse themselves from the blame. They’ll say, “Ahh, we did the best we could, but he made his own decision. There’s nothing we could have done about it. He’s his own person.”
But did they really “do the best that they could”? Undoubtedly they may have had all the best intentions. They may have even done what they thought was best for their child, just as a foolish father will often assume that his young ones would rather have their father working long hours so he can buy them more stuff. But what the child really desires is less stuff and more time and relationship with Daddy. Many parents make multitudes of parenting errors based on ignorance of what they ought to do. They must realize the utter importance of child training; they should get their hands on some good child training material. Despite a few doctrinal disagreements I have with the author, I strongly recommend Michael Pearl’s “To Train Up A Child” as a starter book for beginners. It is the book that laid the foundation of child rearing for my family and has been a huge blessing over the years for both my family and other Christians I know. God’s promise rings true even today: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” We cannot allow our ignorance of child training or the pursuit of so-called godly pursuits to stand in the way of our greatest responsibility, that of making our children into disciples of Jesus Christ.
So how does this all tie in to a Faith & Heritage movement, a movement that wants to see its nation, state, or folk restored to the roots that once made it great, a community governed by Christ and the Law of God? In this way, chiefly: If we do not train our children in the right path and instill in them a vision, if we do not build their character and equip them to do so, then our society will fall completely and hopelessly out of the possibility of reconstruction in favor of the Christian Theonomist worldview. It’s up to us and how we build our heritage, and heritage is rooted in our children. Whether our children take up that vision and instill it in their children depends on what we do with them today. In a nation such as America, full of Christians who profess Jesus with their lips (yet are hypocrites), you aren’t going to win too many people to our side through individual persuasion. These folks are set in their worldview already. They have a perverted version of Christianity that causes them to believe that their socialism, wrapped in cute little Bible verses, is the true religion. With “Christians” who believe Marxism is the gospel, we’ll be hard set to persuade these folks to follow the real mandates of scripture and the faithful interpretation of scripture. Why, they wouldn’t want to ruin their testimony with the unbelievers now!
Theologically, dominion-oriented Christians may claim generational or covenant promises for children. However, the evidence whether we really believe this is in the fruit. How are our children turning out? Are we satisfied with our children simply being “good children”? Are we satisfied if our children turn out good but then their children start going backwards? If we are going to see real progress we must train and nurture our children in such a way that the fire burns in them passionately and that they will have a strong desire to see multiple generations follow after them. Each generation should progress and get better. Each generation should build upon the wisdom of the previous.
We fathers need to become men of vision. We need to establish goals for the future, a vision, and instill this same vision inside the minds and hearts of our children. The progression through the generations should be clear. Throughout the 20th Century in America we saw a decline. It’s time to go the opposite direction and get back to our Christian European roots. And we won’t get there until we develop and execute a well-planned vision.