Earl & Diane Rodd 27 June 1987 93 Great Ryrie St. Heathmont, Victoria 3135 Phone (03) 879-4082
The Bible and "Socialization"
When considering home training for our children, many parents ask about "socialization" of children who are trained in the home. Most parents want to do what is best for their children and wonder if their children will be properly socialized with hometraining. Modern school systems and psychology have had a heavy influence on our thinking about the social needs and development of children. However, again as we turn to the Bible to search for God's plan and instruction which is sure and unchangeable, we discover three Biblical examples which give particular insight into God's plan for socialization. But before we look carefully into these examples, let's see how "socialization" is defined.
What is Socialization
In Webster's Third New International Dictionary (Copyright (c) 1981 by Merriam-Webster Inc.) we find two primary definitions of "socialization".
Rehoboam and His Peers
When the mighty King Solomon died, his son Rehoboam was made king in his place. At this time the boundaries of the Kingdom of Israel included more territory than at any other time in history. The wealth, power, prosperity and influence of Solomon's realm was unequaled. However, God had prophesied that because of Solomon's sin in marrying foreign women, part of the kingdom would be taken from his descendents. The story of interest to us is how that prophecy came to be fulfilled.
II Kings 12 :3-7 tell us,
...Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam, saying, "Your father made our yoke hard; therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you." Then he said to them, "Depart for three days, then return to me." So the people departed. And King Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had served his father Solomon while he was still alive, saying, "How do you counsel me to answer this people?" Then they spoke to him, saying, "If you will be a servant to this people today, will serve them, grant them their petition, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever."
This advice of the king's elders seems wise to us today in light of Jesus' teaching on the value of being a servant in order to be the greatest in the kingdom.
The lesson concerning socialization in this story comes in Rehoboam's response to this wise counsel. I Kings 12 :8 continues,
But he forsook the counsel of the elders which they had given him, and consulted with the young men who grew up with him and served him. So he said to them, What counsel do you give that we may answer this people who have spoken to me, saying, `Lighten the yoke which your father put on us'?" And the young men who grew up with him spoke to him, saying, "Thus you shall say to this people who spoke to you saying, 'Your father made our yoke heavy, now you make it light for us!' But you shall speak to them, 'My little finger is thicker than my father's loins!. Whereas my father loaded you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.'"
The advice of Rehoboam's young friends sounds so much like the "smart" remarks often heard today from youths who are over confident of their own strength and lack respect for their elders.
Rehoboam now has conflicting counsel. To whom does Rehoboam listen to? I Kings 12 :15 says, "So the king did not listen to the people, for it was a turn of events from the LORD." What was the outcome of following the arrogant advice of Rehoboam's peers? The kingdom was divided and the tribes which split into the northern kingdom immediately went into idolatry starting a long history of calamity upon calamity.
The Bible shows us here an example of what is sometimes called "peer pressure." In Biblical terms, the correct word is "the fear of man." Peer pressure, or the fear of man, is not a new phenomena but is seen in many places in the Bible. While we will not take space here for thorough study of the fear of man, you will find such a study very rewarding. Because other Christian writers have presented testimonies of the ability for hometrained children to overcome peer pressure, we won't repeat that evidence. Our purpose here is to lay the Biblical foundation which will give parents the confidence that the socialization which occurs in the home is not only sufficient but is also wise. These children are exposed to family and friends of various ages and various experiences. The Bible shows that living with only the social company and counsel of peers is not best.
David and Abigail
David came close to moving out of the will of God (sin) when he was without any wise counsel from his elders. The incident occurred when David was a fugitive from King Saul who was seeking to kill him. David had gathered a band of followers around him who roamed and hid at his command. Saul's chase of David and his men took them across most of Israel. In this particular incident the men with David are described as "young men". In I Samuel 25, David and his men were camped in the wilderness in an area where a man named Nabal was shearing his sheep. David and his men had given protection to Nabal, his men and his sheep. I Samuel 25 :7 says, "Your shepherds have been with us and we have not insulted them, nor have they missed anything all the days they were in Carmel". And later David says, "Surely in vain I have guarded all that this man has in the wilderness..". David was not a man who gained a following through terror or fear. His calling in God as a shepherd and a protector is clearly manifested. David also was the captain of these men and as such he had to provide for their daily sustenance. So David sent some young men to Nabal saying, "Let my young men find favor in your eyes, for we have come on a festive day. Please give whatever you find at hand to your servants and to your son David." Nabal answered them, "Who is David? And who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants today who are each breaking away from his master. Shall I then take my bread and my water and my meat that I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men whose origin I do not know?" When David heard of this reply, he said (I Samuel 25 :13), "Each of you gird on his sword. " All David's men put on their swords and prepared to attack Nabal. David's intentions are made clear in I Samuel 25 :22, "May God do so to the enemies of David, and more also, if by morning I leave as much as one male of any who belong to him." There was no wise counsel to warn David that he may later regret this planned action.
Many say David was correct in his assessment of Nabal. The selfish, ungrateful, inhospitable attitude of Nabal is not hidden from most readers. However, God's perfect will must always be sought by true men of God. Thus, one of Nabal's young men came to Nabal's beautiful wife, Abigail, and told her what was about to happen. He reported how good David's men had been by saying, "Yet the men were very good to us, and we were not insulted, nor did we miss anything as long as we went about with them, while we were in the fields. They were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the time we were with them tending the sheep." The young man warned Abigail that, "evil is plotted against our master and against all his household; and he is such a worthless man that no one can speak to him." Abigail then took a great quantity of food and went to meet David and in I Samuel 25 :23 we read that she, "dismounted from her donkey, and fell on her face before David, and bowed herself to the ground." She accepted all the blame for her husband's mistake and asked David to accept her gift and forgive her. Abigail recognized David as a man chosen by God and told him, "And it shall come about when the LORD shall do for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and shall appoint you ruler over Israel, that this will not cause grief or a troubled heart to my lord, both by having shed blood without cause and by my lord having avenged himself."
David recognized this wisdom and responded, "Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me, and blessed be your discernment , and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodshed, and from avenging myself by my own hand." None of the young men with David had been able or willing to challenge him and would have helped him to shed blood without cause and avenge himself! Not one of his followers could help David discern the will of God. So we see that David in the social company of only his young men , nearly missed God's perfect will for his life. In the end, the Lord deals with Nabal, who dies. David then asks Abigail to be his wife.
Joash the Child King
In II Chronicles 22-24, we read the story of the young king Joash. When he was a baby, his father died and his wicked grandmother, Athaliah, became queen. To consolidate her power, she killed all the royal offspring, her very own grandchildren (II Chronicles 22 :10). However, Joash was hidden in the house of God for six years by his aunt, Jehoshabeath who was married to Jehoiada, God's priest. Joash certainly had a restricted social life since he was hidden in the temple for six years from the wicked queen Athaliah. He was trained by the priest Jehoiada and his aunt. When Joash turned seven years old, we are told in II Chronicles 23 :1, "Jehoiada strengthened himself, and took captains of hundreds..." Jehoiada arranged for the guards to protect Joash and had Joash brought out and crowned. The guards were instructed to kill the queen before she could get to the house of the LORD.
In II Chronicles 24 :1, we read,
Joash was seven years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem; his mother's name was Zibiah from Beersheba. And Joash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest. And Jehoiada took two wives for him, and he became the father of sons and daughters.
Joash was used by the Lord to repair the temple. To do this, Joash organized a plan of offerings to pay for the work. He also organized the workmen and the making of utensils for the service and the burnt offering. All of this work was done with Jehoiada's counsel and supervision. So we see in Joash a king who followed God and was effective in working with other people. As we consider the accomplishments of Joash, remember the social restrictions upon him as a child.
However, the story of Joash does not have a happy ending. II Chronicles 24 :17 says,
But after the death of Jehoiada the officials of Judah came and bowed down to the king, and the king listened to them. And they abandoned the house of the Lord, the God of their fathers, and served the Asherim and the idols; so wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their guilt. Yet He sent prophets to them to bring them back to the LORD; though they testified against them, they would not listen.
When Jehoiada died, Joash was left alone without the mature counsel of a man of God. His officials bowed down to him and placed him in a position of pride which became his downfall. These men served the Asherim and the idols and thus led Joash away from the true and living God. I Corinthians 15 :33 says, "Do not be `Bad company corrupts good morals.'" and Joash falls into the snare bad company. Even though the prophets were sent by God to Joash and his court to bring them back to the Lord, the peer pressure and the deceptive pleasure of the false religion ensnared Joash to the point of murder. It was Joash's command that caused the stoning death of Zechariah, God's prophet, who was also the son of Jehoiada, Joash's counselor and protector. Thus in the life of one man we can see the positive effect of mature, Godly socialization and the negative effect of selfish, immature peer pressure to be like the world.
Out of these Biblical accounts we can see the following characteristics of socialization which leads to bad results:
(1) Remember this month's meeting will be held at 2 pm at YWAM 1 Kent Road Surrey Hills, Vic
(2) A planetarium trip is available on Monday, July 6th.
Please let others know at the next meeting whether or not you plan on attending. Do take the time beforehand to discuss the solar system, etc. with your child(children). Could someone please call the Planetarium (699-9942) and ask about the lower age limit allowed for the program (We will be Canberra for the week).
(3) Some questions have arisen about the differences in American and Australian mathematics programs. I believe that the differences from program to program are more significant than national differences. It is true, however, that in general the Australian mathematics programs are modeled on an English scheme which differs from American schemes, the difference becoming noticable by year 7 or 8. In the Australian (English) system, each year of mathematics covers new topics in arithmetic, algebra, geometry and trigonometry as appropriate. In the American system, each year covers an area. For example, year 9 is normally algebra, year 10 geometry etc. In my experience, however, the more important differences are in the quality of emphasis on basic skills, especially in the lower grades, and these differences are not national ones but particular to the specific programs or books.
We hope to see many of you July 5th. Please come prepared to share from your experience and expertise gained in your own seeking the Lord's ways for your family.
In love and faith in Jesus, Earl & Diane Rodd Terry & Gail, We thought that now that you all are "Victorians", you might like seeing the monthly newletter! We look forward to your fellowship!