Families Honoring Christ

"It is better to grow a child than to repair a man."
Earl & Diane Rodd 2180 Northland Ave. Lakewood,OH 44107 USA Phone (216) 521-8856

Dear Friends,

This FHC letter is made up of several pieces we have collected in recent months. Note that this newletter is printed a little differently such that you should flip pages as if it were bound at the top, not the side. It is printed this way to avoid a problem we have with paper crinkling in humid weather.


During the first 15 months of the Clinton presidency, the Democratic party was very successful in its fund raising. More was raised for the party than the Republicans raised during the first 15 months of the Bush presidency. Party fund raising is important because it is not subject to the ludicrous $1000 a person limit on contributions to individual campaigns.

The two largest contributors were Time-Warner and the NEA (The National Education Association). In the top 12 contributors were two other entertainment empires, MCA and Disney! Most home schoolers don't voluntarily support the NEA, but how many Christians (and even home schoolers) help to prop up Time-Warner and Disney's entertainment empires? Of course, the entertainment industry has a great interest in a government which imposes no moral restrictions and which holds the keys to new communications structures (Information Superhighway).

Note that many of these organizations contributed heavily to the Republicans as well. Many businesses contribute to whichever party is in power because they need the favor of government (does the Bible call this bribery?).


Most of us have heard parents lament that they wished they would have spent more time with their children. Most of us have heard older adults lament that they wished they would have "smelled more flowers". As we thought about activities (including sports, music lessons, craft lessons etc. etc.), we realized that we have never heard parents with grown children lament that they wished they had done more activities. For our family, if we had it all to start over, we would have entered into even less activities than we did. Activities are not bad. We simply feel that we must choose them wisely and enter into them carefully and with a purpose. Ask ourselves, "how does this activity support our major goal of building Christian disciples?"

Wanting to date (etc.)

We have been asked questions like, "What do I do if my 15 year old wants to date?", or "What if my teen wants to watch movies?" We encourage parents to first ask themselves, "Where did this desire come from?" There are many possible answers depending upon the particular situation. We encourage asking the question because it may lead parents to:

Proverbs 22 :6 is familiar. "Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it". However, we must realize that training for wrong choices is proof of the truth of this verse as well.

Given the Biblical promises concerning children such as:

Psalm 103 :17,18
But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children's children, to those who keep His covenant, and who remember His precepts to do them.
Isaiah 54 :3
For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left. And your descendants will possess the nations, and they will resettle the desolate cities.
Isaiah 54 :13
And all your sons will be taught of the Lord; And the well-being of your sons will be great.
Isaiah 65 :23
They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they are the offspring of those blessed by the Lord, and their descendants with them.
we can be confident that as we overcome our traditions and temptations of this world in our family life and train according to God's word, then our children will be lead to think the Lord's thoughts and have His desires about such things as dating or movies.

Likely sources of home educated children learning to "want" ungodly things are:

If parents identify the source of ungodly desires, then parents can lead children to a careful understanding of God's word and His commands. Parental repentance may be required as an example because parents may be the cause of the problem.

Entertainment as a Companion

Just as we have encountered, clashed, confronted and exposed the spirit of anger in many homeschooling families (starting with our own), we have also discovered another major stronghold - the spirit of the world. It has many manifestations. Other articles have dealt with TV, movies, and videos as entertainment that give power to the spirit of the world. This article will deal with the form of entertainment that we know as recreational reading, reading for entertainment or enjoyment, reading to relax. When our family keeps observing "evil fruit" rather than "good fruit" in ourselves or in others that's when we start to look for the root of the tree that is causing it. We believe the replacing of the Bible as the best source of "excellent" literature for worldly literature is affecting the homeschooling family at all age levels.

The Bible says,

Proverbs 13:20
21. He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.

If literature or other entertainment consists of foolishness, then the companion of fools comes to harm. Some modern literature and entertainment (videos, radio) consists of stories which have a good moral lesson. However, they also have lots of bad examples of smart-alec replies, nasty comments to other people, and general foolishness. Even though the attempt is made to use these stories to teach something moral, for children not in school, such stories are a major source of teaching children ungodly behavior! Some literature and stories have someone other than the father who is the source of wisdom and who actively "gets involved."

Furthermore, many stories, while moral, are humanistic or deny the power of God. Literature and other stories are usually very tame compared to the Bible. It is good for children to know to "be kind to your brother", but there are times when children need to know how to fight demonic temptations to hold bitterness and unforgiveness against one another. Jesus did not just tell people to go and be good. He forgave sins, He healed sickness, and He cast out demons.

Tradition versus Absolutes

Tradition is very a powerful force for good and evil as noted in the following Scriptures.

For Good

I Corinthians 11:2
3. Now I praise you because you remember me in everything, and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.

II Thessalonians 2:15
16. So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word {of mouth} or by letter from us.

For Evil

Mark 7:8
9. "Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men."
10. He was also saying to them, "You nicely set aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.

Mark 7:13
14. {thus} invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that. "

We need to be cautious about basing our training goals on traditions and not the absolutes of the Bible. As Paul notes, when traditions are sound, it is important to hold to them. However, Jesus shows us the problem of being ruled by tradition. Our eldest son has written a substantial essay with another illustration which uses an example of a 1777 speech to show the pitfalls of arguing from tradition and not absolutes. If you would like a copy of that essay, write him and he will send it to you. If you receive the "Chalcedon Report", it was printed in the July, 1994 issue of that publication. One example of this problem of tradition is illustrated in the following paragraph on "stay at home" Moms.

Stay at Home Moms

Contemporary Christians, especially homeschoolers, have emphasized the importance of "stay at home moms" as a counter to the cultural pressure for mothers to enter the work place and desert their children. There are two ways to approach this issue, one from tradition and one from Biblical absolutes. The argument from tradition says that in traditional families, the mom stays at home. This argument falls apart when we think of the ideal 1950s family where Mom was at home. In that family, Mom was at home, but sent the children off to school and either frittered away time on bridge clubs and soap operas and/or got bored and sought a career. Proverbs 31 :27 notes a women in high regard who "does not eat the bread of idleness." The Bible emphasizes what to do , not where to be. Thus from the Bible we learn that mothers are to train their children (Prov. 6 :20 etc. ), that older women are to teach the (Titus 2) younger, and that women are to pray and prophecy (I Cor. 11 :5), and engage in productive activities (Proverbs 31). The extent to which this is done "in the home" is very much determined by cultural and economic conditions. Active lives in the service of Christ may take different family members outside of the home at various times either individually or together. If our guide is the Bible and God's absolutes, then we can follow God's call out of our traditions and remain faithful to our original call to train our children.

The Women's Place

Current Christian teaching has a healthy and needed emphasis on training Christian young women to train the next generation as disciples of Jesus Christ. Such teaching is important to counter the pressure of our age on women to desert their children to stay in "careers" as if managing a bank branch more efficiently is of more eternal importance than training disciples of Jesus Christ. Training children is a crucial aspect of the role of women. However, we believe that the teaching needs to add a further dimension which starts from the very first Biblical definition of woman as a helpmate. We believe that a subtle error creeps into our thinking when we concentrate on the woman as a "homemaker" rather than using the Biblical word, "helpmate". If we make an analogy to contemporary business life, the "helpmate" of Genesis in the Bible is more of an executive assistant than a secretary or hostess. Remember that Adam needed a helpmate to do what he could not The record in Genesis makes it clear that Adam's needs were more significant than the need for a bottle washer and cook.

The emphasis on homemaker rather than helpmate leads to the expression "a woman's place is in the home" rather than the more Biblical, "a woman's place is beside her husband." Now, as Greg Harris points out, a man's place is in the home, so a women certainly has a place in the home. Nonetheless, the phrase, "beside her husband" is the more fundamental principle which is important in cases where the call in life on the man (and family) leads to travelling or frequent moves of the "home". For some families, home is where the suitcase is. In our zeal for keeping families in order, we must be careful not to deify modern American suburban life but rather leave place for God to define our times and places. God will never place a call on a family which forces them to violate His order. The phrase "a woman's place is in the home" leads too easily to the American romantic view of the home centered on the physically beautiful house in the suburbs rather than the home centered on people, the husband and children, and their call from God.

While young women should be trained to resist the pressure of the world to have "careers" and thus desert their children, there is Biblical example to show that producing income is within the proper role of a helpmate. The example of Proverbs 31 shows a helpmate who not only runs the home efficiently (saving money), but also generates income. She does so without deserting the home.

We believe that it is wise to train Christian young women in skills which can be used to generate income both before marriage and within the home after marriage. (Of course, such training is only a part of the total training of our children - training whose first goal is raising up strong followers of the Lord Jesus). Christian wives and mothers can contribute to the productive and financial prosperity of the home in many ways. They can be efficient in purchasing, they can find inexpensive ways to clothe and feed the family, and they can contribute income. For example, some women are better gifted to buy all the clothes (rather than make them) and use the time saved to generate income using their gifts and talents. This allows children to learn by example how to balance competing demands and keep God's priorities in the family in order. We believe that there is great opportunity here for Christian home educators to be creative and provide inspiration and instruction to the Body of Christ on how to break the cultural patterns which destroy the dignity of women by either forcing them out of the home or treating them as mere house servants.

We believe that as we see the focus of the role of women as a "helpmate" rather than "place in the home", we can more easily see other dangers. For example, one temptation for women who see the value of generating income in the home is for them to define a criteria of whether the home business is good according to whether it is "Christian" rather than according to the extent to which it compromises the woman's role at helpmate. For example, some have discovered that Christian ministry (whether for free or as part of a business such as publishing) can place demands for time away from the family just as much as any other career. The better approach is to evaluate a home business by its demands to separate the women from the family.

We support home businesses to home schoolers and other Christians. I am thankful for home educating families who have provided excellent sources of things we need. However, simple economics dictate that someone has to be an "export" industry - or expressed simply - someone has to make money from the pagans. We note in Proverbs 31 :24 that the woman, "makes linen garments and sells {them,} And supplies belts to the tradesmen.". The word translated "tradesmen" is literally "Canaanite," in other words those outside the community of believers.

Men and the Work Place

As we have considered the subject of women working outside the home, we are keenly aware that many of the same principles apply to boys. It is not a Scriptural mandate or pattern than men (husbands and fathers) be away from the home for the many hours required by most modern "jobs." Scripturally, there is a precedent for men leaving home when the women stay home - in times of war! We fear that this model is now applied to nearly all families for "jobs" in time of peace. Just as we need to consider how to train young women to be productive without deserting the home, we need to consider how to train our young men how to be productive without deserting the home. Some examples are:

  • Avoiding careers, such as consulting, which require both long hours and nearly constant travel.
  • Being cautious about careers, such as law, which require very long hours.
  • Actively seek the Lord about creative ways to be productive (i.e. generate enough income) while remaining home based. This can include small manufacturing which is in the home or adjacent to the home.
  • Actively seek the Lord about creative ways to be productive in a situation into which children can be helpers and be apprenticed.

We must temper some of the above examples with the humble acceptance that God may call any of us into His service in any way He chooses. Our comments about careers with long hours etc. are meant to encourage parents to train their children to be aware of such factors ahead of time and pray and seek the Lord's will. It is tragic to see a young man pursue a career based upon purely material considerations only to find out when it is too late that he does not have time for his family.

The Wonderful 50's, Again

This little discussion is prompted by a letter from Focus on the Family entitled "The Year was 1954 and We Were All Very Young". While the conclusion of the essay contains a truth,

"Can we return to the 'Happy Days' of the Fifties? No... But we can recommit ourselves to the biblical truths that guided our society for centuries... Philippians 4 :8)",

we would conclude more strongly that we do not even want to go back to the Fifties because they contain the seeds of moral destruction which budded in the Sixties, blossomed in the Seventies, bore fruit in the eighties, and is being reaped as an evil harvest in the Ninties! the Sixties and Seventies. By God's grace, we will break the repetitive cycle of revival followed by apostosy, and be part of a Bride of Christ spotless and without wrinkle. A few specifics from the essay can illustrate our point. These comments are not a criticism of the essay which is an honest set of recollections of those times. Many of us who grew up in the Fifties swallowed far more of the seeds of destruction than did James Dobson, and many are not as willing as he to expose the failures and plead for repentance.

A comment is made about "girls wearing stunning bathing suits". The stunning suits of those days are the modest conservative suits of today. Nonetheless, the beginnings of immodesty were there. The picture of cheerleaders reminds me that today, as in the Fifties, Christian parents will allow their daughters to wear cheerleading costumes showing off their thighs and underwear without considering the seeds of immodesty that are being sown.

Dobson reminds us that the most controversial thing on the music scene on 1954 was "Rock Around the Clock". No, such songs were not rap urging murders, but they did glorify a life of partying and showed us that having a girl friend or boyfriend was the most important thing in life.

We are reminded of the family TV shows like Ozzie and Harriet. While these programs showed families in a better light than modern programs, they never showed families seeking the wisdom of the Lord or praying or explaining to their children how to live by faith. They lived 100% secular lives humanistic to the core.

Dr. Dobson notes an amazing quote from then Chief Justice Earl Warren which we believe demonstrates one of the fatal weaknesses of the era. Earl Warren is quoted from Time on Feb. 15, 1954:

I believe no one can read the history of our country ... without realizing that the Good Book and the spirit of the Savior have from the beginning been our guiding geniuses ... I like to believe we are living today in the spirit of the Christian religion. I like also to believe that as long as we do so, no great harm can come to our country.

The fatal flaw is that an Earl Warren could make the above statements and yet in the courtroom begin to tear down the very guiding principles expressed in our constitution. Note how he uses the term the "spirit of the Christian religion". Such double talk is common among those who like to say the right things and act wickedly. This should serve as a challenge to us to confess more than a religion. The name of Jesus which is above every other name and the crucial importance of each and every person submitting to His Lordship should be boldly proclaimed.

Finally, as we have commented before, the concept of state schools was deceptively attractive when prayer (no matter how lifeless) was part of the daily routine and graduations. In the midst of prayers, the anti-Biblical principle was established that the school, not the family, was responsible for imparting values to our children.

Fathers, Are You Willing?
Thoughts on Apprenticeship

Christian home educators have begun to emphasize the method of apprenticeship for training young men rather than schools. In this article, we will explore an approach to apprenticeship beyond the common mold. Apprenticeship is a Biblical method relying on teaching by example rather than on institutional education.

The first thing we ask of fathers is to make themselves available to their children to teach the children the father's profession, trade, or specialty. We encourage fathers (and mothers) to consider the skills they have acquired. Many fathers underestimate the skill they can pass on. In our mixed up economic system, a father may work in a job which is not his greatest area of expertise. His greatest skills may be related to hobbies or ministries apart from his income producing work. All that we have learned should be imparted to our children.

Not every child will be called of God to follow in the father's footsteps, but if father's do not make themselves available to apprentice their own children in their own "trade", then they miss an opportunity to provide their children with a basic set of skills which they can either pursue further or reserve for an emergency fallback.

Methods of apprenticeship are more obvious for some skills than for others. Traditional trades such as carpentry or electrical have many examples of how to apprentice. Other fields require creative thought. Some examples of ways in which fathers can begin to apprentice children are:

  • Bringing home materials from seminars in the work place and teaching what is valuable to the children.
  • Taking children to work.
  • Arranging part time work (paid or free) for older children in the father's work place so that the children gain an understanding of the specific work place environment, methods, and expectations.
  • Teaching children related skills which are often forgotten. For example, Earl is a computer networking specialist, but his work requires an understanding of business and public speaking. The blend of all three skills forms the value he brings to his employer. All three skills are ones to include in home education.
  • Taking children to classes in the work place. Earl has had good success with taking older children with him to classes he has taught. With the current emphasis in business on caring for the family (e.g. "take your daughter to work day"), many employers will be receptive to allowing children to attend company provided classes with their father.
  • Helping father with his work. Unfortunately, our family has not yet been a good example of this. While helping father with his work is obvious for a self employed carpenter, ways to help in Earl's work are not so obvious. One way Earl has done this is to let our eldest son edit his written work thus exposing him to the output of Earl's work and improving the quality of his work. We do ask our household to proofread all that we write here for FHC, but our family has been very slow to catch on to these ideas.

Support groups can offer a help here if they are willing to provide opportunities for fathers to share their expertise with those who may wish to learn from them. Understanding this principle of apprenticeship, Bill Gothard is working to implement it; however, he is only one person limited, as all of us are, by being able to personally work with only a small number of people and only in his own area of expertise which is mass ministry. Two other limitations with the Gothard apprenticeship are that not all home schoolers wish to participate in the whole Gothard program and many children need to leave home to participate in this apprenticeship. Some home schooled children finish academic studies by age 16, but the family does not believe it is time for the child to leave the tutelage of parents. Support groups need to plan for these needs by giving fathers the opportunity to share their expertise with the families in the support group.

Support groups have worked well to provide phonics, math, science, foreign language etc. support, but very few have broken from the "school", "institution", "certificate" mentality of state education. Every home schooling father provides income for his family. Each one is an "expert" in some field. Perhaps we can think of "field trips" with fathers within our own support groups to exploit the ability God has put in each group to open doors for training our children. :note. We encourage expanding our entire thinking about "field trips" away from entertainment and tourist attractions and towards learning about productive businesses of people we personally know. We so easily accept the spirit of our age which exalts whatever is entertaining and squashes the value of productive work.

Copyright by Earl & Diane Rodd