Earl & Diane Rodd 22 August 1988 93 Great Ryrie St. Heathmont, Victoria 3135 Phone (03) 879-4082


  1. There will not be a regular Sunday meeting in October because of the seminar on October 7th and 8th.
  2. Please see the inserted notice for information about the seminar.
  3. Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore, who have conducted much research on home schooling over many years, will be in the Melbourne area from Oct. 19-21. For information, contact Pastor Doug Duncan on (052)-43-4432.
  4. Bromwyn Lee (221-1658) is working on organising a sports afternoon each week at a sports facility in the Kilsyth area.
  5. Scripture quoted in newsletters is from the New American Standard Bible.
  6. For those who know Rosanne Trevaskis, she has given birth to twin girls!
  7. We are thankful for the safe arrival of Nathanael Joseph Rodd on Sept. 11. He weighed 9 pounds!
Socialization and the Pressure to Conform

Concerning the ever present temptation to be conformed to the world around us, the Bible says,

Romans 12:2
3. And do not be conformed to this world , but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

I John 2:15
16. Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
17. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
18. And the world is passing away, and {also} its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.

I Peter 1:14
15. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts {which were yours} in your ignorance,

Galations 1:4
5. who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us out of this present evil age (or world), according to the will of our God and Father,

With such strong statements about our relationship with the world and its lusts and its ways of thinking, we can see that this must be an important issue for the Christian.

An example of the thinking of the world was evident in a recent TV news item on channel 10 Melbourne concerning home schooling. We have not spoken to the families interviewed so we do not know the spirit in which the interviews were conducted. Our purpose here is simply to analyze what the TV people chose as important material to put into the news item. We observed two key points in the interviews.

Our purpose here is not to complain about the TV item but rather to help Christian parents to understand the pressure to conform. We believe that the TV item is an accurate reflection of the thinking and attitudes of the world in which we live and therefore it is worthwhile for us to consider what was said. Three specific items in the news program which demonstrate the point are:

  1. A teenage girl was questioned. She was pressed on whether she wished she were at school. She was not asked whether she felt she was prepared for the challenges of the work place, informed citizenship or family life!
  2. A family mentioned that the law simply required "regular and efficient" instruction. The TV people made no attempt to find out the meaning of "regular and efficient" instruction! Surely, this should be the burning issue!
  3. A final comment by the TV commentator raised the concern that home schooled children would miss out on learning from the "school of hard knocks on the playground". As I thought about this, the full impact of the suggestion became clear - socialization is so important to the world that it goes to the extreme to say that a critical ingredient in education is getting picked on and beat up on the playground! Yet millions of dollars are spent on "mental health" to deal with the results of this very "socialisation".
As Christians, we must be aware of the strength of the pressure to conform. When we hear the word "socialisation", we must train our minds to immediately translate "socialisation" to "be conformed to the world" which God's Word directly commands us not to do! We must face the fact that in our modern society, being well socialised (conformed) means drinking regularly, being sexually promiscuous, experimenting with drugs and despising Christ. What is the result of living as Christ commands (and in His blessing) in a pagan world? We and our children will be strangers and aliens. We see this attitude in the Bible

I Peter 2:11
12. Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul.

We want to make one final point about the TV item, even though not related to our topic of discussion. The legal views presented were not correct. The TV item quoted a government officer as saying that government approval is required for "regular and efficient" instruction. This is not stated in the law but is only an uninformed opinion. Most education department officers are accustomed to dealing with formal correspondence which does require approval and thus are likely to give such an answer if queried. Also, there were statements made in the report indicating that parents home schooling their children could be subject to fines. The relevant laws (the Education Act and Community and Welfare Services Act) of Victoria make no such provision.

The Entertainment Syndrome

First of all we want to state clearly that our objective in this discussion is not to put pressure or condemnation on anything which individual families find a joy and edifying within their families, but rather to release families from pressure to perform in certain ways.

Mind-numbing entertainment is so prevalent in our culture that the mentality that everything must be entertaining can crepe into our thinking in subtle ways. Schools have attempted to become "child centered" and make all learning "fun". This has resulted in an attempt to make school into an entertainment center. This approach is not only a failure, but is un-Biblical. As discussed in an earlier newsletter regarding entertainment, the Bible says that joy is a beautiful part of life, but not foolishness. We read,

I Peter 5:8
9. Be of sober {spirit,} be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

II Timothy 4:5
6. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

I Peter 1:13
14. Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober {in spirit,} fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Thus we can see that we are to remain sober in spirit. This does not exclude joy, but does exclude foolishness. We can see God's thoughts about foolishness when Jesus said,

Mark 7:21
22. "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries,
23. deeds of coveting {and} wickedness, {as well as} deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride {and} foolishness
24. "All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man."

With the encouragement we have in God's Word to be of sober spirit, I believe that we can resist the pressure which comes from our culture to think that we have to provide "entertainment" for our children. Of course, children will enjoy many things that they do. God has made us to have joy as we live in His blessings. Even hard work can be joyful! In our experience, some parents feel pressure to provide a great deal of entertainment for their children in their home training programs and some of this pressure comes from reading the myriad of promotional material for various curriculums. We do not necessarily fault the authors of the material, rather we believe that some of this pressure comes from seeing so many different programs available.

However, one strong point does need to be made regarding entertainment and learning. For a child who grows up of sober spirit and whose mind has not been numbed by countless hours of passive entertainment, learning (even when accompanied by hard work) itself is stimulating, rewarding and even fun!

In our experience a somewhat rigorous program can in the end be very enjoyable to the child because he has the reward of being able to do things which are new skills. For example, the Spalding reading program (which anyone who has talked about reading with us knows, we like), is not a "fun and games" program. In fact, it is so free of "games" that it is usable with adults as well as with 4-6 year-olds! However, the reward for the child using Spalding is that he learns to read very well and this opens up a whole new and exciting world to him! He can now explore the vast treasures available in books, and he is an active explorer, not a passive watcher.

Left to their carnal natures, children will be foolish. But Proverbs says,

Proverbs 22:15
16. Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.

Part of our Godly role as parents is to train children to be sober minded and not foolish. If we fall for the pressure to provide entertainment for our children (especially young children) for all the hours of the day, we may actually work against the Biblical objective of training children to be sober minded.

Again we want to be clear that we do not want to put pressure or condemnation on anyone. If you find that your 5 year old has a full day of activities, and you are not under pressure to "perform" to keep him entertained, then our comments are not meant to make you feel condemned. Rather, we believe you are finding the beautiful fruit of home schooling which comes when children readily fill their days with worthwhile activity. Because God has made each family as a special creation with a special purpose in His Kingdom, families will differ very much in the kinds of activities which fill their days. Some training must be done which is just plain hard work. But beyond that, we can be at peace with God to not feel pressure to entertain.

:note. We have just received notice that Bromwyn Lee (phone 221-1658) has organised a badmitten session at Kilsyth Stadium from 1PM-3PM on Tuesdays for the next 4-6 weeks. Cost approximately .50 per person.

Copyright by Earl & Diane Rodd