“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.”
Jesus had a pretty high opinion of kids. The verse directly before the one above says that “whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” The one before that says, “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
I think of these verses every time someone questions whether or not it is biblical to unschool. I think of these before I think of those about freedom. I think of these before I think of those about parenting. I think of these before I think of those about education. Why? Because no matter what else an unschooling journey is, it begins with the children. If it were not for the children, there would be no unschooling.
(I see you shaking your head. But, but… what about the verses about discipline? What about the “training” verses? I’ll get to those, in my next – and final – post on the subject. This one is about the kids.)
I think children are wonderful (and it’s a good thing, since I have four of them ) but even I am pretty awed by the weight of the above verses. Not only are we to welcome children in God’s name, not only are we to humble ourselves like children, not only are children the greatest in the kingdom of heaven… but we are to actually BECOME like children. Pretty strong words, don’t you think?
BECOME like children…
I know a lot of adults who could stand to become more like children. Children naturally have so many beautiful traits that are so often lost as they become adults! I don’t ever want my children to lose that certain something… that part that believes in magic, and miracles, and the goodness of others. I don’t want them to rush to grow up. I don’t want them to lose their spark, or lose their love of life, or lose their love of learning. I don’t want them to ever lose their faith.
- full of wonder
- innately curious about the world around them
They are specifically, and perfectly, and uniquely created, exactly as they are. They are not potential productive members of society… they are productive members of society right now. They are deserving of being treated with dignity and respect. They are not – as many would have you believe – second-class citizens.
I have four children. They all have their own personalities, their own interests, their own passions, their own styles of learning. They all have their own unique sense of self. They all have their own paths. I want to honor that, and honor them, the way Jesus honored children. One of the ways I choose to do that is by unschooling. By spending my days with them. By nurturing my relationship with them. By guiding them and helping them and trusting them. By giving them the freedom to live and learn in their own way at their own pace in their own time.
Unschooling (and homeschooling in general) is not right for every family. Absolutely! But I can’t help but think that no matter what educational route we choose, as parents we still have the right, and the responsibility, to love our children as fiercely as Jesus did. To respect them, to appreciate them, to honor them, exactly as they are, exactly where they are. To in fact hold them in such high regard that we view them as examples of what we ourselves want to become.