Are We Doing It for You, Daddy?

1 May 2001

It was suppertime at the Fox’s, and we were discussing the Right to Life vigil that would be held that evening around the Graham Courthouse. This was the twenty-eighth anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion.

One of the kids said to Judah, who was not sure about this vigil idea, “It’s cool, Judah! You get to hold a candle!” Another added, “Yeah! And we might get our picture in the paper!” Judah was mildly impressed, but I was surprised at what I heard them say. “Guys! The reason we do this every year is not to hold candles or because we might get our picture in the paper. If that’s why you’re doing it, I’d rather you stay home.”

There was a slight pause, then five-year-old Judah flashed his big brown eyes at me and asked, “Are we doing it for you, Daddy?”

Cindy said, “Oh, how sweet,” and my eyes pooled with tears at Judah’s innocence. And I thanked God for the high and holy privilege He has given us parents, the privilege and the delight of leading children to faith and obedience.

“Are we doing it for you, Daddy?” There are lots of applications for Judah’s simple question, but one that comes to mind is our motive for homeschooling. Are we doing it because it’s fun? (“You get to hold a candle!”) Or are we doing it because it’s popular? (“You might get your picture in the paper!”). Are Cindy and I doing it for us—or for our children? Are we doing it because we don’t want them to be in public school? Are we doing it for academic reasons, or for social reasons? Is the reason a combination of all of the above? Or is the answer B, C and sometimes D?

No, those aren’t the reasons we homeschool. The simple answer to the question, “Why do you homeschool?” is, “Because Daddy told us to.” To be honest, none of the other reasons would have kept us for eleven years. However, for us, homeschooling is not an academic preference, it is a spiritual mandate. Our heavenly Daddy told us to do it, even before our first child was born, and that settled the issue with us. And that takes the pressure off of us and puts it on Daddy! If He told us to do it, and we are busy following His instructions, we can rest assured that He will take care of the outcomes. The education of our children is absolutely “outcome based” because we know Who causes all outcomes!

When John Quincy Adams served in the US House of Representatives (in his latter years, after his presidency), he took up the cause of the abolition of slavery. He labored tirelessly, petitioning the Congress to end this horrid practice. His voice fell on deaf ears, and most in the Congress even ridiculed him for what appeared to be spitting into the wind. Adams was asked once by a friend, “Why do you persist when there is no encouragement, no change, no difference?” He replied, “Duty belongs to us; results belong to God.”

John Quincy Adams was not battling for the end to slavery because it was fun! Nor was he laboring because it was popular! No, Adams did not have a preference about slavery, he had a conviction. He was doing it for Daddy.

GREENHOUSE is NCHE's flagship publication. 

GREENHOUSE magazine is published fall and spring plus an annual graduate issue in May. GREENHOUSE is mailed to NCHE members.