Industrial Waste…part 3

This week my boys completed their biggest project ever.  They did it together and they did it for the Church.  In honor of Mokuaikaua’s 195th Anniversary Celebration I wrote down the true story of the coming of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Hawaii which the boys then illustrated, copied and assembled into coloring book form.  They then spent all day Saturday at the street fair selling the books to raise money for the church.  It was a real 9-5 job and the culmination of hours of labor and more than one late night standing assembly-line-style putting these things together.  Needless to say, a lot of school books lay neglected for a couple weeks as they poured over Hawaiian history texts studying pictures and then creating their own renditions.  They even came up with some cool shadowing effects using clear overhead sheets.  Each boy contributed their own artistic talents to the project and then worked tirelessly to see it from conception to production and then on to sales.  Our goal was to share the amazing story of God’s redeeming work in the islands with 195 children and we nearly met that goal in just two days!

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Obviously Tom and I were super proud of their artistry, hard work, team effort, and willingness to contribute to a greater cause.  But mostly I was struck by how my children have so much more to offer the world than I gave them credit for.  It seems like all my work from morning till night is all about turning these boys into men of God.  Teaching them basic manners and social skills, how to take care of themselves and the space around them, educating them in all the subjects a liberal education requires, cultivating their talents, encouraging them in their gifts, protecting them from harm… all so they can make it into adulthood and start doing whatever work God has prepared for them to do.

But what if He has work for them to do right now?

When I started this series on Industrial Waste (hopefully the title will begin to make more sense as my thoughts unfold) my intent was to explore how the modern education industry is depriving our boys of the satisfaction, self-confidence, independence, and practical skills that productive work can provide.  But after researching this story and learning how God used a couple Hawaiian boys in their early teens to bring the Gospel and the written word to these shores, how both spread throughout the islands like wildfire culminating in a 95% conversion rate and 75% literacy rate where 30 years prior there had been no alphabet and one of the ugliest forms of paganism imaginable, and then after seeing first hand how my own boys could be used in building up Christ’s Kingdom, I was struck by an even greater form of waste.  Not only does compulsory schooling deprive the workforce of a huge percentage of potential workers, it deprives the Kingdom of some of it’s most valuable laborers as well.

I am not at all saying that all Christian children should be pulled out of school and sent out on the mission field (after all schools themselves are a field ripe for the harvest).  But I am saying that forcing every child to give up more than 12 years of their life to a system that isn’t fully designed for their personal benefit doesn’t show much improvement over the circumstances the child labor laws were designed to prevent.  And further, if compulsory education is stifling a child’s God given talents then we as parents and teachers are doing nothing short of quenching the Spirit’s work in their life and the lives they could be impacting for His glory.

As I am preparing our lessons for this new week I realize that the boys are now a bit behind in their math, grammar, and geography texts and we are going to have some major catching up to do in the weeks to come.  But there is a dear Hawaiian lady on the little island of Molokai with a stack of coloring books that she is eager to distribute to children in her community.  Another Hawaiian “Aunty” has a stack set aside to put in the shoe boxes she fills every Christmas for Samaritans Purse.  Who knows how far around the world this true story of God’s love for an isolated people in the middle of the Pacific might go?

It’s time for me to reevaluate our education goals.  Are my efforts to turn these boys into productive citizens and godly leaders of the future hampering the work God has gifted them to accomplish for His kingdom RIGHT NOW?  I’m not talking about forcing my kids into religious servitude.  That’s not any better than child factory labor or compulsory schooling.  But is my drive to make sure they measure up to some bureaucratic standards squelching their opportunities to develop the talents God gave them for His glory?  I was truly humbled to see what they could accomplish when given the freedom and opportunity to step up and serve in this way.  And I’m more than excited to see the ways God will be using their gifts, not just far off down the road, but right around the next corner.

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16 thoughts on “Industrial Waste…part 3

  1. Amazing–your thoughts.
    I just started watching a documentary on this topic called “schooled”. Your sentiments go hand in hand with what the presenter is discussing

    Thank you for having the courage to follow God’s leading in your home and school.

    Here’s a link, in case you want more data.

    http://www.beltoftruthministries.org/schooled/
    (I’m not affiliated with them, but have been tremendously blessed by their ministry!)

    Here’s a free link to an audio talk that touches on the same info

    https://www.audioverse.org/english/sermons/recordings/7067/1-schooled-and-mediaaddicted-the-outsourcing-of-parenting-and-its-tragic-results.html

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Not only does compulsory schooling deprive the workforce of a huge percentage of potential workers, it deprives the Kingdom of some of it’s most valuable laborers as well.”

    While I understand the point you are trying to make from a homeschooling perspective, I think that statement may place some limitations on God’s Kingdom.

    Great job on the coloring book, boys!! Hope you saved one for me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Remember I’m not just speaking from a “homeschooling perspective.” I was in the public system all the way through university and so I know it can be weathered and even credited with major successes (your own family is a praiseworthy example of that). I’m also a huge fan of Christian schools where they prove beneficial (and affordable) to the student. My gripe is when we subject our children to wasting more than a dozen years of their lives in a setting that does not meet with what I consider to be a necessary criteria not just for childhood but for every year to follow and that is to “have life, and life abundantly.” And yes, even the most well-meaning homeschool can squelch that gift.

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  3. Right on!!! And kudos to you and your boys with the successful book sales!! With 6 of our grandchildren being raised as homeschoolers and 6 of our grandchildren being raised in Christian and public school settings we have been able to observe the differences first hand. All of them have been blessed with excellent teaching but we definitely see the “cut above” that our homeschoolers demonstrate. The important thing is to obey God’s direction in how He is leading your own family and the particular type of educational environment in which He wants to mold your children. We are seeing you do just that!!

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    • Oh dear. I think my post may have been misunderstood to have meant that because public schools can be such torture (especially for many boys), everyone should homeschool. That is not my point at all. I certainly don’t think that the very act of homeschooling is any guarantor of being “a cut-above.” My point is that keeping a child in ANY environment that squelches their God-given talents and curiosities and binds them to a performance driven system year after year after year completely undermines the fact that even the littlest child can be of far greater value to world than a test score.

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  4. WOW! I’m impressed! You guys can hang up a new shingle: McEntee & Sons Publishers. And you already have two apt Hawaiian ladies as distributors. I hope you save a few copies of the best selling coloring book for distribution to your friends over here. In regard to the boys, Julie, don’t plan great things for them yourself, just keep instilling in their hearts and minds love for the Lord. Their Heavenly Father will call them into His service as He wills and sees fit.

    Opa

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, it’s not hard to be “the best selling coloring book” when you’re the only one in your category. I must say you threw me off a little with your advice “not to plan great things for them” myself but I think I get your point 🙂 I DO expect great things from them but only because I know The One who has begun the good work in their lives will be faithful to carry it on to completion. I just don’t want to be so focused on the completion that I bypass all the amazing steps in that direction, which I grant will most likely rarely be along the path I might have chosen for them. 🙂

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  5. OMNI-WOW here too! A beautifully crafted book and story . . . Jeremiah 29 . . . “God knows the plans” . . . We’re in line for copies, too! Love and hugs!!

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  6. “It seems like all my work from morning till night is all about turning these boys into men of God. Teaching them basic manners and social skills, how to take care of themselves and the space around them, educating them in all the subjects a liberal education requires, cultivating their talents, encouraging them in their gifts, protecting them from harm… all so they can make it into adulthood and start doing whatever work God has prepared for them to do.” This is my life. I love your fresh, new NOW perspective .

    Wow, what an amazing job. Good kind of proud, right?! I just needed this encouragement to let them do and create and work and explore without *my* constant plan! ;). This is hard for me, Julie! I’m a planner and don’t give my kiddos much wiggle room!!! I need to get on “island time” on this Arkansas farm and see what happens– or God time ;). What a beautiful experience. And, we’re in line for coloring books, too!

    “But is my job to make sure they measure up…” (My copy & paste isn’t working so I can’t include entire sentence, but I think you wrote that sentence for me!) 💜 and xxx to you dear sister!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hugs to you, too! I think we’re both in the same boat with our tendency to over plan. But God’s thrown me for just enough loops that I’m slowly learning to trust His wisdom over my own. I haven’t stopped being terrified about it most nights though! Still have lot’s of room to grow in that regard.

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  7. Oh, wow, what a wonderful project! They aren’t truly behind in anything at all because look at how much they learned about working, sharing, being a team, putting a project together, history, Jesus, missionaries, and more. What a wonderful idea.
    I love all of your points here. I have not thought about how at times pushing someone else’s educational agenda can stifle their God-given gifts. I have one boy that this truly applies to. I push him in school stuff (because he is not naturally inclined in writing/reading/memorizing), but he has so many other God given abilities that are what he truly needs to build on for his life work. Of course, he still needs to be able to read and write, but I do have to learn to chill!
    Great post!!!

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    • Here’s the thing about reading and writing (and we might as well add arithmetic to the equation as well): it shouldn’t take 8 hours a day (+ homework) for 13 years to gain enough literary proficiency to get one through life. Who decided that every single person needs to know every single thing and that they all need to know it by 18? But that’s a rant better left for another post 🙂

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      • Oh, I so do not miss homework!!! 😉 I am beginning to enjoy the fact that homeschooling allows children to work more on their strengths, leaving them feeling less frustrated with their weaknesses.

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  8. Pingback: Industrial Waste… part 4 | fullmanger

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