Back to what?

I’ve been disturbed by all the TV commercials, articles and blog posts by moms elated that their kids are going back to school. They generally portray school as a way to free the moms to do important things, regain their sanity or some other noteworthy pursuit.

This would be sad enough if it was only happening by people who did not love Jesus, but it is especially disturbing when moms who profess Jesus chime in with their undying gratitude to offload their kids onto someone else during the day. One that threw me off recently was a very popular Christian author and speaker who posted a picture of her and three of her mom friends jumping off a boat into a lake with giant smiles and the caption “Dealing with our grief on the first day of school. Trying to cope. Send prayers.”

Simply put, this is sad and pathetic. Schools serve a purpose and certainly not everyone is required to home school or never leave the side of their child to be a God honoring parent, but to gloat and revel at the notion that you don’t have to be around the child God Himself personally entrusted to you is really outrageous. Think of some of the lies you have to believe to revel in getting rid of your kids.

I’m not responsible for the irritating things in my child that have me happy they are gone. All kids (and parents) have sin struggles and idiosyncrasies that make them hard to be around sometimes. But the truth is the Bible is very clear that if your child is habitually sinning to the point where you think getting away from them for eight or nine hours per day that parents are primarily responsible for it. Ignoring the problem rather than spending time correcting it not only guarantees your child will continue in it and harms those your pushed him or her onto, but brings shame to the name of Christ.

My kids will never know my own comfort is more important to me than they are. Of course it’s hard to hide a Facebook post seen by hundreds of thousands of people from your kids, but even if a mom isn’t that obvious, the Bible says that it’s out of the overflow of the heart that the mouth speaks (Luke 6:4345). If you are excited about the chance to get away from your kids then it’s almost 100% certain that you place your comfort ahead of their good lots of times besides going back to school. Don’t kid yourself – children are more intuitive than we admit.

I deserve a break from my kids. I want to be careful here because there are seasons for all sorts of things, and there is nothing wrong in taking time away from kids to invest in a marriage or other ministry activity. My problem is with the way people describe their experience of sending their kids back to school. When you see something like “I had to console myself with a pedicure and a glass of blush!“or “Yeah! Well deserved!” (actual comments) it denies the reality that what all of us deserve is an eternity in Hell.

God is a not good. Psalm 34:10 (and about a thousand other verses) make it clear that God is good. Everything He does is good and He does not withhold anything good from those who seek Him. God did not punish you by letting you spend extra time with your kids – it was a good thing. Acting like summers with your kids was something to be escaped rather than treasured denies the goodness of God in everything. If you wasted the summer by pining away for the moment when you could get rid of your kids and get back to your coffee clutch or book club or ladies bible study or whatever activity will now fill your time that means you think God is only good for 9 months a year.

Offloading my kids is better than turning to the church to help bear my burdens. I readily admit that there are some times when having kids around for the summer, especially smaller kids, can be challenging. The question then becomes what is the most God-centered way to deal with the extra burden? The Bible says to do two things – run to Jesus in prayer and run to your church family for burden bearing support. Sending your kids out of your presence is not really a God-centered option to deal with burdens.

I could list 10 more lies that are necessary to believe to revel in sending your kids to school but I think I’ve made my point. Children are a blessing from the Lord. They may not act like it every moment of every day but they are. Christians believe that God placed specific children in our families for their good but also for ours. Those who don’t love their own kids enough to work through conflict or discomfort are also not going to love lost people enough to show them Jesus or a church family enough to fulfill any of the one another commands necessary for a healthy church body.