David K. Wilcox: Why It’s Good to Raise Your Children With ‘a Village’

As a Christian parent, I’m sure you shout “Thank You, Lord!” when you find others of like mind who actually enjoy your kids and are a positive influence. Christian teachers, youth ministers, and other Christian mentors are gifts from God. Yes, it is your responsibility to rear your children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, but it is wonderful to have others come alongside and share in the challenge and joy.

It is not only wonderful; it is right. Our focus on the importance of the nuclear family and our inclination to “make it on our own” can cause us to undervalue the advantage of raising our children within a community of faith.

There are biblical principles that guide parents’ decisions to share and delegate some responsibilities for their children’s nurture and instruction. Consistent with those principles, Christian schooling offers an incredible opportunity for you to share your responsibility with fellow believers—people who share your worldview and are part of the household of faith.

Parents partnering: Our historical and biblical heritage

To fulfill your parental responsibilities before God, you should rightfully accept the primary, or ultimate, responsibility to raise your children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. While some families have chosen to fulfill this responsibility alone, it is clear that for generations, many Christian parents, if not most, have shared some of their responsibilities or delegated them to teachers, church members, and other trusted adults. In Bible times the synagogue was the place of instruction for the children of the faithful, and we know that Jesus Himself taught other people’s children.

We see sharing and delegation of parental responsibilities both in the 1 Samuel 1–2 account of Samuel’s youth, in which God seems to have blessed his mother’s decision to delegate responsibilities (see 2:26), and in Titus 2, in which believers are clearly teaching others not of their immediate family but within the family of faith.

Defining family biblically

A Bible word search in the New American Standard Bible brings up 94 instances of the word family. Other translations produce similar results. The normal usage, in both Testaments, was what we now call the extended family. The words or phrases translated into English as family actually mean clan, tribe, or those living under the same roof. The same word used in Exodus 12:4 for household and family is used of a much larger group—the house of Israel—in Isaiah 5:7. What is the implication? The expectations placed on “families” were not for the biological mother and father alone; they were responsibilities of nurturance, integrity, and consistency that were placed on a larger, connected group. This is part of serving one another.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, David K. Wilcox