I get annoyed when homeschool parents start telling other parents, “It’s wrong to homeschool out of fear.”
Why do I get annoyed?
The first reason is because it’s ridiculous.
All parents make choices for their children based on fear (i.e. actual legitimate concerns about a situation).
When did being concerned about real danger become wrong?
When did protecting your children from danger become a sin?
Where is the Bible verse that says you aren’t allowed to protect your children from danger or be concerned when they are in danger?
The second reason is because that’s simply not what the Bible says.
You see, there’s more than one kind of fear.
We know this because the Bible tells us to both “fear God” and to “fear not.”
Why would we be told to do both –to fear and to not fear– if both options didn’t exist, if there wasn’t more than one kind of fear?
One kind of fear is respect –like the kind we are supposed to have for God and leaders.
Another kind is natural fear, the human instinct that keeps you and your children safe in an emergency situation –the kind of intuition that helps you know something isn’t right and needs to change.
Another kind –the kind that we’re told not to have according to scripture– is cowardice or cowardly fear.
If all fear is bad –a sin– then even locking your doors or telling your children to stay out of the street would be a sin.
That’s just silly!
If you listen to the proponents of this idea then anytime you are not acting in faith, you’re in fear and sinning.
The problem with this idea is that fear is not the opposite of faith.
Doubt is the opposite of faith.
(See links at the bottom of the post for references.)
Now, about cowardly fear: if you see your child in a dangerous situation and push through all the opposition fighting to help him –to do what’s best for him– is that cowardice?
That’s doing the hard thing.
That is courageous!
That’s actually faith-building and requires that you trust God way more than if you were just staying with the status quo.
I would even say that sometimes staying with the status quo is the cowardly thing to do –depending on the situation– because let’s be honest, it’s way easier to leave the children in public school: homeschooling is not easy, and anyone who says that it is easy obviously hasn’t tried.
Anyone who says that homeschooling because of fear –because you fear the real-life dangers of the school environment to your child’s heart, mind, soul, and body– is a sin actually misunderstands what the Bible was saying.
We are supposed to be brave, yes.
We are not supposed to doubt, I agree.
But acting in defense of your children is neither cowardice or doubting!
It is wisdom and prudence.
Only a fool says “there’s no danger” when there really is danger!
God gave us brains, and He expects us to use them: if we can avoid danger, we should –even Paul got away from danger when he could.
In the early days of homeschooling, anti-homeschool advocates in the Christian community began to tell the homeschool families that their children should be in public school because they were homeschooling in fear which the opponents falsely claimed was a sin.
That’s where it all started: someone tried to use the Bible to back their pro-public school, anti-home education position.
But, it has been adopted by homeschoolers who will actually tell other parents not to homeschool if they are taking their children out of the school system in fear of what will happen to them at school.
And, it makes me angry when a mom with genuine concerns —real, healthy, rational fears about gun violence, abuse, bullying, the poor supervision, or the poor education offered in the local school— is told that she is in sin if she homeschools because she would be homeschooling in fear and not faith.
That doesn’t even make sense!
Plus, fear and faith are not mutually exclusive –I both fear God and have faith in Him.
Not all fear is sin.
I have no doubt that advocates of this idea still lock their doors at night and don’t leave young children unattended near a fire … just like any reasonable, responsible, prudent parent would out of concern –out of fear– of what might happen to them.
Wouldn’t they be in sin, too –living in fear?
So, do what you think is best for your child.
Act in wisdom.
And, don’t listen to the people who say that natural fear is lack of faith.
It is not.
It is a God-given, built-in defence that protects us and our children from real-life danger.
Just like God intended it to.
I tip my hat to the courageous, wise, amazing parents who saw real danger and acted on behalf of their children.
And, for those who disagree with me: I invite you to come over to my house the next time the wild cougars are wandering around.
You’re welcome to try out your “all fear is sin” theory in a real-life situation.
Maybe the cougars will change your mind.