Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: recreation

School at home

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Man homeschooling young daughter – shutterstock_283575290 (2)

It looks like children will have to learn at home at least until the end of April. Does that seem overwhelming? Here are a few thoughts that might make it easier.

  • Begin the day with God. Read from the Bible and pray with your children.
  • Children have more time in the day now, since they don’t ride the school bus. Don’t let them sleep in. They should get ready for the day as usual, do their school work, and have more free time later.
  • If Mom is now the teacher, the children should help more with the meal planning and preparation, house cleaning and laundry. Home Ec is a legitimate life skill.
  • If there are multiple children, in multiple grades, the older ones should help the younger. This is also a valuable life skill.
  • Improvise. Age segregation is not needed for all subjects.
  • Don’t try to replicate the setting of a school classroom.
  • Do establish a schedule.
  • Don’t let Dad off the hook. If he is home, the children will be thrilled to have him help with their school work.
  • Learning to learn is an essential life skill. Let the children figure things out for themselves and do their own research as much as possible.
  • Don’t forget to have fun; children need recreation and physical activity to keep their minds clear.

Having fun is not the purpose of our life.

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Happiness is often confused with having fun. But ask yourself, isn’t the root of your desire for fun a wish to have your attention diverted from your problems, at least for a moment? To feel a constant need for amusement, entertainment, or recreation is self-defeating and even self-destructive.

If our happiness is dependent on what other people do, or on other people leaving us alone to do our own thing, they will always disappoint us and spoil our fun.

What is happiness? Isn’t it a feeling of contentment, a sense that things are going well? That’s what we really long for, isn’t it? It is not popularity, or a belief that everybody admires me, or envies me. “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain.”

To paraphrase Solomon: “He that loveth fun shall not be satisfied with fun; nor he that loveth excitement with extreme thrills.” Fun will always disappoint us, we can never get enough to satisfy us.

The only reasonable thing to do then is to abandon all attempts to make ourselves happy and do our utmost to make others happy. Even then, happiness does not depend on the thankfulness of the other person, though that is sometimes an added benefit. It is quite alright if our kindness goes unnoticed, unseen by others.

Neither does happiness lie in slapping a band aid on someone’s wound, going my way and congratulating myself on what a good fellow I am. Helping someone else starts with listening. That may become painful and messy, but they need someone to listen. Sometimes that is all we can do. Sometimes that is enough.

True happiness lies in knowing that we have done something to make life a little better, a little less painful, for someone else. It is the feeling that we have done what we could.

Separate from the world

The text which follows is a very much abridged excerpt from J. C. Ryle’s Practical Christianity, which was first published in 1867.  John Charles Ryle (1816-1900) was a leader of the evangelical wing of the Church of England, and bishop of Liverpool from 1880 to 1900.

The subject perhaps was never more important than it is at the present day.  There is a widely spread desire to make things pleasant in religion – to saw off the corners and the edges of the cross, and to avoid, as far as possible, self-denial.  On every side, we hear professing Christians declaring loudly that we must not be narrow and exclusive, and that there is no harm in many things which the honest saints of old thought bad for their souls.  We may go anywhere and do anything and keep company and plunge into anything, and all the while may be very good Christians – this is the maxim of thousands.  In a day like this, I think it good to raise a warning voice and invite attention to the teaching of God’s Word: “Come out and be separate.”

When I speak of the world, I mean those people who think only or chiefly of this world’s things, and neglect the world to come: the people who are always thinking more of earth than of heaven, more of time than of eternity, more of the body than of the soul, more of pleasing man than of pleasing God.  It is of them and their ways, habits, customs, opinions, practices, tastes, aims, spirit, and tone that I am speaking when I speak of the world.  This is the world from which Paul tell us to ‘come out and be separate.’

I shall try to show what true separation from the world really is.

1.  First and foremost, he that desires to ‘come out from the world and be separate’ must steadily and habitually refuse to to be guided by the world’s standard of right and wrong.

2.  He that desires to ‘come out from the world and be separate’ must be very careful of how he spends his leisure time.

3.  He that desires to ‘come out from the world and be separate’ must steadily and habitually determine not to be swallowed up and absorbed in the business of the world.

4.  He that desires to ‘come out from the world and be separate’ must steadily abstain from all amusements and recreations which are inseparably connected with sin.

5.  He that desires to ‘come out from the world and be separate’ must be moderate in the use of lawful and innocent recreations.

6.  Last, but not least, he that desires to ‘come out from the world and be separate’ must be careful how he allows himself in friendships, intimacies, and close relationships with worldly people.

I offer these six general hints to all who wish to follow Paul’s advice and come out from the world and be separate.  In all doubtful cases, we should first pray for wisdom and sound judgement.  In all doubtful cases, let us often try ourselves by recollecting the eye of God.  Would I really go to such and such a place, or do such and such a thing, if I really thought God was looking at me?  Finally, in all doubtful cases, let us find out what the conduct of the holiest and best Christians has been under similar circumstances.  We need not be ashamed to follow good examples.

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