| from Suzanne Phillips |

Years ago, my husband and I were considering a new option for our children’s education. We were not only considering a change of schools, we were considering starting one! During the due diligence process we worked with someone who had years of experience in curriculum research and choice. We had personally experienced several different types of education and schools between our three children. During this process of investigation, a thought occurred to me, “Why haven’t I ever asked or investigated the curriculum my children have been learning all along?” At that time the thought wasn’t so much about what they were learning as it was about my role as a parent. Why had it not occurred to me to ask what my children were being taught during the 8 hours a day they were under someone else’s authority and care??  After all what they were learning was not only shaping their intellect, but their worldview, beliefs, convictions, friendships, values, identity, future and family! 

I began to think….Who was teaching my children? What did they believe? When were they being taught what they were being taught? Was the information being taught developmentally appropriate? Did they share the same values? 

I’m not a big helicopter mom. I believe the best lessons often come from challenging circumstances, hardship and failure. That’s not what I’m talking about. This was a personal conviction about my role as a parent. Why had I, for years, handed my children over to schools with blind trust, abdicating my responsibility as a parent to understand how my children were being trained for life? 

My children are now grown and on their own. But I learned a valuable lesson in that season. Regardless of who is teaching or training my children, I, as the parent, am responsible for what my children are being fed and what they are ingesting. If you are a parent, then the Lord has placed you in a leadership role. To lead simply means to go first. We go ahead of our children to ensure their safety and therefore their security. Parenting requires due diligence. 

When they are little we train “stranger danger” and not to run in front of cars. We watch for them even before we watch with them. We lead them by the hand before we send them out. As they grow, we discuss the dangers of drugs, drinking and driving and premarital sex. We lead them by sharing the boundaries and appropriate use of medicine or alcohol should they choose to drink socially. We share God’s design for sex. These discussions are meant to instill safety and security both in the present and for their future. Occupationally leaders do background checks to ensure the safety and security of their business and workplace. They know that each member of the team will impact the culture and future of the organization. Do we do the same for our family and our children as we consider the influence of others? 

Do you know their friends and their friend’s parents? Do you know what apps they have and how they are using them? Do you know the dangers of Tik Tok and other social media platforms? Do you know what they are being taught in the classroom? What books they are reading and the themes? What games they are playing? Sometimes danger is hidden in the people and places we trust the most.

In no way am I saying this is easy. In fact, I’ll go on record saying quite the contrary, it is HARD. But, as a parent of young adults I will also be brave enough to say, pick your hard. Parenting is not for the faint at heart. Leadership and parenting are hard! However, if you are not choosing to lead you are allowing someone else to shape their future, your family and therefore your future. The responsibility of parenting might end but the role of a parent is for life. Lead well. Do your due diligence with diligence! Your family is counting on you. 

Culture is changing rapidly. Are you aware of current legislation and how that might shape your family? How about curriculum? The latest technology? We can’t know it all, that’s God’s job!  But I’m sure of this….we can trust the Holy Spirit to lead us when we commit ourselves to leading our children. The pace of life is busy. We may have to say no to the things we don’t have the time or capacity to research. I blind yes is simply too much of a risk. God loves our children!! He loves us.  He entrusted our children to our care. Parents, we have work to do.

Take the next step mama, ask the hard question. Draw the line dad, it’s hard but your kids want the boundaries! Do the research, make the change, set the standard, pray the prayer! You’ve got this! Be diligent. Lead on! 

Begin here: Research Comprehensive Sex Education through organizations such as No Left Turn or Parents Rights in Education. For more information about the literature options for schools: https://www.whatsinsidechildrensbooks.com/?fbclid=IwAR1u3AnK9RDHL4DvN8BJ58EF_vvcfrLxx97Ei4XS2h9oYNtDsmfIYbo-zQo

Suzanne Phillips is a storyteller with a desire for connection, a teacher with a heart for transformation, and a visionary with a commitment to the family and discipleship. A season of trauma and the loss of a child led Suzanne to a radical conversion and a passionate pursuit of truth. 

Suzanne is the co-founder of Ignite the Family which is now the conference division of Celebrate Kids. She is also a co-founder of Legacy Community Academy in Atlanta, GA, a unique hybrid academy and model of education with a vision to launch mission-minded student leaders who shape culture. Suzanne is wife to Lane, mama to Ansley, Ward, and Lilly, and mom-in-love to Will.  At any given time you will find Suzanne with a book in her hand, people at her table, an idea on her mind, and family in her heart. She is motivated by seeing others live out their unique calling and loves serving as an associate for Celebrate Kids.