Is this something you think about – will your homeschooling prepare your children for the workforce? To be honest, it is what the education system is geared towards – that is the ultimate goal. And yet, it shouldn’t be ours. We were made for relationship with God, relationship with each other and yes, to have dominion over the creation (work). We are also commanded, as followers of Christ, to make disciples. So though our children need to be able to work (and therefore be employable) it isn’t the whole goal of our parenting.
When we had Brian Ellis up here for the Character First seminar he said something that struck a chord with us, and stuck in my mind. He was addressing issues of business and said, “We employ for skill and yet we dismiss people based on character issues.” And here is the bit that stuck with us: “We should employ for character and train for skills.” That is a totally different way of looking at employment and yet it makes sense.
Our initial conversation was in light of our own business but I have been thinking about it in terms of our children. I want them to be employable so what am I going to teach them. Traditionally, and this is what we see in schools, we teach our children lots of skills – starting with the academic things like math, reading and writing and then in tertiary we teach them medicine, accounting, law, business practices etc. But if our children do not have the character to remain employed even with these skills then we have missed it.
Joshua has worked in temporary positions for a few men around town. Each time his first task was to sweep the shed floor. Josh comes home and says, “What is it with sweeping!” Though he is happy to sweep (and he can sweep!) what he doesn’t understand is that these business men understand something – they understand that you have to start at the basic of tasks and if you have the character to do that, then there is hope. In each of these jobs Joshua has had he has not known the particular skills, such as helping to dismantle a helicopter – he has had to learn them on site. But he held down a job because of his attitude and character. To me – he is employable.
We must make time in our day to instruct, practice and encourage our children in making character based choices. Let us not get distracted by all the skills that our children need to learn. If they don’t have the character to back it up – it will all be for nothing anyways!