Imprint on the Future: Equipped for Extraordinary and Prepared for Ordinary

Only one life, ‘twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will  last. This excerpt from the poem “Only One Life, Twill Soon Be Past” by  C.T. Studd was etched into a wooden plaque that hung in my grandmother’s house  when I was a child. Long after my grandmother was gone, I discovered that the  words were still etched into my memory. They echo the words of James 4:14 (NIV), “. . . What is your life? You are a  mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” We are reminded by  James that our lives are short, with no guarantee that we will have a tomorrow,  so we must endeavor to make today count and live our lives in light of  eternity. I think the same is true regarding the education of our children, as  we endeavor to prepare them for a purpose that exists beyond tomorrow.

I remember vividly the  day that we set the old school desk in the dining room and filled it with  workbooks, colors, handwriting paper with wide lines, new pencils, and other  school supplies. The beginning of an exciting adventure and a seemingly endless  ribbon of school days stretched out ahead of us. The days passed–both good and  bad–and quickly rolled into years; the day I handed a diploma to my youngest to  officially mark the end of our journey arrived all too soon. I could not help  but wonder that day if I had equipped each of my children with the education  and skills they would need to succeed in this world and leave a lasting imprint  on the future.

We all want our lives to  count for something beyond today, and we want the same thing for our children,  but our view is limited to the span of our lives. We cannot know what deed or  deeds may impact a future generation and what will simply be forgotten, but we  hope that by investing into the lives of our children, we will leave a lasting  imprint on the next generation for the betterment of that generation. We hope  that they, in turn, will leave an even bigger imprint on the world and the  generation in which they live.

I believe it is the duty  of all Christian parents to educate their children in the foundations of our  faith. As home educators we can teach all subjects from a biblical worldview,  but many parents want to give their children more than just a foundation in  their faith–they want to equip their children to be future leaders and the  world changers of tomorrow. The study of speech, leadership, worldview, and  evangelism are excellent subject choices for all young adolescents, and all of  these studies help shape who our children are and what they believe. We all–parents  and students alike–should understand and be aware of how we view the world (our  worldview) and be equipped to assume the responsibility of leadership and  defend our faith. We do not know the circumstances in which God may place us at  any given point in our lives. When we educate our children with a higher  purpose in mind, we try to provide them with the skills and knowledge they  might need should God choose to use them in mighty ways. We teach them about  other great men and women we hope they will have the courage to emulate, and we  encourage them to be prepared to be used by God in a powerful manner.

These are worthy goals. However,  we must also remember that God directs the paths of our children, and they must  also learn to be ordinary people who live out their lives in the world. We do not  know the path that God has laid out before each of our children. We may be  teaching and training the next great world leader, but it is also possible that  God may not orchestrate events in their lives that would allow them that  opportunity. I believe there lies within each of our children the potential to  become a daring and mighty man or woman of God who may change the course of  history and be remembered for generations to come as a world changer, but as God  directs the course of each life, there may not be opportunity to perform heroic  feats of faith or to advance to a high position of leadership. Rather, theirs  may be the countless little decisions made over the course of a lifetime that  silently advance the Kingdom without much pomp and circumstance. So, while we  equip our children to be extraordinary leaders, we should also be sure we  prepare them to live ordinary lives—lives lived in such a way that the  accumulation of a lifetime of choices may leave a lasting impact on the lives  of those around them or the next generation to follow them and lives that for  all practical purposes may be very simple and ordinary.

I think that sometimes it  is easy for us to become so focused on training our children to be  extraordinary men and women that we forget to let them know that God uses men  and women in all walks of life. They may live out their entire lives as  farmers, carpenters, servicemen, or in any countless number of ordinary  occupations, and they may never see great evidence of leaving an eternal  imprint in this world. So, equip them for the extraordinary, but prepare them  for the ordinary.