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Humility is Needed to Cultivate Virtue

Humility is Needed to Cultivate Virtue

How can Christian schools, home schools, churches and parents cultivate virtue among their young students, parishioners, sons and daughters?

This question is surfacing more and more in the classical education world these days, but really has been present among Evangelicals for decades. Parents, church leaders and educators see our youth exiting the Church at alarming rates during college and falling into lifestyles which mimic their secular peers. They wonder desperately what, if anything, can be done to stem this tide?

In reaction, they teach the Christian worldview. They come up with elaborate church marketing plans or youth group events, when really, the solution is much simpler—and cost-effective:

We must remember who we are and who we are not.

We are God’s children, adopted into his household by the blood of Jesus which purchased us from the slavery of our sin.

We are not decent people earning our way to heaven.

Consciously living by this truth as adult role models will rub off on our youth. Instead of pressuring our children to act virtuously, we must teach them by example, and maybe a little overtly, that being a Christian really means living in repentance and utter dependence on Christ for our holiness.

Jesus was obedient for us. He did the saving work on the cross—the atoning, suffering, dying and rising work—for us. Yes, we die and rise again with Him through our baptisms, but that is not our work. He was the one who was obedient to God’s law to save us from our just punishment.

We try to obey the law out of gratefulness for that great work of Christ, not out of need to be justified.

So let’s ease up a bit. God’s commandments take on a different tone when spoken to the saved. As redeemed people, we hear his commands and must remember that Christ fulfilled these laws on our behalf.

Our children need to know what to do when they fail: repent and be forgiven, resting in the complete holiness of Christ, which God the Father sees when He looks at us.

So, how should we rightly cultivate virtue among our youth? I believe the best way to do this is by reading the Word, hearing how we’ve sinned against God, repenting and believing in Christ’s saving work for us, and doing it all over again. In other words, we need not hammer Christian worldview classes. Instead we should live lives of humility, focused on Christ and not ourselves. Yes, our students need to learn theology and apologetics, but I believe having real life models of humble faith will do more to cultivate virtue in our children than any coursework ever could.

Rhiannon Kutzer

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Nice to meet you!

I’m Rhiannon.

You can call me Rhi for short (as in “rejoice”). I’m a fiercely independent homeschooling mom of five, a Navy wife of 13 years, and a creator of various things: articles, a semi-regular newsletter, quilts, furniture, and the occasional knitted scarf. This is the site where I write about our homeschool journey and news and happenings in the homeschool world. more about me.

Rhiannon

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Need a shot in the arm for your homeschool? Get Thrive Together, a monthly email that brings you:

--the best of the homeschool blogosphere,
--current homeschool news,
--and great quotes that will refresh your homeschool mama mind.

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  • Maybe you’ve never had a loved one on a ventilator, so you don’t know. I have. You don’t know the fear in your gut as you await the next minutes and hours until the doctors bring you updates and treatment plans.
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You don’t know the darkness and silence next to the bed of your (beautiful, vulnerable) person, kept alive by a machine. The respiratory therapists making adjustments to help your loved one’s brain get enough oxygen so she can make it to tomorrow.
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You don’t know the holiness of that bedside, where Christ meets you with His peace when everything is out of your hands. That bedside, where literally all you can do is read scripture and pray.
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I am telling you, that is a bedside you do NOT want to be at.
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I have been there and I never want to go back. God and an army of prayer warriors got us through that. Our person is still vulnerable. There are people in your life who are vulnerable.
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We were at that bedside with decades of collective medical experience on our side to develop best practices and treatment plans, and learn from mistakes made on other patients.
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Our loved ones who end up fighting COVID-19 with the help of a humming ventilator will not have that benefit. This disease is just too new.
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If you’re a leader of people, your job right now is to take care of your people. Be honest. Take this seriously. (We can do that without letting fear take control.)
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If you’re an employee, protect yourself, so you can protect your family. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, eat your vegetables, exercise, get good sleep, take some vitamin C.
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Above all #STAYHOME to #flattenthecurve so that you don’t end up by that bedside with not enough resources. Stay home, so that when the vulnerable person in your life needs it, they’ll have access to the ventilators and care they need.
  • FYI, your #Navy #submarineforce is still operating...even in the Arctic. My guy is finally out from under the ice! And I finally get pictures of his #ICEX2020 adventures. Unbelievably good to talk to him, even if we don’t get be with him in person #thanksCOVID #staythefhome #beagoodcitizen #submarinerscantsocialdistance
  • Blue Wyoming skies and wind blowing in the curls. Magical.
  • PSA: Don’t let curriculum publishers and internet ads scare you into thinking you NEED to buy their products to get your kids a solid education. #askamom #momsmentoringmoms
  • #Homeschooling when you didn’t choose it:
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I would feel totally overwhelmed and underprepared if I were in your shoes. Homeschooling is hard even when you did choose it. We’ve changed a little, too. Every meal is a reading meal these days if the kids want that. (They do🤓.)
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So, please ask me all your questions. I and other HSing mamas in your community have YEARS of experience with this atypical version of education. How can we help you and your specific kids in your specific situation? We have learned a lot of things the hard way and we are happy to help make this time smoother for you.
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What I desperately hope: those of you stuck in a situation you didn’t want AT ALL, might come to see education a little differently. It can be flexible. It can happen over the course of a whole day, with snacks, outside time, screen time, and play interspersed between lessons.
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This type of education is more about LIFE and HOME than you might think. While your students may be doing the same work assigned by the school, the setting change from school to home will change almost everything else about their educational experience this semester.
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Here are my two favorite tips to get you started:
1. Use short lessons. 
2. Alternate between types of work.
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The younger the kids, the shorter the lessons. Ballpark: elementary should be 15-30min/subject max. Middle school 30-45min/subject max.
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How does this look? Have your student read for 15 min, then do something physical for 15, then do handwriting for 15. That kind of a thing. “A change is as good as a rest."
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Don’t expect elementary kids to complete the whole assignment in such a short lesson. Just expect focused attention for that time, no matter how far he gets in the work. That builds the habit of, “when we sit to do school, we focus on school.” If you have to do 5 or 10 minute lessons because that’s all he had the attention for, that’s totally normal. Build up to longer periods, but it’s not really reasonable developmentally to expect hour-long math sessions for very young students. Those lead to tears. Ask me how I know.
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