Ten Days of Blessings — Blessing 4: God is first.

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10 Days of Blessings

Showing your children that God is first in your family is a powerful gift of love on this Valentine’s Day.


I am so grateful for parents who taught me from the time I was very tiny that God is first. While I feel sad for the people who don’t have that heritage, I am proud of those who begin it with their own children. Yesterday we talked about the blessing of today. Today is the day to show your children that God is first.

Sometimes families begin homeschooling with spiritual goals in mind, but they get waylaid along the way when they start worrying about what the world says they ought to be doing.

On a recent long trip, Ray and I had several hours together in the car. It was the perfect opportunity to listen to the funeral of a precious friend who died in September. We had wanted very much to be at the funeral, but unfortunately it came while we were in the middle of practices and performances for our daughter’s yearly drama.

Our friend was a retired physics professor from the University of Mississippi, where, as his obituary said:

He served more than 40 years as a Professor of Physics, Associate Dean of the School of Liberal Arts, and as a Founding Scientist of the National Center for Physical Acoustics. His academic research in the fundamentals of acoustic propagation led to the development of standard methods that are now used every day by acousticians all over the world. He never lost his excitement for discovery.

Lyceum, University of Mississippi. Courtesy: Photographs in the Ben May Charitable Trust Collection of Mississippi Photographs in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

Our friend, Dr. F. Douglas Shields, was devoted to education, but it was not first in his life. One of the speakers at his funeral was one of Dr. Shield’s first students at the University of Mississippi. The speaker remembered that at the end of his semester of physics, Dr. Shields wrote on the board: What is matter? Then, in this public university classroom, he erased the “is” and added an “s” to matter. After all of his lessons in physics and all the questions he had asked his students, he challenged them with the vastly more important question: What matters?

Our friend had a distinguished career in physics, but, as his obituary also said,

“[H]is primary endeavors in life revolved around his family and the kingdom of God . . . Convinced that a public university was an important venue for the gospel message, he moved to Oxford to teach at Ole Miss in 1959.”

As you teach your children to answer questions in math and grammar and physics and history and chemistry and biology, be sure that they can answer the all-important question: “What matters?” And that they know in their hearts that God is first. What a blessing that homeschooling gives you the freedom to do that and gives you time to do that every day.

But when the Pharisees heard
that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees,
they gathered themselves together.
One of them, a lawyer,
asked Him a question, testing Him,
“Teacher, which is the great commandment
in the Law?” And He said to him,
“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
Mathew 22:34-37

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