As far as I can tell, preschool may indeed meet the genuine needs of some parents. The question I keep asking is whether it’s the best choice for our family. I’m certain it might be for other families, and I do think it is important for those of us who have chosen not to use preschool to allow others to make the choices they believe are best for their family. On the other hand, we may feel intimidated and start to wonder whether we’re making making a mistake. Time will tell, and God promises wisdom for those who search for it earnestly (that means time in God’s word, not just a daily prayer for wisdom, according to God’s Word).
In the first installment, I talked about my concerns for meeting the social needs of children through preschool. One more reason I’ve heard more than once for sending a child to preschool is that it gives mom a break. And this is surely true: now a mom can go grocery shopping in peace, she has time to get the house clean without anyone undoing her efforts, and she may even get some legitimately needed rest.
I sense my own wistfulness when I think of this reason. It would be nice to have a morning where I could schedule doctor’s appointments. I hope I’d be disciplined enough to catch up with my housecleaning, and I know there are things I could do for my church if I had a morning free. But for some of those needs, I believe I’d be better off calling someone at church, developing that interrelationship valued in the Bible. My concern is that I’m seeing the local church undermined. No longer do we need each other. This is particularly significant within the military community, because we emphasize finding a “support structure” apart from the local church.
Lee and I have decided not to solve this need through preschool. I do see where preschool can meet a legitimate need; however, if preschool is supplanting the relationship of a parent with his local church, then I think preschool is a problem. Does that make sense? When you have a family who is unwilling to ask for help, who may be avoiding the responsibility to edify and be edified by the local church, then preschool may in fact be the wrong choice, even if it meets a legitimate need.
It might not look like that big of a deal, but the importance of the local church is at stake. When you take a look at the New Testament scripture, it’s plain that the Christian community had a close relationship, and that this was the intent of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Remember what he told the disciples? “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). How can we love one another if we don’t know one another? How can the older women teach and the younger women learn if we never even spend time with one another?
In our churches today, we don’t see this close relationship among the believers. We might have one close friend, but the mutual dependence, encouragement, and love that we see in the Bible is absent. At least, I sense it is deficient in my own life, and I’ve been trying to cultivate closer relationships with more of my church. I want to edify and be edified. How does this happen? God tells us how!
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Hebrews 10:25
And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.Use hospitality one to another without grudging.As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. I Peter 4:8-10
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.Galatians 6:1-2
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3:16
The church has an opportunity to deliberately reach out to young mothers. Some churches effectively use MOPS or other mom times as a way to minister to young moms. Other churches use a morning Bible study time as a time to give mothers needed encouragement as well as a break from their children. Informally, individual women in the church can also reach out to others. Single women (including teenagers) can easily spend an evening babysitting for young parents who may not have money to pay for a regular babysitter. Mothers can invite younger mothers over for a morning, or come over for a vist and fold laundry (there’s always laundry to do!). I’ve been blessed by older mothers who have ministered to me in these informal times. Even though I feel like a “younger mom” sometimes, there are women who are younger than I am, and I have a responsibility to give as well as learn.
When I consider how I am becoming closer to the body of Christ, the need for preschool doesn’t seem as great. I think that’s a good thing.