Day-care has long been a norm for many families. Sometimes out of necessity, sometimes not, and its success is disputed. Now it seems additional parental duties are being outsourced to non-family “experts.” A growing trend has emerged for “coaches” who teach children everything from riding a bike to potty-training. For bike riding lessons it will cost $90 U.S. for a session with a qualified expert. Everything has a price! (Cheryl K. Chumley, “American Exceptionalism Is Officially Dead: Coaches Hired to Teach Kids to Ride Bikes,” The Washington Times at WashingtonTimes.com, May 21, 2014).
The reasoning goes that parents simply don’t have the time or skills to teach such things and the children will suffer if they don’t learn them from someone, or anyone, really. Interestingly, it isn’t a new phenomenon, having become a part of the culture since the mid 2000’s (Polly Leider, “Outsourcing Messier Parts of Parenting,” CBS News at CBSNews.com, April 17, 2006). But it’s been around longer than that. Historically, tutors on various subjects were a common standard for those with the affluence to afford them, and many upper-class families had nannies to raise children from babyhood to the teenage years. However, the cost to society was a number of dysfunctional familial norms arising from such a system, including, at the very least, alienation between children and parents.
Does the Bible support outsourcing of parental roles? The book of Deuteronomy has some helpful instruction regarding this subject. Speaking of God’s Law, “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up,” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7 Deuteronomy 6:6-7 6 And these words, which I command you this day, shall be in your heart:
7 And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.
American King James Version×, NKJV).
There’s a clear expectation of daily, even hourly parental involvement in the lives of children. Some of which may have occurred in an agricultural society where parents and children worked side-by-side. However, this is a dynamic of communication that was cultivated and commanded by God. Though we struggle for perfect fulfillment, the goal of a teaching, loving, actively communicating family environment is vital.