By Berit Kjos
(author of How to Protect Your Child From the New Age and Spiritual Deception)
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)
Though the spiritual war grows fiercer all around us with each passing day, this is not a time to fear, despair, get angry, or lose hope. History has proven that times of ease and acceptance produce complacency, while repression and persecution produce strong, solid Christian believers who wholeheartedly trust in Him and are not afraid to contend for the faith and protect their children.
God is our strength in the struggle against a counterfeit force, and He will accomplish His purposes through us. As we trust Him to give us courage and strength, He will remove any fear we have of contending for the faith and doing what we must to protect our children, even if it sometimes means we are standing alone.
Nehemiah faced a battle similar to ours. When Satan sent human agents to mock, ridicule, incapacitate, and destroy God’s people, Nehemiah prayed. God answered with a foolproof plan that can also work for us today:
Step One: Be Alert &Always Keep on Praying
Pray! For as Jesus said, “[W]ithout me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5). The battle begins and ends with prayer. Pray for open and trusting communication with your child. Pray for discernment to detect teaching that contradicts God’s truth. Pray for wisdom to know when to speak up and what to say.
Pray for your child. Pray that he learns to discern error on his own and that he will be bold enough to speak truth with courage and to stand alone when all his friends follow after other gods. Pray that pleasing God will be more important than pleasing teachers and peers.
Pray together as a family. Put on the “whole armour of God” daily. Remember that “having your loins girt about with truth” means more than merely declaring it done. It means reading (or hearing) and following the Word, and knowing it well enough to discern error. Read and discuss Ephesians 6:13-17. Memorize the parts of the armor.
Pray that you might meet other Christians who also understand the problem. Pray for faithful Christian friends for your child. Pray for other parents who will stand with you. Since you see the need to get involved in your child’s schooling, pray for direction.
Pray for the school, teachers, principals, counselors, the curriculum committee, and the school board. Pray that they learn God’s truth, discern deception, choose the best curriculum, and make wise decisions.
Trust God, not yourself.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Step Two: Know What Your Child Is Learning in School
Talk with your child. Listen for clues that help you spot good as well as questionable teaching. Be objective and model appreciation of schools and teachers.
Perhaps you have a child who gladly gives detailed accounts of all events from the time he left for school that morning. My boys preferred to answer all my questions with a brief “Good!” or “Okay.” But I discovered that a tasty snack after school could produce at least five minutes of sharing. When my son was fourteen, a sandwich at a local deli boosted our conversations immensely.
I also found that communication mysteriously wilted when my sons suspected that my motive was cross-examination rather than having fun together or if I kept so busy at home that I couldn’t stop and listen.
If you and your child have been too busy to really listen to each other, it is not too late to begin now. Don’t start by asking a lot of questions about school, especially if you have a teenager. She probably won’t be ready to share openly until she knows she can count on your empathetic response, non-judgmental attitude, and genuine interest in her. If she has found that her sharing produces anxiety, agitation, anger, and an impulsive trip to her teacher resulting in confrontation on any level, she will probably make a point to keep hidden from you most, if not all, questionable information. No child wants to be an accomplice to an emotional or embarrassing confrontation.
Volunteer to assist the teacher in the classroom. You will gain firsthand knowledge as well as easy access to the teacher’s listening ear.
Scan elementary textbooks, take-home papers, and fliers. Check to see if significant facts are deleted or distorted. Consider their effects on your child. Ask yourself the following questions about the above material:
Does it censor out important facts about the influences of Christianity in the development of our country? Does it imply that Christianity is unimportant, old-fashioned, or a hindrance to progress? Does it ask your child to discuss his faith in front of the class—thus leaving him open to embarrassment and ridicule? With new proposals for bringing religion back in schools, look carefully at the kinds of religions which are being promoted and ways in which these religions will be taught. It could mean wide open doors to more counterfeits.
Does it present an imbalanced view of Christians? Are pastors, evangelists, missionaries, and other Christians denigrated, maligned, and ridiculed—or never described favorably?
Does it emphasize, promote, or give detailed descriptions of other religions, while ignoring Christianity?
Does it require your child’s participation in spiritual exercises? Does it give instructions in Yoga, meditation, channeling, or guided imagery?
Does it include a blatant pro-homosexual slant?
Does it ask your child not to share information with his parents?
Discuss your findings with your child. Express your appreciation for the good things you see. Explain any area of concern. Teach discernment by pointing out contradictions to God’s truth.
Step Three: Know & Exercise Your Privileges as a Parent
If you suspect a problem, you may need to talk with the teacher and, if necessary, ask to see the teacher’s manual and classroom projects. But first—
Discuss your plan with your child if his age and understanding level permits. Explain that God made you, not the school, responsible for his training and education. Therefore, you have the right to know what he learns and the responsibility to guard his spiritual development. In obedience to God, you must act when God shows you areas of spiritual danger or distortion.
Pray together as a family for God’s wisdom and direction—for His love and message to be communicated through you. Pray for openness and responsiveness in the people you find yourself in a position of having to address.
Keep in mind that many teachers try to do the best they can and would not consciously try to subvert your children. They merely apply the latest techniques presented to them at teachers’ seminars, conventions, or in-service sessions. These new ideas are like the tail of an elephant—they rarely reveal the character of the whole.
Convinced their intentions are good, most teachers and principals will naturally become defensive if you confront them with anger or harshness. Pray, therefore, that God will enable you to express genuine appreciation for their well-meaning efforts.
Let the teacher know you care. Realize that a major reason why the school has assumed the responsibility for educating your child is its belief that most parents have abdicated theirs. Have you shown interest by helping with classroom activities, joining in school activities, or perhaps driving for a field trip?
Make an appointment with the teacher or school official you need to see.
Let your outward appearance reflect God’s peace and order. Even how you dress could affect their attitude toward you, as well as your own sense of confidence.
Bring written notes of the facts that concern you. Be prepared to suggest possible solutions to the problem.
Bring a tape recorder and ask permission to use it. Recording the conference helps me review conversations, follow suggestions, and share information with my husband.
Be spiritually and emotionally ready to face resistance, defensiveness, and denial, but don’t expect them.
Be familiar with the laws written to help you carry out your responsibilities. For example, if school officials refuse to show you special classroom projects, you can remind them of your legal rights as a parent.
The Protection of Pupil Rights (Hatch) Amendment states that “all instructional material, including teacher’s manuals, films, tapes, or other supplementary instructional material which will be used in connection with any research or experimentation program or project shall be available for inspection by the parents or guardians of the children engaged in such programs or projects.”2
The “Equal Protection” Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment affirms that humanist or New Age educators have no more right to promote their religious views than do Christians. The constitutional interpretation that forbids prayer in school can work in our favor.
Your state and school district may have other helpful laws. Check to see which ones would apply to your situation. Write to your U.S. senator and request federal and state level “Freedom of Information Acts.”
According to the U.S. Department of Education’s “Parents’ Guide to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act,” parents have the right to:
Access their child’s education records, such as report cards, transcripts, disciplinary records, and class schedules.
Review their child’s education records.
Protect their child’s privacy.3
Step Four: Enlist the Support of Other Christian Families
Find other parents who share your concern. Your influence increases when parents stand together.
Pray with other Christian parents. Always have prayer backing when you need to confront. And remember this verse:
Be careful [anxious] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (Philippians 4:6)
Get together with other parents to discuss issues, compare notes, seek God’s guidance, and plan strategy. Go to the board meetings regularly and speak out! One strong and wise but gracious voice can wield tremendous influence.
Show your child you understand the loneliness he may feel in an anti-Christian classroom, and remind him he is not alone. Today, God is training many children to follow His truth, no matter what it may cost. Pray together that God will provide a Christian friend who shares his commitment and can stand with him for what he believes. (This presupposes that he really knows and understands what he believes. So keep teaching God’s truth.)
If you have a less-than-desirable communication pattern with your child, pray that God will provide another adult confidant—someone for whom your child has or could have a great deal of respect for and who also shares your views.
Inform and warn all who will listen.
“[N]ow I send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light” (Acts 26:17-18).
Equipping Your Elementary Child to Deal with Deception
Know that you are the most important teacher in your child’s life. So take time to share her struggles, read together, and help with homework.
Make sure your child has entered into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ; otherwise she will not be able to understand biblical truth and discern the counterfeit.
Continue to read and talk about God’s Word.
Explain the differences between God’s truth and the counterfeit New Age spirituality. Study the charts that can be found on my website.
Make a game of discovering examples of New Age spirituality. Explain each conflict from God’s point of view. As your child learns to see beliefs contrary to the truth, she will grow in discernment.
Alert your child to some of the New Age buzzwords and phrases such as: centering, visualizing, meditation, contemplative prayer, inner space, “imagine yourself flying,” “feel yourself becoming,” etc.
Warn your child that meditation, guided imagery, Yoga, visualization, and other spiritual or psychic techniques are not neutral exercises. They can bring her into contact with dangerous, supernatural forces—which God has told us to avoid. Discuss Deuteronomy 18:10-12 together:
There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD.
Explain the significance of God’s armor. Practice putting it on together. Assure your child that this armor will keep her spiritually safe. Remind her that if coerced into being physically present during meditations, séances, or guided imagery, she need not be afraid or participate mentally. Instead, she should thank God for keeping her safe in the armor.
Equipping Your Teenage Child to Deal With Deception
Equip your children to discern evil and resist compromise. “Be not deceived” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Be available. Your teenage child needs your participation in his life. He needs to see you as more dependable, caring, and understanding than his peers and teachers. Take time to enjoy as well as discipline, to play as well as pray.
Listen! Give undivided attention! Be patient. Pray for understanding. Don’t react with shock, dismay, or fear when your teenager shares what’s happening in his world. Respond with gentle wisdom and compassionate love.
Show appreciation. All too often, I catch myself correcting and reminding more frequently than affirming and thanking. Ask God to show you good things to affirm daily.
Provide information on New Age influences in the school. Suggest interesting books and articles he can read. Then plan times to discuss their relevance either one-on-one or as a family.
If you question whether your teenager has a personal relationship with Christ, pray daily for openness to truth. Contact with Christians and an opportune moment with you or another Christian might lead him or her to Christ.
Encourage your child to read the Bible each day. He needs to wear God’s armor as much as you do—and that requires regular feeding upon and exposure to truth.
Share a meal. In Seducers Among Our Children, retired Investigative Sergeant Patrick Crough suggests sharing a meal at a restaurant or pizza parlor with your teen as a way to “learn about what goes on in our children’s daily lives . . . not to gather intelligence for disciplinary action but to assist you in keeping them safe.”4
Get in the habit of praying together. When you share your needs (with discretion) and ask for prayer, your teenager will find it easier to share his. When you show appreciation for God’s answers and His wise, loving participation in your life (according to your teenager’s capacity to listen), you are encouraging your teenager to know, trust, and follow God.
Be a friend as well as a parent. Show respect, trust (where earned), and genuine appreciation. By your attitude and words—make sure they match—you can give your child a vision of what God wants to do in his life. Then walk with your child—not pulling from ahead or pushing from behind—but at his side, gently encouraging, sharing, and supporting.
Children are a precious gift, an awesome responsibility, and your greatest investment. Training them to follow God challenges your faith, demands your time, drains your energy, forces you to your knees, shows you God’s sufficiency, and delights your heart. Hang in there—and “count it all joy” (James 1:2).
1. Cyndie Huntington and Nita Scoggan, Combat Handbook for Parents with Children in Public Schools (Manassas, VA: Royalty Publishing Company, 1988), pp. 9-10.
2. Protection of Pupils Rights—the Hatch Amendment (http://www.learn-usa.com/relevant_to_et/pr002.htm).
3. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html).
4. Patrick Crough, Seducers Among Our Children (Eureka, MT: Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2012), p. 195.