I’ve never seriously considered early weaning with my flock of sheep; it just seems too unnatural to suit me. Gestation length in sheep is roughly five months, which should theoretically provide the shepherd with twice yearly lambing. But, since sheep are seasonal breeders, about the best any can accomplish is three lamb crops in two years using very specific management practices. Such programs are associated with accelerated lambing; again an unnatural thing for the sheep. It usually involves the acceleration of everything from growing ewe lambs into sexual maturity to heavy grain feeding to maximize lactation in the mother, and grain feeding for growth of the young lamb. Some accelerated lambing practices include hormone and other chemical treatments as well.
Of course this article is not really about how Americans should dismiss the idea of the early weaning of lambs in a sheep flock. No, I am referring to the accelerated way people have lead their lives, and weaned their children in the past half-century or so; it is sooo unnatural. Disagree with me? Fine, if you are not a Christian, BUT if you are a Christian, then get your Bible out, take some down time, if you know any speed other than accelerate, and then study the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy.
Take a look at the definitions for wean
- To accustom (the young of a mammal) to take nourishment other than by suckling.
- To detach from that to which one is strongly habituated or devoted: She weaned herself from cigarettes.
- To accustom to something from an early age. Often used with on: “The northerners among the refugees … were weaned on harsh weather and infertile soils and are known for their rigorous work ethic” (Lowell Weiss). Source: http://www.thefreedictionary.com
For now let’s focus on definition No. 2 – “to detach from that to which one is strongly habituated or devoted.”
Answer this, when does a child become an adult? And this, when should a child become detached from the direct daily influence of parents? The reader and I both know that children become separated several hours each week from the parents long before the child becomes an adult.
5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6 These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. 7 Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:5-7 –HCSB
Hillbilly translation: Love God with all your heart, soul and strength, and teach the same to your children ALL day long.
Let’s face it, early weaning does not fit Deuteronomy 6. It was bad enough when many of us began school at age six whereby we were weaned from much of our parents’ influence for several hours daily, and now children start to school at about three or four years of age. Okay, I will quit beating around the bush; public (government run) schools for the past 150 years have been the most demonic damaging influence since this nation was formed because families have been early weaning children and subjecting them to this type (government) influence. Just which part of “Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” do we fail to understand? Sorry, but your walk and your children’s walk through the church house doors twice on Sunday and once on Wednesday will not negate the post-weaning syndrome brought on by government schools. Sure, schools cannot be directly blamed for every social ill in our society, but they provide the foundation for the simple reason children spend so much time there each week learning too much from faulty new education guidelines, plus what they learn from their peers about the latest cultural fads that invariably are unholy to say the least.
For many years Christians have known that once children leave home and go to college, a relatively high percentage of these young adults seem to reject much of their Christian training, and in some cases, these students have accepted Jesus as Savior while at home, but then rejected all things Christian while in college. For a number of years college got all the blame for brain washing kids to reject Christianity.
Then in 2009 Ken Ham published a book called, “Already Gone, Why Your Kids Quit Church.” This book revealed that children internally rejected Christianity, as they knew it, when they were in elementary school. In other words, these children just obediently played along with the church thing while living at home, and then broke loose to join the worldly crowd once they left home. I was fascinated when I read that book soon after it was published.
If there is a single paragraph in this entire article that makes my point, “America’s Greatest Problem – Early Weaning,” the previous paragraph does just that. Let’s look at some key points: 1) children reject Christianity after they leave home, and colleges get most of the blame, however, 2) they really reject it many years earlier, but do not openly express such to their family, 3) this indicates that the parents positive influence, if it was there, did not have a lasting influence. It didn’t even last until they became high school students. Therefore, 4) this implies that some other influence(s) overpowered the influence of family and church. 5) Government run schools provide the predominant influence since the children spend approximately 14,000 hours in school classrooms during a period of 13 years. (6 hours daily x 180-day school year x 13 years)
Please note that the hours spent in formal classroom settings do not take into account the fact that students learn much (of the wrong things, most likely) from their peers on school buses, and at extracurricular activities such as athletic events.
Weaning in my sheep flock
After 34 years I have developed an effective and efficient method of weaning lambs, to cease the period of lactation in the ewe, and give time for lambs to adjust. What I learned is that cessation of lactation of the ewe and nursing by lambs, while important, it is not total weaning. I have witnessed offspring of the ewes following their mother for periods up to two years later, long after nursing has ceased. In other words, a bonding between parent and offspring can last into the adulthood of the latter. There is no doubt in my mind that the adult ewe can influence the lamb long after the mother’s milk is gone, because they follow the mother daily.
No early weaning in the homeschool family
Do you see where I am going with this? Weaning is more than the cessation of lactation. A young child has a second weaning when he leaves the home to start attending school. I have become a strong advocate of Christian schooling during the past 25 years, and the more time that passes, the more strongly I believe in homeschooling. You see, if a child leaves home to attend a Christian school, he is still early weaned from his parents… not a good idea in my opinion! When a family homeschools, the young child is taught by a family member, usually the mother. Many mothers sacrifice much to school their children at home, and some of those have made the decision to school their children rather than pursue a lucrative professional career in the workplace.
A third weaning is necessary
Why have we so readily accepted early weaning of our children? The short answer is, “The love of stuff and entertainment!” The Bible says the love of money is the root of all evil. And, of course, stuff and entertainment are bought with money. The long answer is too lengthy to cover in this article, but it involves a number of influences including the feminist movement and the sinister objective of some powerful men to tear apart Christian families by getting the wife/mother out of the home. Remember, early weaning is not natural, and it does not support the admonition given us in the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy. Perhaps it is time to let go of the accelerated lifestyle, and follow a more natural path, like the one outlined in the Bible. The more families who can wean themselves from all the stuff and entertainment of the world, the better chance our children will have to grow up as Jesus did. Look at Luke 2:52.
And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. (Luke 2:52)
One final note, are you aware that Luke 2:52 was the guiding Scripture when America’s 4-H program was first formed? (wisdom = Head, stature = Health, favor with God = Heart, and favor with man = Hands) Most of that history of the 4-H program has been expunged since it is government run, and we can’t offend anyone with the use of a Bible verse, can we?