Training for a High Calling
By: Dorothy Karman

A good home school friend, Lynn, and her family raised a guide dog puppy as a 4-H project and learned so much more than how to raise a dog.

Now this family already had a dog - a beloved family pet named Cricket. When the new puppy was brought home, Cricket thought he had a new playmate, but it was not to be.

Norma was being raised for a special purpose and her early training would prepare her for her life as a guide dog. She had to learn so much more than the general obedience you would expect from a family pet. Norma had 24 hour rules she was to be trained to follow. She wasn't allowed to play ball or fetch with a stick. What if she were to follow a ball into the street with her master? She could only play games that a blind person might be able to play with her such as tug-of-war. She had to eat only out of her own dish, so that she wouldn't be tempted to eat food off the table in a restaurant. She could not be on the furniture - what if her future master did not want her on the furniture? And probably worst of all for a golden retriever, she could never be off leash in an open space. She could not run loose in the park. Norma was being prepared for a special calling.

Training a guide dog to be quiet when it is a dog's nature to bark and training her to sit quietly at her mistress' side when it is a dog's nature to romp is hard work. Both mistress and dog had to learn to be very disciplined. They didn't always get to do the fun things dogs and masters do, because that would not be training Norma toward the goal of service.

The analogy to raising our children is striking. We too are setting aside our children for a special purpose - to love and serve God. It will take discipline (and a large measure of God's grace), if we are to do our parts in preparing our children to be of service. Many times we make decisions for our families that seem hard or restrictive. Maybe their friends can do things our children can't do such as reading certain books, or spending the night at a friend's house. These things aren't wrong in and of themselves, but they are just not right for our family at this time.

Is it wrong for dogs to bark and jump and frisk? No, it is in their nature. Is it wrong for children to squirm and talk and be disruptive in church? No, that too is their nature. But we have to train them to sit quietly so they can listen to the teaching of God's word.

As homeschoolers we sometimes get criticism for not allowing our children to do this or that like all the other children, and we may begin to think they are missing out. But we have to remember that we have a responsibility to train them for a high calling - that of loving and serving the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

May we be found faithful in our duty.

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