Have you been caught red-handed?

That’s an odd turn of phrase, isn’t it? It actually dates back more than 200 years and originated in Scotland. It refers quite literally to someone having red-hands; hands covered with blood. It referred to a poacher, caught having just illegally killed game and still having the blood of the animal on his hands. Later, it referred to someone who committed murder and was caught with the blood still on his hands.

It means of course- to be caught doing something in such a way that there is absolutely no doubt of one’s guilt.

Some of the most important lessons we teach in homeschooling are actually caught- not taught. You can teach someone to read words on paper, but you can’t teach them to become a reader. You can teach someone the difference between telling the truth and telling a lie, but you can’t teach them to tell the truth. You can teach someone how to sound out the words in their Bible, but you can’t teach them to become a Bible reader. You can teach someone the specific how-tos of prayer, but you can’t teach them to become someone who prays.

All of those skills and more are best caught– not taught. How does that work? It works by letting your children catch you “red-handed” in the act of reading, or praying, or telling the truth even when it’s inconvenient- or allowing them to catch you reading your Bible.

Oh don’t misunderstand. I’m not suggesting you “stage” a Bible reading or “fake” praying in order to be caught! Far from it in fact. I’m suggesting that you make these behaviors a part of your regular routine without saying a word. Your children watch what you do more than they listen to what you say. No words are necessary in this realm of teaching.

The very best chance you have of helping your children become men and women of integrity, truth, honesty, character, Biblical wisdom, prayer and more is by letting them catch you “red-handed” being a man or woman of integrity, truth, honesty, character, biblical wisdom and prayer.

Make it a goal to get caught “red-handed” doing something of eternal value today- and every day!

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