Where are all of the christians in the public school? Should Christian parents send their children to public schools? These are big questions and big topics amongst believers as we get back into the swing of the school year. I heard someone say not too long ago that children who are in the public school systems are (basically) being indoctrinated and graduating believing exactly what the schools tell them. Which, right now, is a whole lot of craziness.
The gist of the message was that our society is so skewed in their thinking these days that we are teaching everything but truth. That they are being taught and thus believing that they can choose which gender they want to be based on how they “feel” and that we are allowing our children to roll out of the school system and into the world like tiny little political robots. Like our school system is popping them off the assembly line and shipping them off into the world to do and be and believe whatever they have told them they need to believe.
Now. Let me say, I do believe that there is an anti-Christian/anti-Conservative agenda within our nation right now. I don’t disagree with that notion and I don’t argue that. We do not live in a “christians and their beliefs matter more in the public school” type society anymore. We live in a time in which everyone does believe that they can be what they want who they want based on their feelings. We have children as young as seven choosing to be a certain gender because they ‘feel’ like they should be and parents backing that choice in an effort to gain for themselves 10 minutes of fame. We are living in fallen times and it’s heartbreaking.
That said, the American public school system is not at fault for the state of our nations youth and fallen morality: PARENTS ARE. The fall of our youth and our teenagers may have something (and I mean a very small something) to do with the path that our culture is going down. But, schools are not 100% to blame for our nations depravity. The lack of parental involvement is where the real issue is.
When I was growing up, my mom and dad knew everything I did, everywhere I went and every single person who I went with. Overprotective? Sure. Overbearing? Somewhat. Over-involved? Not really. Cautious and aware and looking out for my well being? Absolutely. My parents knew where I was, when I was there and who I was with 99% of the time. There was not a whole lot that I did that that they didn’t know about. If I wanted to go places or hang out with people, they were going to know about it or else I was going to stay at home. Simple as that.
Our culture says that parenting in this manner is wrong. Children need “freedom to express themselves” and they have the “right” to make those kind of choices. They don’t have to tell a parent where they are or who they are with because that “infringes” on their rights. Lemme tell y’all something: my children lost their right to make their own major decisions the day that they were born. Mama didn’t do 20+ hours of labor to give them free reign to make choices that I know could harm them.
Our culture tells us that kids need to make choices and I agree with that. But, the Lord tells me that my children need guidance. They need direction. There may be some christians and gifted educators in the public school, but it’s not their job to build up my children in their faith. They need me to impart wisdom and shed light into their lives and their circumstances. Our children are given to us as a gift to shepherd and guide and lead in hope and truth. They don’t need their christian parents to rely on the public school for growing their faith.
When we see children walking in the ways of the world, what we are generally seeing is a child who is lost and without that kind of guidance in their lives. When we see a “product of the system” we are witnessing a lack of parental intervention. Now, that’s not to say that every single child born into a Christian family will accept Christ and receive salvation at a young age. That would be amazing, but that’s not biblical and it’s not a guarantee. There are tons of stories—including my own—of prodigals who stray the path and walk away from their beliefs. That doesn’t mean that it’s the public schools fault.
I have watched Christian private school children land in prison. I’ve watched Christian private school children end up addicted to drugs and alcohol. I have witnessed Christian homeschool children fall into debauchery and sexual sin. I have watched public school children pastor churches and become missionaries. There is no one right way to educate our children. There have been plenty of christians from the public school who have made a cultural difference. Powerhouse Christian author A.W. Tozer never once attended seminary or earned a biblical degree. He was born into poverty and mostly self-educated…there was no Christian private school or Christian homeschooling for him (src). C.S. Lewis attended boarding school (via). Billy Graham attended public school and actually found the first Christian University he attended too legalistic (src).
All of that to say this: I believe our role as Christian parents isn’t to force ourselves into a bubble believing that we are doing wrong by our children if we send them to public school. We aren’t doing wrong by our children if we send them to private school. We aren’t doing wrong by our children if we choose to homeschool them. We are doing wrong by our children if we depend solely on education to shape them into spiritually mature, kingdom warriors. Teachers are paid to teach—reading, writing and math. Our job as parents is to mature our children’s faith-inside and outside the home.
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There is something special about little kids. About children in general. I believe, wholeheartedly, that that is why Jesus was so insistent that we become more like the children…
And he [Jesus] said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (src)
There is just something wonderful about their innocence and they way their little minds work. At times it is really funny and then, there are the times in which it can be down right humbling.
In a culture that sees the world through the eyes of republican or democrat, gay or straight, black or white, male or female, rich or poor…Children see people.
One of the most gut-wrenching and painful things I’ve ever endured was the negative comments and responses from people about our decision to adopt.
Well, of course you’ll want a white child right? I mean, you guys aren’t planning to raise a colored baby are you? What will your children think? They’ll know that they are adopted…it will be obvious. We will never be on board with that. I just can’t believe that you guys would do that. God never wanted the races to mingle. It’s a sin.
Those are just a few of the things that have been said either directly to us or behind our back by people about our decision to adopt.
And you know what? That’s okay.
There is going to come a point in everyone’s life in which they make a choice that the world doesn’t agree with. A decision that even their own families don’t agree with or support. That’s okay. We were never meant to make the world happy. The Bible was very specific on it…
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ (src).
I asked Noah, our seven year old, what he saw when he looked at this photo.
He looked at it for a few minutes. Did his funny, I’m-really-concentrating look and then said, “a bunch of girls?”
I asked if that was all. He looked at the picture again and said simply, “they’re all friends?” I asked him how he knew that and he said because they were smiling and hugging each other. I asked him if he noticed anything else and the only thing he could point out was the fact that there was nothing on the bricks behind them. He couldn’t understand why anyone would take a picture by an empty wall. The photographer in me chuckled at his lack of appreciation for negative space and then he went on his way to play with his Ninja Turtles.
My son doesn’t see color. He doesn’t see color because he wasn’t brought up to see color.
Where the rest of the world is constantly trying to drive a wedge in between the races my seven year old sees nothing. Where we as a society see what’s the color of someones skin, my son is socially and spiritually color blind. The media is so determined to turn the races against one another based on the actions of a few. Where not all white people are racist, not all black people are criminals and not all hispanics are illegals. It’s this ignorant, hateful mindset that is driving a wedge in our society and quite frankly it’s pathetic.
I don’t want the world judging me based on the fact that decades ago an idiot in a bed sheet rode around on a horse burning crosses. I don’t want to be discriminated against because rebels carrying confederate flags committed hateful acts of crime against a group of people just because their skin color was different. I don’t want to be placed into a category with those kind of people. I don’t want to be known for that just because we share the same skin tone.
One of my favorite scenes in any movie is the part of Forrest Gump where the African American student attending the University of Alabama for the first time dropped her notebook on the sidewalk. In the midst of such a monumental moment, while the majority of the student body was watching with noses upturned and disdain in their faces, Forrest steps out of the crowd and hands her her book back. Never mind what was going on in terms of the racial war and the tension in the courtyard. It was the right thing to do.
I had someone who was in the church, professing Christianity, tell me one time that the mingling of the races is a sin. This is not only racist but it’s flat out wrong. Let’s back track for a moment…all the way back to the very beginning of time when it was only Adam and Eve on this beautiful planet. I’m going to assume that everyone reading this knows where babies come from. If not, please excuse yourself to go do a little searching on WebMD. In the whole, big, grand scheme of things every individual on this planet came from the same bloodline of Adam and Eve. Period.
Let me also take a moment to point out here that there is no proof [to my knowledge or anyone else’s that I’m aware of] that Adam, Eve or any of their immediate descendants were caucasian. Jesus was a Jew of Hebrew descent…he was NOT a Caucasian man.
Taking it one step further into biblical history, you’ll discover that Moses…the one who talked to God in the form of a burning bush…who led the Hebrew people out of Egypt after God sent his plagues and forced Pharaoh to let His people go? Moses married a Cushite woman. The area of Cush is an area south of Ethiopia…which is in Africa. Which is known for bringing forth darker skinned people. (John Piper has a full article on this subject that you can read about here.)
And while our family is very aware of the cross-cultural stigma that will follow when we bring our little one home from Africa, we embrace the opportunity to display the love of Christ through the simple act of welcoming a child whose skin color is of a different shade simply because that’s how God created him or her.
We talk to Noah often about the idea of bringing home another brother or sister (he is insistent that it has to be a boy). We mentioned that this child will be a different color than he is and that someday, there will probably be people-maybe even family-who ridicules that.
His only response?
The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart (src).