I am aware that the choice to send your kids to public school, Christian school or homeschool can be a divisive issue, and that is not my intention at all. I recently read an article about homeschooling and that sparked some thoughts that I’ve had concerning the different schooling options. Please feel free to comment with any thoughts you have. I have friends and family that differ in their views on this topic, and I subscribe to non-denominational motherhood, so I respect and admire the way they are raising their children as well.
A little background, we currently send our two school-aged children to public school. Our community is fairly conservative, and we know many of the parents and teachers. It is a situation I am comfortable with, but that doesn’t mean I am pressuring everyone to follow suit (although I do struggle with wanting to do that and have sometimes). It is of course in my kids’ best interest to surround them with as many positive influences as possible, so of course, I’d like you to send your kids to school with mine. Okay, that advertisement is over. Please excuse my selfish public service announcement. By the way, our schooling choice for now may change in the future as we never know where the Lord will lead us.
We are all called by God to different places, and every one of those places has potential for danger. Many times being in those dangerous places can be a faith builder. I’ve always thought it would be such an adventure to be a missionary in a sketchy area (like a third world country, inner city, etc.). What if you feel called to one of those places AND you have kids? Do you deny the call in order to protect your kids? I often wonder about the whole argument of keeping your kids out of school in order to protect them. There are days when I worry about what could happen during the school day, but I am able to calm my fears through prayer, and for now my husband and I both feel like our kids are where they should be.
Ultimately there are endless possibilities of ways I could lose my children. At some point, I have to view them as God’s and trust Him to take better care of them than I ever could. Do I keep them home from missions trips when they are older because it’s too dangerous? Where do I draw the line? What age do I start to let them go? I had a hard time turning off the baby monitor in my son’s room when he was probably close to two years old. My mom finally told me I needed to do it. She knows me. I am a worrier, and I lose sleep because of it. I lay in bed, unable to sleep, waiting for the next child to cry out and need me. I think letting go of my kids started at that point. It was a lot harder than I thought. One of my daughters had several febrile seizures and that was another issue that was hard for me to handle. Should I keep her in bed with me all the time just in case? Our doctor assured me that she would be okay in her own bed. If she had a seizure in the night, her body should stop on it’s own. I lost a lot of sleep after that too, worrying that I heard her bed shaking on the baby monitor. This parenting thing is tougher than I anticipated!
Anyway, all that to say do we give fear too much of a priority when planning our child’s future?
Okay, there is also the issue of bullying and mean kids and all of that. They will have to deal with it soon enough, so let’s protect them as long as we can. I get it. I understand. I am writing this because I am trying to work this out in my own head as well. My oldest is a boy, and I really didn’t worry too much about kids being mean to him (because he’s a boy, let’s toughen him up!). I told him to turn the other cheek, don’t repay evil with evil, and all of that. However, when my daughter started school it was a different story. I had a much harder time telling her to be kind no matter what. Girls are mean! I thought the pettiness would start in middle school maybe, not kindergarten! Of course, I’m only getting my daughter’s side of the story, so who knows how many of her issues were provoked by her actions. But back to the parenting part of it. Is it my job as a mother to shield and protect her from any and all situations like this? If so, what age do I start to let her out into the world a little? Is it best to keep my kids in a protective bubble for as long as possible or gradually expose them to reality while training them to be responsible for their own attitudes and actions regardless of what others may say or do?
I’m reminiscing about my own past being raised in a pretty sheltered environment, attending Christian school through ninth grade, and heavily involved in the church. My upbringing allowed me to put my foot in my mouth quite often as I got older, mostly due to my naivety. I am so thankful that others were patient and tolerant of me with my sometimes holier than thou mindset. I felt like I was a living billboard for how perfect your life can be if you came to Christ. I now realize how wrong a lot of my motives were and how lousy I was at loving others who didn’t look exactly like me.
So, we will make mistakes with our own kids, I’m sure. But, I want them to receive as much Biblical guidance and unconditional love as I can give them here at home. And while they are out in the world (i.e. school, soccer, etc.) I want them to put what they’ve learned into practice. I’m still learning how to put the things God has taught me into practice. I’m still struggling with the whole bitterness thing and maybe that’s why the girl that was mean to my daughter at school struck such a chord with me. My kids will deal with fallen people just like I deal with them. I want them to learn to be gracious to others as I continue to learn as well (to be honest, I have stuggled with this whole grace thing all week; I am a slow learner). This is what I want my kids to remember: the world is made up of a bunch of imperfect people that Jesus died to save and we are called to love them like Jesus and lead them to a relationship with Him.
I have rambled long enough. What started out to be my thoughts on our schooling choice turned into a lesson for me. Apparently, I still have issues with worry/fear and dealing with those who have wronged me or those I love. I’ve been reading Romans 8 today and getting excited about the HOPE that is to come. Why do I dwell on the things of this world when there is so much JOY in our future?
That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.
Romans 8:18-21 (The Message)