Wednesday, May 20, 2015

What should we do to protect our children’s faith from the influence of Public School?

Question : We are Christians.  We want the proper education that is rooted in the biblical worldview for our kids.But we don’t have money to send our kids to Christian School, so we sent them to the Public School.  What should we do to protect our children’s faith from the influence of Public School?

33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
1 Corinthians 15:33
            The best answer is to not send our kids to public school.  However, such decision carries with it big implications.  The lack of financial resources often becomes the reason why parents have to send their kids to public school.  Private Christian school is often too expensive.  And the financial aid often does not provide sufficient support for these parents.  This makes public school seemingly to be the only viable option.  But at the same time the parents realize that public school can certainly influence their kids in the way they do not desire.  What to do?
            The other option is home schooling.  For many this option is not desirable, because one of the parents has to spend a lot of time with the kids in order to instruct them in their academic study.  And this is undesirable for many parents because many times due to financial pressure, both parents have to work.  Next, for their kids to be able to move on in the academic ladder, home schooling also needs to follow certain standards.  The higher the grade the more difficult the materials are.  And the more difficult the materials are, the more complex the instructions that need to be provided.  This will lead to the more difficult evaluation system.  Some home schooling textbooks have included guidelines/teachers’ manual to help with this.  But the burden of responsibility often is the thing that parents do not wish to touch.  Besides, home schooling also, by nature, limits the social interaction kids have with their peers.  This limitation is often not appealing for many parents.  Not to mention the lack of social network that as the grade goes up higher the more social connections that will pave better ways to secure work and all in the future if kids go to school.

            Now, if public school is the only option, what can parents do to shield their kids from its secular influence?  One thing must be mentioned, that this option is highly risky.  The academic standard might be fulfilled, but the character building, worldview formation, and spiritual growth, are often negatively impacted.  There are not many public schools that allow some kind of Christian influence in the curriculum.  And even if there is Christian influence in the curriculum of a particular public school, one needs to be mindful of what kind of Christian theology or worldview that is being used.  Often the more inclusive or liberal Christian worldview is the one that would collaborate with public school.  And this reality makes the school even more dangerous, because then parents might relax their guard more, not knowing that their kids are being taught unacceptable views that are in opposition with the orthodox teachings of the Scripture.  These risks must be understood by parents who opt to send their kids to public school.
            Paul’s warning is not something that we can take lightly.  33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”  This truth is to be heeded.  If adults can also be influenced negatively by bad company, how much more children.  The younger a person is, the more impressionable he/she is.  Combine this natural tendency with human’s default learning system, which is imitation, and we will get the vulnerability of young minds.  This reality creates a big problem in this depraved world.  if the model that the young minds are impressed with and imitating is good, then they will very likely grow to become good.  But if the model is evil, then the children will very likely grow to become evil.  This is the heart of the problem.  Now, let’s apply this concept in the discussion of public school.

            We send our kids, impressionable as they are and very good at imitating, into public school, which as we know it is promoting a certain kind of world view.  You need to recognize that public school is not neutral, no matter how much they want to argue otherwise, it will never be neutral.  Now, public school is promoting the view of the world.  Since the intention is to be rid of any religious and faith affiliation, thus it attaches itself into a worldview system that does not acknowledge God whatsoever.  Any teaching that is godless will be taken as “neutral” for public school and will be set as the foundation and framework of the school curriculum.  When I say curriculum, it is never just the explicit curriculum.  Implicit curriculum and null curriculum are included.  According to Elliot Eisner, implicit curriculum is the most important.  Implicit curriculum, or also known as the hidden curriculum, basically is responsible for the culture of the school.  Explicit curriculum can be quite similar from school to school.  But the implicit curriculum is tremendously different and unique from one school to the other.  If the foundation and the framework are godless, then the culture of the school will definitely be godless.  This is very serious indeed.  What do you think the ethical norm of the school is?  Whose theory being employed there?  Surely Christian ethics is not in the equation.  Even Kantian ethics might not qualify simply because Kant argued that for ethics to work God must exist.  So, what ethical principles is the school going to employ?  Utilitarianism – ends justify the means?  Sartre’s atheistic existentialism, which basically argued that right or wrong/good or evil doesn’t matter as long as one makes a choice?  Nietzsche’s God is dead, which proclaims that oppressing the weak is warranted as long as it is honest?  Darwin’s evolution theory, which highlights survival of the fittest norm?  The next question then is whether you wish your kids to learn such way of life?

            Now, that kind of curriculum (explicit, implicit, and null) is then combined with the high status of academic prestige school has, which has taken an important seat and stature in the modern society, and therefore highly respected by the society.  This means that whatever the school is teaching is to be taken as “truth.”  And this “truth” is hard to be contested.  Don’t you think that our kids, who are impressionable and very good at imitating, given the fact that they are in school for 7 hours a day, five days a week, and 180 days a year, will certainly be conformed into the godless framework of the school?  When they come home, and a subject arise in the dinner table, and it is about God’s existence, you speak about God creating the universe, while your kids just learned in school that God doesn’t exist and that the world came to be through some kind of random boom called big bang and the entire living being on earth came to be through some kind of evolution without any involvement of a supreme being whatsoever.  Which do you think they will believe, you or the school?  Your credential is probably much less impressive than the school’s.  Even if you have a master’s degree or a PhD, you are just one or two the most, but the school has so many staff members and teachers – among them are people backed up with the degrees – master’s or even PhDs, and a solid history behind it, and an impressive institution prestige recognized by other prestigious institutions, and even government.  Not to mention the friends that they have.  They would not want to be the different ones and then be rejected by their friends.  Even if at home they can’t say no to you, pretty soon they will reject whatever you say.  Starting from their own mind and silent conviction.  Then moving to the avoidance of any conversation about it.  Then thinking that you are outdated and undermines your view as ancient.  Then when their time comes to be independent, they will come out and announce to you and to the world that they do not believe in God anymore.

            This danger is real.  This is not an imagination.  This scenario actually happens all around the world.  This is the risk that you are taking if you are sending your kids to public school.  Now, to answer the question: What should we do to protect our children’s faith from the influence of the public school? is going to be extremely difficult.  For sure, fervent prayer must be raised to heaven.   
  1. In humility ask the Holy Spirit to help and to protect our kids, and ask God to grant you wisdom – you will need it big time.  Then along this line, equip and prepare your kids with the right worldview.   
  2. Second, prepare and equip your kids with the reality of the godless education they are going to receive.   
  3. Third, monitor closely what they are learning from school.  At this phase, be prepared for difficult pushback from your kids.  The older they are the more difficult it is going to be.  So you must be prepared to battle the worldview of the school your kids are in.   
  4. Fourth, always be ready to bring your kids back to the orthodox Christian worldview that is based on the Scripture.  Paul said in 2 Corinthians 10:5 to “take every thought captive to obey Christ.” 
  5. Fifth, accompany them with love and patience, for they will go through a period of struggle.  They are going to struggle with their own mind.  They are going to struggle with rejection from their friends.  They are going to struggle with the ridicule from their teachers.  They will struggle with finding their fit in their world at school. This is crucial time.  You need to be their mentor to guide them through the re-equilibrium process.  If at all possible, you might want to scout for Christian kids in the same school and approach them to befriend your kids or to ask your kids to befriend them.  The principle that bad company corrupts good morals has a flip side, which is good company strengthens good morals.  So find good company for your children. 
  6. Sixth, continue to model to them the truth, and the truth in practice.   
  7. And seventh, trust God!
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

testing #2