Monday, September 23, 2013

What I Want for My Children

Maybe it's because I'm 30 years old, or perhaps it's that next month I'll be 31. Maybe it's because I have a beautiful wife who I adore more than anyone on this earth, or that our daughter is a tinier reflection of her mother's innocence and beauty. Then again, maybe I'm just finally willing to reflect long enough on my life to wonder what really matters.

Whatever the root cause might be, my wife and I have casually discussed for some time how we want to educate our children: public, public charter, private/Christian, or home school? While my darling wife was fairly certain from the get-go, I was pretty uncertain - which is quite unusual if you don't me know well. I tend to know what I believe, and why I believe it. How I approach an uncertain subject is: slowly. I tend to be cautious, skeptical of new ideas, and always questioning. 

Therefore, to make our decision a bit simpler, we were able to quickly erase common public school and home school off our list. As time went on, and the realities of the cost of private education became known, we were able to cross that off the list. That left public charter schools, which have a growing reputation of being better performing schools and would be within our means.

We began discussing education prior to the recent Presidential election, and since that time any number of key events have compelled me to spend some additional time thinking about my daughter's future. Events such as the President's re-election, the Supreme Court effectively over-turning DOMA, and the varied attacks on religious liberty and practice in American civil society.

For the sake of time, I will limit myself to a few *recent* examples of encroachments on religious liberty. First, California upheld a law banning therapy from willing minors to receive therapeutic assistance in overcoming same-sex attraction. Second, San Antonio's city counsel joined 180 other U.S. cities and towns that have adopted some form of non-discrimination ordinance, which will not allow anyone with a bias against various sexual orientations and/or gender identities to be appointed to government positions. Third, in 2006, a photography business owned by Christians refused to photograph a same-sex couple's commitment ceremony. They were sued, and last month the New Mexican Supreme Court declared they were unlawful even though they had argued that to force them to photograph the celebration of a same-sex ceremony would go against their religious convictions. The concluding remarks by a majority justice in the case stated: "In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship."

For those who are my age, you can think back to a time when a moment of silence was observed before the start of the school day. The students were informed that this could be a time of prayer, or simply of personal reflection or preparation as you start a new day. We were taught in the goodness of America and her place in the world. America was the land of the free, and the home of the brave. We were founded by those who escaped religious persecution, and sought a new world where they could live out their lives peaceably with religious liberty in hopes of being an example to other societies. Marriage wasn't up for debate - it could only be between one man and one woman.

My ... how things have changed. You'll have to forgive me, because I am still a little shell-shocked at the rapid rate of decay our society has experienced these past decades. I am not giving up hope; no, as a Christian there is always hope.

One day I had a long talk with a few of my non-Christian friends about education. I told them that home schooling was "back on the table" for how we might raise our children, and their reactions helped me formulate my opinion. In short, I got the distinct impression, more than once, that "Oh ... so what you're saying is: you're not one of us. And you don't want your children to become one of us either." These words were not said outright, but this was the general sentiment being expressed. I left that conversation and answered their sentiment: You're absolutely right.

That very night I told my wife my decision, and now we are both fully on board with home schooling. I don't believe home schooling is the only correct way for Christians to raise children, but we do believe it will allow an easier implementing of the Scripture that reads: "Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6, NASB). What I don't want is to have to spend every day after school asking the question: "What do I need to correct today...macro-evolution? Age of the earth? How did the dinosaurs become extinct? The New Deal saved America? The Christian creation 'myth?' You have a GLASS [Gay Lesbian and Straight Supported] club on school? Your Christian club isn't allowed to do [such and such]? All religions are created equal? Same-sex couples are just as valid as hetero-sexual couples? Christianity is too narrow-minded?" ... etc etc etc.

It isn't that I won't be introducing my children to all of the above subjects. I will shelter my children from the world's influence, while at the same time introducing wrong concepts myself, but from a Christian perspective. That way my children will know where Mommy and Daddy stand on an issue. I want my kids to hear my thoughts on a subject before they hear about it from a secular classroom that approaches the world with an anti-Christian worldview.

Just scratching the surface, I have come to realize the immense responsibility of raising children and the truly wonderful gift that they are from the Lord God. I believe that parents have the duty to raise their children in the best way they know how, to provide them with the best opportunities available so that they may flourish in everything that they do. All parents want what is best for their children. As Christians, we go even further than this because our desire is everything mentioned earlier, but also that they love the Lord their God with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength. That their words and deeds might reflect the goodness of the Creator of all things. That is what I want for my children. 

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