Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Corner of I'm Right and You're Wrong

Choosing school for your kids is complicated business. So many factors go into the decision and so many people have something to say about your decision. When Caroline started school she was our only kid and our trucking business was going pretty well. The cost of Christian school wasn't an issue and we glibly considered it the "best" school choice. As we navigate a new reality which includes the possibility of public schools, I am learning how truly judgmental parents can be. There are plenty of right/wrong issues in parenting but school choice is not one of them. God calls each family to a different path. Some families are called to homeschool. This is a huge committment, even more of a lifestyle choice than a way of educating your kids. Many parents are called to send their kids to Christian schools. I also believe that God calls certain families to be in the public school system. Several years ago, I wouldn't have said that. I didn't really think God would call you to send your kids "there" (said with the proper amount of disdain in my voice) My BFF has been fighting sending her kids to the public schools for years. They have homeschooled and sent them to a small Christian school. She made a brilliant comment the other day.

"We have been praying for God to provide (financially) for _______ Christian School for years and the money hasn't been there. Maybe we need to open our eyes to the idea that God has a plan and a purpose for our kids in the public school."

Brilliant. Often in the Christian school enviroment I grew up and am presently involved in as parent, has a superiority complex. Then again, I know some homeschoolers with the same idea. And some public schoolers. So no one has a corner on the "I'm better than you" market. Christian school parents tend to throw around Christian school-ese phrase "Trust God to provide" This is generally uttered by people who never have had a financial struggle. I'm not talking about the "I can't afford to go to WDW this year" struggle but true "I lost my job and am worried about foreclosure" financial struggle. This statement loosely translates to "If you never go out to eat, only shop at Goodwill, do not have cable TV or internet access, and only drive one car, you can go to Christian schools." Which translates to "If you lived how I say you should, you could afford it."

I'll say it again. God has a different plan for each family. One plan is not superior than the other. God is not absent from the public schools. He does not only go where invited. He is sovereign and that includes the public schools. Do I love my local Christian school? Absolutely. My girls have learned so much and have had some amazing teachers influence them. Am I a little freaked at the option of public schools? Um, yeah.

Jeremiah 29:11 says "'For I know the plans I have for you' declares the Lord 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'" Notice that verse does not include the condition "If you go to Christian schools."