Posted by: Ety W. | May 30, 2008

Public Education: Children as Missionaries

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There is a curious protestation amongst Christians in regards to not sending our children to public schools. I have been reminded of this since posting “Why I Homeschooled My Children“. The argument’s basic tenant is to view the public education system as a mission field, and that our presence is needed there as a witness. While I wholeheartedly agree that believing adults should serve as teachers, administrators, volunteers, and support staff in public education, the logic of applying this to our children escapes me.

Consider this:

If you were having car trouble, would you hand your ten year old the tool box and expect him to fix it? Of course not! Why? Quite a few reasons: lack of knowledge, experience, and ability to name a few.

Or this:

If a young man or women steps forward during the alter call on a Sunday morning and professes a call to missions, does the church simply hand them a suitcase and an airline ticket to Bogga-Bogga Land, wish them luck, and wave good bye? Of course not! Firstly there is prayer for discernment, and then the individual applies to seminary for training and a masters degree.

In the light of simple logic then, it absolutely escapes me why this seems a valid argument to keep children in public schools. I say this because I was often presented with it by other Christians when they learned I homeschooled. I usually made no reply, because I strongly believe that method of education is a personal choice. Still, I puzzled over it because it never made any sense to me.

My conclusion is that it was just a quick comeback by those who didn’t want to consider homeschooling themselves, and for whom Christian schools weren’t an option.

A few years ago, the whole argument took an even stranger turn when I happened to read an editorial on an Evangelical Christian website (which one, I can’t remember for the life of me.) It was by a gentleman in Christian leadership whose wife was a teacher in a public school. The article pretty much took Believers to task for suggesting that we abandon public education. In essence, he argued that if all Christian teachers and administrators left the public schools, then we would be abandoning an important mission field.

I confess that somehow I missed the part that equated the removing of our children from public schools, to Christian adults not working in public schools. As light and salt, we are to be witnesses in whatever dark corner of the world we find ourselves. However, in a system which is deliberately against the God of the Christian Bible, it takes spiritual maturity to be a witness. In light of the reasons I expressed in my last post, my suggestion is that we train up our children in an environment which nurtures Christian faith and beliefs, but always with an eye to their future witness as ambassadors for Christ.

Next, back to our study on Titus2:3-5.

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