Is Christian Education the Right Choice for Your Family?
By Gail Hallman
It is the time of year when decisions need to be made regarding where our children will attend school next year. For some, this decision is easy. For others, it is the cause of many sleepless nights. We have so much to consider in this decision; academics, athletics, fine arts, extra-curricular opportunities, and friendships to name only a few. However, sometimes I fear we miss one of the most important questions – “Is my child being prepared spiritually and is their character being strengthened to face all that life brings to them beyond high school?” Sometimes the most important needs our children have are easily overlooked.
As parents, it is our responsibility to guide our children and make decisions that watch out for their best interest. One of the greatest challenges in this as a parent is not letting our heart strings get pulled into the emotion of what our children are feeling on a given day or even seasons they go through in life. As the parent of four children, I know this all too well. Let’s face it, when our children struggle, we struggle. So often we hear their perspective on a situation and we sympathize immediately, often times only hearing their perspective. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not implying that children are not being truthful or are wrong in what they are conveying. But we, as adults need to be able to step back with a 360-degree perspective to help them navigate their perspective with truth. All too often, we don’t follow through in doing this which in turn creates a situation where we stop short of allowing our children to experience what it means to work through difficult situations, experience redemption, and allow our children to see God work. Understanding with truth brings growth, peace, and resiliency.
In a small Christian school, it is hard to offer programs that look like students will thrive in athletics, fine arts, and other programs. The truth is, we serve a mighty, big God. He is the one who will open doors. We often are the ones who feel the need to take things into our own hands and look for bigger and better. Students should seek opportunities in outside sports leagues, theater, and music no matter what school they go to. This adds to them being well rounded in their passions. Something we often don’t keep in the forefront as we seek what is best for our children is: are people holding them accountable to be honest, respectful, love others with a Christ-like love, guide them on focusing on how God can help them persevere through adversity, resolve conflict, and find true unity. These are the qualities that will make our children succeed in life.
One example of this that I was reminded of recently is the story of Lou Trivino. Lou was coached in baseball by my brother-in-law at Upper Bucks Christian School. Lou was a stand-out baseball player in high school as well as area legion baseball. Lou could have easily gone to any of the top high school programs and stood out as an excellent player. However, he chose to stay at Upper Bucks where he would learn academics as well as learn more about navigating life and developing a Christian worldview. Lou went on to play college ball from which he was drafted by the Oakland A’s. He is currently a top relief pitcher in the league. Lou’s foundation and faith have certainly helped him navigate and stand strong in a highly competitive profession. Here is a recently written article about Lou. https://www.nbcsports.com/bayarea/athletics/2019-projections-lou-trivino-looks-build-first-half-success.
In order to best prepare our students for the future, we are building our program around engaged learning and incorporating 21st Century skills. This will allow students to gain needed proficiencies such as investigation, collaboration, and problem-solving for jobs in their future that have not even yet been defined. We are so blessed to live in a place in time where topics, courses, and resources, that were once hard to obtain, are abundantly accessible to us now. One of the biggest privileges we have in a Christian school is teaching students resiliency, strong character, and faith in a powerful God. These are characteristics that will provide discernment and direction as students navigate college and life. Certainly, God uses a variety of educational platforms to reach a wide variety of students. This fact is deeply understood and respected. However, as all options for educating your child are considered, please add to the evaluation process the question, “How can I best prepare my child in all areas equipping them with the resiliency they will need to navigate life after high school?”