Monday, February 15, 2010
What Do You Sound Like?
*Note: I am aware that it is possible that the producers of the videos edited some of the answers given by this dear family. AND...it was not the Duggar family.:)
I often try to think of how many of us conservative homeschool families sound to those around us. When we explain our convictions do we sound like scared, namby-pamby isolationists or do we sound strong and solid with a fervent love for the Lord and the lost? People who don't see eye to eye with homeschooling will often try to use our own words against us and misconstrue our intentions. Before opening our mouths, we need to be sure we - and our children - have an answer that will convict and make sense without conformity.
In explaining why this young lady chose the college she did, the family concentrated a lot on the dress code of the college. The fact that the young men wear suits and ties every day and the few girls who attend wear modest clothing. The girl when on to say that she didn't want to go to a school where the guy sitting next to her in class had green hair. Then she shuddered.
Ok, wait a minute. I'm all for modest dress. I wouldn't stand up and cheer if my son came home with green hair. However, what does that sound like to non-homeschoolers and the lost world? That boy with the green hair needs the Lord. His hair is not going to hurt you nor make you impure. In your one opportunity to explain to all of America why you chose a conservative Christian institution, THAT is what you say?
I attended a secular university. I would never recommend it to any Christian young person - especially a young lady - not even as a commuter student. What would I cite as my reason in front of the world? How about safety concerns on university campuses targeting women? Sure, Christian colleges may have their incidences, but, statistically, they are a lot smaller. I might even cite vulgarity. The amount of cursing on a college campus is far more than you would hear in a work place, store, mall, or most public places. After all of the years of growing up to be a Christian with a pure mind and heart - even avoiding television and certain music in order to sanctify my mind for Christ - why would I want to put myself in the center of vulgarity's breeding ground? Forget green hair. Safety and the purity of my mind is what matters.
At one point, the mother mentioned that they wanted to protect their daughter. "After all, that's why we homeschool our children. To protect them."
Again, how would a lost person hear this? Is that really true? We homeschool to protect our babies? Maybe. But, a more specific explanation would have had more conviction and strength. If someone were to ask you why you homeschool, what would you answer? I got to thinking about it while considering what my explanation would sound like to the person asking the question.
My answer: We homeschool to prepare our children spiritually and intellectually for the time when they will have to face the world. They are not ready at 5, 10, even 15 years old to go out on their own. By educating them at home, they learn more of our faith, see it in practice, and have one-on-one attention in their studies. You do not send a new recruit straight into the battle. Much time is spent preparing him before-hand so he knows how better to deal with the various situations he will come up against. That is what homeschool is - preparation for the battle.
Sure, there are those who will still find fault with that answer. However, it is a stronger explanation than "to protect them." As Christians, WE know what they're being protected from, but the world does not get that.
Oh, and by the way, when a recruit is finished with his basic training, his authorities do not shield him from dangerous situations. He is equipped to handle them. Same should be for the homeschooler. Don't send them into a mine field where the probability of surviving is minimal, but your student should not have to be sheltered so tightly after 18 years of training. Green hair ought not to be an issue. They should be able to see beyond the hair to the soul.
This is not to say Christian young people (and older Christians, for that matter) ought not be shocked at sin and things that are against the God-made nature. The purity and holiness that they have hopefully attained will create that shock value - but it should not cripple them. It should be a trigger mandating a response. Flee the temptation. Take a stand against evil. Witness to those living in darkness. Don't shudder and walk away. Don't go back in your shell. Jesus was able to sit among the sinners and talk with them without damage to His holiness.
Isn't that the ultimate goal of homeschooling - to raise our kids to be like Jesus? Send your child to a Christian college. Do what you think best. But, make sure they can be among sinners with the mind of Christ.
And, explain that to others in such a way that don't make the rest of us look like freaks.