We worked as Youth Pastors for eight years. That was six and a half years longer than other Youth Pastors lasted on average. We worked closely with kids who were Home Schooled, Privately Educated in a Christian system, and kids who were in the Public system. By the time we were ready to evaluate which educational option to consider for our own children, we had good reason to run from all three.
Craig and I prayed for years about what we would do. We desired to do what God wanted for our kids. We wanted to be obedient. We didn’t want fear to be the deciding factor in picking a school. As we prayed and considered our options, we could not escape a number of Bible verses.
Matthew 9:36-38 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
When I was young, every other summer we would travel as a family out to Saskatchewan to visit our Grandparents and extended family. One of my favorite memories was playing hide and seek in a corn field. The stalks were higher than we were tall and we had a great time running through the rows calling to each other. I spent three years of post secondary education out there so I could be closer to my Grandparents and get to know them better. On the way, my Dad would quiz me on what was growing in the fields. I got fairly adept at identifying flax, barley, wheat, and canola. Not as quick as him, but pretty good I thought! Every fall I get this strong urge to get in the car and drive. I have a deep longing to see those beautiful fields sprawling across the prairies. It is magnificent. I think that is why references to fields, soil, and harvest resonate with me.
I love that Jesus looked at the crowd and had compassion on them. I find the description of the crowd insightful and heartbreaking. Sometimes I wonder if we, those who have a personal relationship with God forget that it is the greatest treasure, meant to be shared. I wonder if fear of the world has replaced compassion for those who are fighting to make their way, harassed and helpless. Craig and I could not escape this passage as we were considering where our children should go to school. The workers are few.
We also could not escape Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
After a time, it became clear that God was clearly directing our kids into the Public system. I was afraid. Sending our kids to school was the first time I would be letting go a little. I sensed God telling me that he was big enough for anything that would come along and that we weren’t alone. Our kids certainly were not alone. God assured me that he cared about them and their futures deeply. Ironic really, I should have been wondering how he could be at peace trusting us to raise these three precious souls.
We have been astonished as journals have come home at the end of the year. Honest expressions of faith. The story of why Jesus came to earth, in their own hand writing, in their own words for their teachers to read. One teacher asked us at parent interviews if we knew what our child was reading during personal reading time. “The Bible! How cool is that?!” she exclaimed!
Sitting in Social Studies our daughter was asked by a peer who has chosen an alternative lifestyle “You’re a Christian aren’t you? Do you hate me?” Our daughter didn’t yet know this classmate but was able to say, “Yes, I am a Christian, no I don’t hate you!”. They talked for a while and we pray that her classmate was able to walk away with a different perspective on believers.
Our son was asked by a group of friends “Why is the Cross such an important symbol to Christianity?” He was given the opportunity to explain why Jesus chose the Cross to save humanity. On another occasion a classmate said “If God is loving, why is there a hell?” To which our child responded, “Is it loving to force someone to be with you if the other person has chosen that they don’t want to be with you?” These are a small handful of ways they have been able to interact with kids who really do not have much exposure to God.
We have driven our kids home from sporting events and prayed like crazy for them as they have sat in the back seat answering hard questions from team mates about God and faith for hours at a time. Later on they have said, “I didn’t even know I knew the answers to all those questions!” The thrill of having the Holy Spirit equip and work through them evident by the glow in their eyes and the surprise in their voice.
We don’t take credit for this and neither do our kids. This was strictly God showing them, preparing them and working in them. This is not because of human wisdom or effort. They were where God put them and he gave them what they needed for what they would face. That is one reason why the faith of a child is precious.
We have had to be flexible in working with the choices available to us in order to get the best education for each of our children. For the most part we have had incredibly skilled and caring teachers. There was a year when we knew that the teacher our youngest child had was not a good fit. The atmosphere in the classroom was causing him to shut down. It created so much anxiety for him that he had no physical resources left to put towards learning. We had tried everything. One morning Craig said “I’m not letting him go back to that class.” I fully agreed. When we approached our school administrator with this decision, he fast tracked our district home schooling and had us set up to go in record time. By the next year, God had shifted the intermediate teaching staff into a line-up that suited our child and his classmates well.
God equipped our kids for what he called them to. He has been faithful in every way. He has given
us wisdom to guide and walk with them. He was with us in it.
If He is directing you to home school, he will equip you. If he is leading you to Private Education, he has you covered. What ever your concerns or fears are, God is bigger. If you are at a place where you are deciding where your kids should go to school, don’t dismiss the Public system too quickly. You may be the family God is calling to bring light. If he is leading you, don’t be afraid to follow. He has good things for you. Don’t deny your family of the adventure God has for you!