Ken Smitherman, Former ACSI President, (retired 2009)
We are in the final weeks or days of the school year, depending on your location. It is my hope and prayer that this school year has been a blessed one for you and your family, particularly as you reflect on the role of Christian schooling in the lives of your children. As I stated in last month’s Christian School Comment, we live in economically, politically, and spiritually challenging days.
Many of you wrestle with harsh and frightening economic issues as you consider the coming school year. I urge you to contemplate the impact of the culture on our lives and in particular on the formative aspects of your children’s lives. Consider prayerfully what resources you will bring to bear when you see the culture molding—subtly and brutally sometimes—the development of your children.
I need hardly mention the seductive power of the media as they fuel our minds to indulge in every want and desire—converting narcissistic wishes into seemingly essential pursuits. Consider further the influence of entertainment mockery as it grinds away to destroy many of the Christian values that
followers of Christ hold as dear and essential. As we sense the impact of the media on mature adults, we can only imagine how it works on kids in their growing and developing years.
The nation was stunned recently when nine third graders in a Waycross, Georgia, elementary school were alleged to have put together a plot to knock out, handcuff, and stab their teacher in response to the teacher’s discipline of a classmate. People in the field of psychiatry gave responses that ranged from utter disbelief to casual dismission. In an April 2 article headlined “3rd-Graders Plot Against Teacher Doubted,” USA Today.com reported that “Dr. Louis Kraus, a child psychiatry expert at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, said he doubts they would have actually attacked.” One might have at least a slight concern about such a seemingly dismissive statement.
The brazen attack on faith-based stances, particularly those with their roots in the Christian faith, are astounding. Somewhere amid that noise and clamor, our national heritage—which has deep roots in Christianity—often languishes. Our court system has come to interpret separation of church and state to mean that faith-based thinking must be kept out of the public arena. In What’s So Great About
Christianity, Dinesh D’Souza addresses this matter by writing, “Somehow freedom for religious
expression has become freedom from religious expression. Secularists want to empty the public square of religion and religious-based morality so they can monopolize the shared space of society with their own views. In the process they have made religious believers into second-class citizens” (2007, 53). And for some reason or other, too many of us have allowed that deception to become acceptable and even to prevail.
Consider prayerfully what resources you will bring to bear when you see the culture molding—subtly and brutally sometimes—the development of your children.
It is the intent of Christian schooling to support your family in a serious focus on developing your
children’s Christian worldview—intentionally working through every aspect of the school’s curriculum and school life to develop Christ followers who are willing to stand against the negative influence of a powerful culture. It is worth the cost!