By now, parents have decided on schooling for their kids, as they’ve cried, worried, wondered and shaken their heads at the choices they’re having to make. It’s an unprecedented time for sure, and now our children are suffering in ways we’d never choose them to suffer. I too have prayed with my own daughter as she and her husband have had to make tough decisions about schooling for the new school year.
Some have this idea that if we all have enough faith, we can send our kids to school without worry and they will be covered and suffer no effects of the viruses around them. But then what if they bring the virus home to family members and spread it, causing others to be ill? Others have set their foot down and decided that no way are they sending their children to school. The kids will stay home and learn, even if it means mom and/or dad have to sacrifice time and work harder.
My daughter called the other day and asked me what we (her parents) would do if we had to make this decision. I didn’t want to tell her what to do, because I honestly didn’t know the best solution and it was ultimately up to my daughter and her husband to decide. Her question did remind me of an earlier time when she was young, though…
When my kids were in public school, we had lots of friends begin home schooling as an alternative to the public school system. Home schooling versus sending kids to public school became a hot topic of conversation. I even had one friend who attended home school meetings and heard that if parents truly loved their kids they would keep them away from public school. Some said that sending kids to public school was like throwing kids to the wolves to be devoured.
For some reason, we never wavered on our own stance, and we sent our kids to public school. I’m sure if we would have sensed real danger or felt our kids were going to be harmed in any way, we would have kept them home. However, every year we prayed and we continued to send them in to the public school system, where they attended class with others…in a school in our neighborhood.
Oddly enough, our strongest opposition and segregation came from those we worshiped with. Several families had chosen to home school and made it evident that they felt it was the better choice, making several comments that hurt. On one camping trip, our son took a friend from school with us, and that little boy said the “s” word, according to a home school kid. The mother of the home school kid told him not to play with my son’s friend. And guess what the “s” word was? Shut up. Others made comments on the poor quality of education in public school, and the home school kids gathered in huddles, away from those in public school, as if each group had some sort of disease the other one didn’t want to get.
I know it’s not comparing apples to apples, but my daughter’s question reminded me of the judgment that came from both sides of parents and their choices made with their kids. The judgment caused division, and the division trickled down to the kids.
Every parent has to do what’s best for their children, is what I told my daughter. And very rarely (well never) does God send a blimp across the sky when we pray, with the answer to our prayers trailing along behind for us to see. He just tells us to pray, trust, believe and act accordingly. We can follow what brings us peace. We can always change direction if we feel we have acted too hastily or circumstances change.
But the best thing we can do is entrust our kids into His care. We do not have a bubble big enough or strong enough to encircle our children, nor should we put them inside one. And fear certainly cannot be our motivation for action. Many parents only home school out of total fear that their kids will succumb to evil and be eaten up.
I sent my kids to public school, prayed over them, trained them, and they thrived. I had many friends that kept their kids home and taught them behind their four walls, prayed over them, trained them, and their children thrived. And the division that was there between parents was realized and talked about, and we forgave and purposed to stop throwing darts and start loving instead. I realized I had judged them, and they realized they had been insensitive in their conversations around me.
As parents, we are going to be faced with decisions regarding our children our entire lives. We speak and guide when they’re young; we pray and release as they age, and we stay quiet and on our knees when they’re adults…unless they ask. And when they do ask, like my daughter did, we give them the best answer we know to give…
Pray, seek peace, and pursue it.
As the new school year starts, there will be kids wearing masks and social distancing in the classroom. There will be kids sitting on their beds at home behind ipads as they work and learn with a parent nearby. And let’s hope that the school year doesn’t divide but rather brings us alongside each other to aid and encourage no matter the decision we’ve made. Our children will take note of what we say and how we treat, and they will follow suit.
That might be the greatest of lessons they learn all year…