By Tyler Hoelscher
The first seven years of my educational career were in a public school. Having recently made the transition to a private Christian school, I think back to some of the factors that influenced my decision. First and foremost, I wanted to be within God’s will, so my wife and I did a lot of praying for guidance and direction. Another factor that largely influenced my decision was the difficulties I saw in the public school.
Many of the struggles I saw were a result of our society drifting further and further away from God. As the years went by, the behaviors of and disrespect from students and even parents kept getting worse. Many people in education, from teachers to administration, like to lay blame on everything from a lack of support for schools to poor government leadership to bad policies. Schools will try various programs and teaching models, offer “success rooms” or “break rooms” where kids can leave the classroom to take a break, and even try mindfulness or meditation type techniques to help with behavior issues. I’m not suggesting that any of these techniques are necessarily wrong; however, they don’t address the real issue. Our children don’t need a new teaching model, better policies, various “break rooms,” or mindfulness techniques; they need Jesus. Families need Jesus. Children need positive, Christ-like environments and role models.
“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”Proverbs 22:6 (NLT)
In the short time I have been in a Christian school environment, I have experienced respect, love for one another, and a positive Christ-like environment. I am not saying that all public schools are bad or that all private schools are perfect. Nonetheless, Christians in private, Christian schools are usually freer and even encouraged to pray for each other, show each other the love of Jesus, talk about Jesus and all the amazing things He has done for us, and learn about the Creator as we learn about His creation. I have also been pleased to meet parents who are invested in their child’s education and in the success of the school. Since parents must pay for their children to attend private schools, most are more involved. We experience a wonderful partnership between the school and families. Often public schools can become a daycare where parents seem to expect teachers to parent as well as teach. Teachers need to be free to teach. In the public school it seemed that more and more time was spent on behavioral issues and disrespectful students causing disruptions from the learning process. Again, not all public schools are bad and not all private schools are perfect. Each family needs to send their children to a school that will work best for them.
Children spend over a thousand hours each year in school. That adds up to a lot of time during the key learning and developmental stages of their lives. As Christian parents, it is our responsibility to teach our children about God, regardless of what type of school they attend. Proverbs 22:6 (NLT) tells us: “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”
If our children can receive some godly direction while at school during those important stages of life, we help set them up for greater growth in their relationship with God. If we don’t teach our children to love Jesus, the world will teach them not to.
About the Author
Tyler Hoelscher and his wife, Annie, have four beautiful children: Layla, Lainee, Zion, and Miles. They are actively involved in their church, Church of the Open Bible in Iowa Falls, where they lead a small group Bible study and Tyler serves as worship leader.