“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” Psalm 32:8
There are certain situations in my life that I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was in the right place at the right time . . . in public school. Over the years, I questioned my parent’s decision because I heard pastors and teachers speak so strongly about the subject. Then I looked back over my life.
I made lifelong friendships which affected me in a very positive way. Contrary to popular, conservative Christian beliefs, these friends have taught me to be a better human being. I have often found that my unchurched friends are more gracious, more forgiving, and generous than I have ever been or many Christians I have met. I would have never met them had I not gone to public school and been able to invite them to teen activities at my church. Many times when I knew my friends were talking about something of which I would disapprove, they stopped as I walked up to the group without even having to say anything. They never made fun of me for the way I dressed or my standards. In fact, many times they mentioned they respected me for living as I did.
Witnessing to friends might be expected, but I also was able to share my faith with teachers. A few teachers were atheists. They actually wanted to know what I thought. I even gave my science teacher tracts and she read them. Had I not been there, who would have given the tracts to her? They were about Creation. I was never given failing grades or graded more harshly because of my faith.
One class that I did have the privilege to take was Latin. It was a privilege to take Latin for four years from one of my very favorite teachers, Mrs. Phillips. She was one of the kindest, loveliest people you would ever meet and even years after I graduated she knew me by name when I saw her out in town. She had hundreds of students over her entire teaching career, but she knew me.
Latin is also a window into my husband’s language, Romanian. I rarely speak about my husband on my blog because he is a behind the scenes kind of guy. Our plan when we married was and always will be is to return to Romanian to start churches. When I went to Romania for my college internship, I immediately began recognizing words. Some Romanian words are direct carry overs from Latin. Romanian is the closest language which is spoken today and traceable to Latin. How many Christian schools offer Latin? My parents would have never been able to teach Latin to me if they homeschooled me. I would have never imagined going to Romania when I was in 8th grade and signing up for 9th grade classes!
Public school also prepared me for my first real job after graduating college. I became a sign language interpreter for a deaf student in a public school. I was not shocked or uncomfortable by my surroundings. Some might say, “You should never feel comfortable when you are among the Lost.” In this situation, it was exactly what was needed. I was not comfortable to sin. I was comfortable with the public school system. I jumped right into my role of interpreter without hesitation. My student was failed by the system and fell through the cracks. He was defensive towards my presence. I had to be firm and establish my roll. He later asked questions about God. I still pray for his salvation.
For a short time, I also worked in an elementary school as an aide to a hard of hearing student. Many of the teachers both at the high school and the elementary school were Christians. They asked after my health regularly and prayed for me. I loved working with those ladies.
I also had the opportunity to observe the education system in action. A few years later, I was given the opportunity to teach in a Christian school as a 6th grade teacher. I loved both experiences of interpreting and teaching. I miss all my students and rejoice when I hear of their successes.