Society and the Christian Influence.

What I am about to write, will probably ruffle some feathers and that’s okay, sometimes we need our feathers ruffled. It goes back to my Real or Not Real post in some ways because it is another mind set that has effected us as a nation. This post will not be completely about “Facing the Public” in the sense of public school, however that is part of the equation.

As we enter the voting season (just 7 days from now) we are faced with a very divided nation, both conservatives and liberals are divided about “their” presidential candidates. Christians are divided about who to vote for, many say you have to vote for Trump, others say vote for a relatively unknown person like McMullen because he is a more “moral” person. I have personally seen people attack one another in a rash series of posts on facebook about their said candidate that they prefer, and while this isn’t unusual during any election year, it has been far worse this year seeing conservatives fighting other conservatives and liberal fighting other liberals over the selections of candidates.

I will make no bones about it, I am both conservative and a Christian. I won’t post who I plan to vote for, because frankly it isn’t important to the article and it isn’t any of your business anyways. But as a conservative and a Christian seeing other conservatives and Christians complain about our presidential candidates, I have one thing to say, our nation is in the state it is politically and morally because of the failure of Christians to influence society as a whole. Don’t blame it on liberal agenda. Don’t blame it on President Obama. Don’t blame it on Hillary Clinton. Don’t blame it on Congress or the House. It is the fault of Christians who have chosen to remove themselves from the sphere of influence and have therefor failed to reach into society and make a difference.

As you know I am a big supporter of Christian students and teachers in the public school. I don’t believe it is for every family, but I think there needs to be far more than their currently are. You see when prayer (BTW it wasn’t a ban on all prayer) was removed from school, Christians left, and left all influence they had. How can you expect public schools to be any different than they are, if the influence of Christianity has been removed, not by laws, but by Christians themselves? This is an opportunity to reach society that we need to be a part of.

But it isn’t just the realm of Public Schools that Christians have removed themselves from. I can remember one time while in college we had several politicians visit the school. One of them was running for a local office, and was also a local Pastor. After their visit, I can remember several students talking in the dorm how impossible it could be for someone to be a good Pastor while being a politician as well. This shows that there is an underlying ideal that you can not be a good Christian while also being a good politician, so Christians remove themselves from the ideal of being in Politics, when what we need is to have more people like Andrew Hemingway who ran for governor of New Hampshire, in 2014. He is a strong Christian but is also very influential on the political front. These are people who influence society.

What about Lawyers? I hear people all the time “all lawyers are liars”, if it is said often enough, people begin to believe it. So why would a Christian want to be a lawyer, when everyone thinks that all lawyers are liars! Grant it some lawyers are liars, but you can’t judge all lawyers by a few bad lawyers, just as you can’t judge all Christians by a bad experience with other Christians! We need more Christian lawyers, and not just those who are going to work for a Christian Firm, we need Christians working in secular firms as well! These are people who influence society.

So when you look at the state of our nation and how far we have come, when Christians remove themselves from the positions to influence society, it isn’t right to blame society for going in the direction that the sinful nature of people is going to take them, it is the fault of the Christian for refusing to do his duty and reach the World.

So when a Christian family feels that Public School is God’s leading for their children, don’t criticize them, but encourage them and their children to go out and influence other students. When a Christian feels called to be a Public School teacher, let them know you will pray for them daily and for the students that they have an opportunity to influence for good. When a person who is a Christian feels called to run for a public office encourage them and let them know you will stand with them and behind them as they face an ever changing society. When a Christian feels called to be a lawyer or judge, hold them high, pray for them that God would help them discern what is right, true, and just. Don’t discourage these people from influencing society, encourage them to follow God’s calling no matter what it is!

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End of Summer, Beginning of School

In just about a week, the school year will start back. I anticipate this to be a good, but busy year. Aric our oldest (6) will be going into first grade, Alex our middle (5) is starting Kindergarten, and I am serving as the Communications Chair for our PTO (Parent Teacher Organization). When I started the blog last year I had planned on posting something every week, but there wasn’t much to post some weeks. I plan on continuing to post this school year on things that will encourage and challenge my fellow Christians to greater heights. Here are some tips for the start of the school year.

1) Go Back-to-School Shopping Early

I know there is the tax free weekend in many states, and I am all for saving a little money, but let’s face it unless you are planning on buying a TON of school supplies, you may only save a few dollars. You will already be stressed enough the week before school starts, why add more stress by going shopping the same time everyone else is doing their school shopping? Many stores start their back-to-school sales at the beginning of July. For our family we try to purchase most of what we need online and then purchase the remaining items toward the middle of July. (For back to school clothes go to the thrift shops, why spend 100’s of dollars on clothes when you can get all you need for 2 children for $50).

2) Let the school know they have your support

You don’t  have to be on a PTO board or school board to let the school know that you support them. Write and email to the principle, tell him/her that you support them as a parent and are available to help with anything that they might need you for. As I have said in past posts, schools really do want you as parents involved. Don’t overstep and over push, but find way to volunteer and help. (Even an hour helping put books on the shelf in the library once a week is a great help to the school)

3) Show up for meet the teacher, reassure the teacher that you support them

Meeting the teacher isn’t a requirement for a child to go to school but you should require yourself to be there. Going to this event gives you a chance to meet both your child’s teacher and some of their classmates. While there ask the teacher what ways you can help them through the school year. Let them know that you are glad they are your child’s teacher and that you support them.

4) Join your PTO

Why should you join your PTO? Because as a member you have the opportunity to show your support for the school and have a collective voice with your fellow members to voice support, concern, questions, and opinions to the leadership of the school. Take time to join them, you aren’t wasting a few dollars for a decal or magnet, you are showing your support for the school.

5) Pray

Certainly you should pray more than just at the start of the school year, but the closer it gets, the more you should pray for your children and the challenges they will face this year. It helps prepare your heart for the school year and helps your children prepare their hearts. Let them tell you things they would like you to pray for, no matter how “small” their request may be, pray for it, God cares about them enough to give an answer.

What type things do you do to get ready for the beginning of a school year?

Why I Have a Passion for Public Schools

I know it has been a few weeks since I have posted. I thought that I was going to be able to spend some extra time during Fall Break to write future articles, but that didn’t happen. Then I started writing this article last week, had completely typed out what I thought I wanted to say, only to realize it really wasn’t what God wanted me to say or how He wanted me to say it. So, now, here are my thought on the passion I have gained for public schools.

At a very early age I felt like God had set me apart to do some kind of work in the realm of missions. In fact you may or may not know that my wife and I had planned on being missionaries in Newfoundland, Canada. We were trying to raise funds for nearly a year, before the Lord gave us a sudden change of direction. When the Lord brought that change it was a good thing. It was a time that God needed to teach us some very important lessons. I became the youth pastor of a church in South Carolina and it was there that I first began to have some real interaction with Public School students. The youth group I started to lead was largely made up of students who went to the public schools, the breakdown was something like 30/10 public to Christian school teens. Most of these teens were in homes of families who came to church with them, with a few who came with friends. But this youth group was a lot different that any of the youth groups in which I attended as a teen. The youth groups I had been in had always been the opposite, 90% of the kids I grew up with were in some sort of Christian education. While the breakdown was a lot different from what I knew, the teens weren’t any different than what I had seen in my own youth groups. They were teens who were seeking direction, seeking identity, and seeking for God.

Those were the starting years of my life in ministry. Even though it has been almost 4 years since I have left that ministry, I still keep up with many of the youth who were in that group. I am proud to see many of them going on to serve the Lord, some are pursuing ministry, others are looking at the medical field or other careers, and others still may not be sure what God wants them to do, but it thrills my heart to see many of them still serving the Lord with their whole heart. My heart for public schools started with this youth group and has continued since. Now just so you don’t get the wrong picture,  this doesn’t mean that I like public school kids any more than the Christian/ Home School kids, I just have gained a heartbeat for helping those in the public schools.

Since leaving South Carolina and moving to Georgia, the Lord has really multiplied that burden more for the public schools. When coming to the church we currently serve at, I knew that I would have to become a bi-vocational youth pastor. I didn’t know what kind of job I would be able to get. I applied at a bunch of different places, but made it clear that I wouldn’t be available most weekends or on Wednesday nights, after all a youth pastors busiest times is on the weekends, and I certainly didn’t want to miss teaching the teens on Wednesdays. This didn’t make for a lot of job opportunities. Then someone mentioned I ought to consider substitute teaching for the local public schools. So I took the class, had my background check run, and got onto the substitute list. Once my name was approved and teachers knew I would be available to teach, the phone started ringing and I started substituting a few days every week. Now I have been substituting for 3 years.

My heart for missions work has never died. I didn’t know exactly why the Lord gave me such a heart for missions if He wasn’t going to let us go to a foreign mission field, but after 3 years of substitute teaching, I have finally found the mission field God has been preparing for me. The Lord can do amazing things in the public schools and to many times Christians distance themselves from this establishment. No doubt this education system is not right for every Christian child. Some would say it isn’t fit for any Christian, period, but is a school any worse than the rest of the world system children are exposed to through living life every day?

It takes special people, both teachers and children, to be called into this vast mission field, just as it takes a special calling for someone to board a plane and fly half way around the world to reach a people whose language they don’t speak, and whose culture is completely foreign to them. But God still calls them. Is there dangers within the walls of a public school? Yes, no doubt there is, just as there are dangers that lurk on every corner of life. This is the reason why we must seek God’s face for grace and guidance every day. Just because a Christian child is raised in a Christian home, doing Christian schooling, and attending a Christian church does not mean that they are exempt from falling away from the principles taught in your home. Just because a Christian child is taught in a public school, is faced with the difficulties there, and will have their faith challenged does not make them a sure candidate to fail as a child of God. This issue is not as black and white as some would like to make it seem. In a perfect world all Christian children would never stray, especially those who were brought up with all things “Christian”, but we live in a fallen world, a world where good families see their children choose by their own free will to reject God. These were homes that tried to give direction, cared about the discipline of their children, and cared about the spiritual well-being of their children.

Imagine the millions of children who face life with no direction, with no one who cares about their discipline, about their spiritual well-being. This is a large majority of children who attend the public school. No one to love them, screaming for attention, yet Christians want to stay away from them. Let them rot, let them die, let them spend a Christ-less eternity in Hell, because of how wicked the school system is. Do we tell missionaries not to go to dangerous countries? Do we stop missionaries and say, “Don’t you know how wicked that country is? Don’t go to that country because their government is evil! Don’t go to this country because your children will be exposed to things that aren’t Biblical! They might be influenced by that country and those people!”? NO! But we will tell a Christian they are in sin for sending their child to a public school. We might even tell an adult that they are in sin for teaching in one of those “God forsaken” schools. But the only reason they are “God forsaken” is because Christians have abandoned them, Christians have shunned them, Christians have put them on the “leprosy” list and cry “DON’T TOUCH THEM! DON’T GO NEAR THEM! UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN!”. But last I checked in my Bible, Christ came to heal the lepers, and He called us to be like Him.

Some would say the best way to reach those in the public schools is by driving church buses and picking them up from their homes, finding them on visitation, and inviting them to church. These are great methods! But how many millions fall through the cracks of this strategy? Who will invite them if no Christians are called to reach them in the school halls? Who will be the Light to them, if we snub every Christian child and teacher out of the system? No one! But thank the Lord not every Christian has bought into the lie that Christians do not have a place in the public schools. Thank God that there are Christian students and teachers who still have an open door to win others to Christ and who have answered the call to be missionaries to this great mission field. Thank the Lord that he still gives youth pastors, like myself, the opportunity to not only substitute teach in the school, but to also be able to teach Bible classes in the school on a regular basis. Thank the Lord that He still has people preaching His Word and the free gift of salvation through programs like the FCA and Children’s Bible Clubs. God said, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14). Praise God for his love for these children, and for those who He has and who He will raise up to continue to be that shining Light into the Public schools.

The doors of opportunity are closing quickly on being able to get the Gospel in the public school systems. Christians should flood those doors as much as possible before the doors completely shut.

Learning to adjust

Seven weeks ago my oldest child Aric started his first year of elementary school and I can say this has been a big time of adjustment for all of us. 4 weeks ago our third child, Alton, was born and added to the need to adjust. When change happens in life sometimes you can find it extremely hard to adjust and be just plain overwhelming. I know that eventually I will be adjusted to this new time of life, but here are a few things I have found a difficult time to adjust too.

1) Going to Bed Early

I consider myself to be more of a night owl than a morning person. Before Aric started school I normally was to bed between 12am-2am working on projects for my company, but since the start of the school year I have to adjust my schedule to getting up before 7am so going to bed so late isn’t a good ideal. I mentioned a little about this in the blog post from the first week of school.

2) Being Productive Between Drop-off and Pickup times

This has been the biggest adjustment for me. I already kept a busy schedule before Aric started school, but now that he has started school it seems like the 6 hours between dropping him off and picking him up is hardly every productive. I know that I really am being productive, but it is hard to grasp that it actually is. I work 2 (sometimes 3) jobs. I am an Assistant Pastor, a Freelance Graphic Designer, and a Substitute teacher.

Many times when I get home from dropping Aric off I get home and try to start working on graphics projects or getting things ready for church. Just about the time I finish with some of my projects it is lunch time.  Then by the time lunch is over, I only have an hour before I have to leave and pick Aric up from school (2:00pm). So even in just a little paragraph you can see it can be a heart thing to make sure I am productive. But over time I will figure it out I am sure.

3) Taking extra time to spend with my children

You might be thinking, “Well, Duh! It’s your responsibility to spend time with your children”. It isn’t that I didn’t spend time with my children before, but now that we aren’t all at home, all day together, it takes some adjustment. With a new-born baby in the house, it takes a time of adjustment to juggle things back around and make sure my children get the time with their father that they need. Sometimes this means taking my individual children out and just hanging out with them. But it still is a hard adjustment to make when so many new things are going on in my life.

What type of adjustments have you had to make in your life either when your children have first started school or when summer has ended and your children are headed back to school?

Book Fair Volunteer

This past week I had my first opportunity to volunteer to do something at my son’s school. They were in need of parents to volunteer to help with the book fair they would be holding in the Library of the school, so as I feel it was my responsibility to help I volunteered  for a few hours on Monday. I had hesitated to volunteer for a little bit, with having a new baby in the house, trying to figure out a new sleeping schedule, and needing to complete jobs that were already behind, it was easy to make excuses not to help. I began by rationalizing that there would be plenty of children who’s parents had volunteered to help and that they really wouldn’t need me, but since I had already said I would be there I needed to keep my commitment.

When we arrived at school I walked Aric into the school building, checked in, and headed to the library. I expected to find a library full of parents jumping in to help, but there were only 2 other parents ready to help. I stayed for the time that I had volunteered and asked if they would need my help again the next day. The librarian told me she would love to have my help anytime I wanted to be there as there weren’t very many who had jumped on the opportunity to help.

Tuesday was “Book and Breakfast” day, a day that they offer to let you come eat breakfast with your child and check out the book fair together. I arrived a little early and thought that there would be a bunch of parents excited about eating breakfast with their Pre-K – 2nd Grade students (approx. 260 students). But when I arrived there were only a handful of parents there to eat with their children, a few more arrived after Aric and I had ate our doughnuts. Once back in the Library there weren’t but maybe 8 parents who came through with their child to pick out books.

Before I left for the day the Librarian was telling some of the teachers how thankful she was that she had some new parents coming in to volunteer for helping as all the parents who had helped in times passed no longer had children in the school and had moved on with their children.

Three quick things I learned from being a “Book Fair Volunteer”:

1) Schools really do like parents to volunteer

2) Not many parents will take the time to volunteer

I do understand that not all parents are able to because of their jobs

3) Not many parents took advantage of spending quality time to get to know more about their child’s school.

It isn’t that I expected every child to have a parent there to eat breakfast with their child. I would say at least 3/4 of the students ride the bus, but still to only have 8-10 parents show up to have breakfast with their children just baffles my mind. Every morning when I go to drop off Aric at school there are at least another 16 cars there, and that is only the parents who get their early. As I have stressed before, I believe in order for a child to succeed in ANY school, parents need to be involved as much as possible, but it is obvious that many parents do not take the time to do so.

Guest Blog: God’s Leading Each Step Of The Way

“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.

 

 

Conversation with a Friend

Friendships are a special part of everyone’s life. At church recently we had a good friend, who is a missionary to Mongolia, visit and present his ministry to our church. He and I talk often on the phone, but this was the first time in about 2 years that he and I had gotten to see each other face to face.  While I wish that he and I could have had more time to talk, the time we did have was very refreshing.  I could babble on about everything that we talked about, but since I like to keep this blog as an encouragement to those of us who have children in public school I will only mention the encouragement that I had gotten from him concerning my children attending public school.

We first talked about how Christians have missed out on a great opportunity to reach people within the public school system. Back in the early 60’s there was a huge push for Christians to exit the public school system because of the removal of School Prayer (That was prayer over the intercom before the start of the school day). Their cry was that the public schools were a lost cause because of that removal and that the only way that America would be saved was the establishment of Christian Schools and homeschooling. Looking now at 51 years since this has happened we could honestly say to one another, that the establishment of freedoms to have Christian Schools and Homeschooling has done very little to win our country to Christ. We see America becoming less and less Christian every day. Am I saying to abandon Christian schools and homeschooling and put all Christian children back into the Public School? No, not every Christian is called into a public school setting. During the course of this discussion we came to realize a few things.

1) Public School Isn’t for Every Family

I appreciated this friends support for me and the direction the Lord had given us. While he himself said he wouldn’t feel comfortable sending his child to public school (and being a missionary on deputation anyways it wouldn’t be practical), he did not criticize me for the choice we had made as a family. In fact he praised the Lord to know that there would be yet another Christian influence in our public schools reaching out to people who may other wise never have a Christian to influence their lives.

2) No Schooling Choice is Perfect

He and I both were part of the same homeschooling group as teenagers. We had gone through much of our middle school and high school years together. My friend is 3 years younger than me, but we still had developed a friendship that has lasted for many years. But looking back at our homeschooling group, there were very few people that we could find that continued loving and serving God when they entered adulthood (that is not to puff us up or make us look like saintly figures, but to give reality that just because you’re homeschooled doesn’t give you a better chance to turn out for God). In fact a startling statistic I shared with him, is that in the last 6 years of  being a youth pastor I have seen very little no difference between the percentage of teenagers who go to Public School vs. Christian School/Homeschool that continue serving the Lord after they finish high school. In fact if anything the percentage would lean a little higher on the side of public school students.

3) The Problem Isn’t the Schools, It’s the Parents

In the end the responsibility of children falls squarely on the shoulders of the parents. Now this isn’t to say that the schools could have a possible influence on a child, but I strongly believe if parents would be more involved with their children’s lives and schools, that the possibility of that influence will diminish greatly.

I can remember my dad approaching me one time before the school year started, he warned me to stay away from certain people who went to the same school that I went to, he said “Aaron these people are people who I do not want to be your friends because they will hurt you spiritually. But Aaron here are some people who you really should try to have as friends”. When my dad told me that it was in an environment that was completely “Christian”, a Christian School, a school with only students from one church. My mom and dad stayed engaged with me as a student growing up, even in a Christian school.

The major reason many Christians will fail to continue serving God both while they are in school and after they graduate is because after they started school parents completely let go of their children and will not get  involved in the education of their children. Before you say, “well homeschooling fixes that problem because parents have to be involved then”, I can attest to the fact that many of those who homeschool their children, do just as little in the way of educating them in the ways of the Lord as parents who send their children to public schools and Christian schools. If you didn’t get it before, I will state it again, as a youth pastor I have seen that there is little to no difference between the percentage of teenagers who go to Public School vs. Christian School/Homeschool that continue serving the Lord after they finish high school. In fact if anything the percentage would lean a little higher on the side of public school students.

Guest Post: Why Did My Parents Choose Public School?

My parents moved to Virginia in the early 80’s when my father received orders from the military to once again move.  After joining a church which also had a Christian school, my parents decided to place my brother into the kindergarten class for the school year.  Let’s face it, every school, every educational system, and every teacher has flaws. However, my parents immediately knew there was a problem.  My brother as well as other students (we later found out who had this same teacher) struggled with learning problems.  My parents removed my brother from the Christian school and placed him in our local public school for 1st grade.

It was the last decade or so of the Cold War, but military families experienced the Cold War in ways that most people do not realize.  Our fathers, husbands, brothers, and uncles were constantly deployed.  Mediterranean Cruises, Med Cruises, were common place for Navy families.  My father was typically deployed for 9 months on a Med Cruise, came home for 2-3 weeks, and then left again for 1-2 months on a training exercise to GITMO Bay, the Bahamas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or Bermuda.  During a 4 year rotation of Sea Duty, my mother was basically a single parent.

My brother could not have had a better elementary school principal.  When his learning struggles became clear, Mr. Brown took my brother under his wing.  Mr. Brown knew my brother by name.  He knew my mother and I even though I was still at home and not yet enrolled in school.  Mr. Brown even diagnosed my brother’s learning “problems.”  My brother was gifted.

This elementary school principal referred my mother to a child psychologist and helped my family in a way no one else had previously done.  Seeing my brother improve was all the thanks he needed.

Christians, conservative Christians, have this idea that public schools will change your child’s values, your child will just be a number amongst the crowd, and or your child will receive a substandard education.  We did not.  I will address some of those topics later.  Were there problems?  Absolutely.  I am not going to lie or whitewash history.  My point is this, there are wonderful public schools available and parents should not be made to feel like they are sinning by sending their child to public school.  Their children should not be segregated from “good Christian school kids” either.

Learning to be Patient

expression -  Patience is a virtue - written on a school blackboWhen it comes to writing blog posts I usually try to write them ahead of time and schedule them to be published at a later date. So I am writing this particular post on Aug 20, 2013.

Patience is a hard thing when it comes all areas of life. Today we were hoping that our #3 child would be born and had had plans for my wife to be induced today, but the baby and my wife’s body are just not ready at this time. I can see how uncomfortable my wife is and she tells me often how sore she is. We also have my mother down here for the week as we anticipated getting to hold Baby Alton in our arms today but instead we are having to wait patiently for natural process to start. My wife was ready to kill me today as I have forced her to walk down every isle in the grocery store, walk up and down the sidewalk at our church, and later we will be walking some more. We are hoping for good news from the doctor tomorrow, but until then we just have to be patient.

Romans 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

While it is hard enough to be patient as we wait for a new child to be born, there is another lesson in patient that God has been teaching me while Aric is in school. Sometimes it is easy for me as a father to lose patience when it comes to my child doing well behaviorally at school. The first week of school I felt like Aric did a great job, he only had one  bad mark on one day and the rest of the days he had all good marks. The second week he did great on Monday, but had a bad mark on Tuesday. We had a long talk on the way home about paying attention in class and doing right. I told him that “I don’t want to see any other bad marks this week”. Wednesday and Thursday he did great with great marks. On Friday when he got in the car I asked him, “Aric how did you do? Did you bring home a green face today?”. When he hesitated to answer, I knew he must have gotten something other than the “Green Happy Face”. He once again had 1 bad mark against him, this time for making loud noises in class. So once again we had a long talk on the way home about how he should act in class. Then Monday rolled around and once again he had gotten a yellow face, indicating he had done something bad once during the day. It was once again for making loud noises in class and yelling an answer. Man did this frustrate me!

I have to realize something though, while there is no excuse for bad behavior, I have to realize that this classroom thing is all new to Aric, he is still having to learn and adjust to not having the freedom of playing all day. I have to take time to understand this and to let it process in my mind. I also have to take time to let the structure of a classroom settle in Aric’s mind. It is going to take patience as we learn this process together. I know as a father that I also need to be careful to not get overly frustrated at the times he might forget instructions or rules. It is easy to get upset as an adult when in our minds the classroom instructions and rules are so easy to follow, but then when we stop and think about how hard it was for us as children it certainly can help us be much more patient.

What are ways that you have had to learn patience with your children?

Update on Baby: While I wrote this post ahead of time, at the time of this being published we are currently at the hospital with my wife being induced. Praying that the baby comes quickly and safely.

The Blessing of Public Schools

Okay I know that people probably think that I talk to much about the negative views that many Christians have of the public schools, but I like to take those negative outlooks and try to let people see that not everything about Public Schooling is negative. Just the other day I saw someone put this negative ideal on Facebook using the words “failing public school system”. Is it true that some children come out of public schools unprepared? Sure it’s true. But the same can be said of Christian schools and Homeschooling as well. People will make statements like “Well 75% of people who are homeschooled go on to further their education, while only 49% from public schools go to college”. Well it’s a nice stat to state, but considering that there are about 49 million more people in the Public school than there are homeschooled those statistics really aren’t that impressive. Now if there were just as many people homeschooling as there were in public schools and the percentage came out like that, then I would say, “maybe homeschooling is a better option for us”. (NOTICE: I said a better option for us. I am in no way saying that the option of public school is for every Christian family.) The other statistic that many people like to point out is that when compared to other countries, the US doesn’t score as high on standardized testing, but I will answer this stat in one of my points of the blessings of public schools.

Blessing #1: EVERY Child is given a chance to be educated

Some children, if it were not for Public Schools, would never be educated at all. When the US is tested each year, many people criticize that our test scores compared to other countries are very poor, but the difference is, in most other countries children who are poor or have disabilities are not given a chance to even go to school. In the US, however, children with disabilities are given a chance to get an education, children who are poor are given a chance to receive an education, so of course scores will be lower in standardized testing. Perhaps if all we did was test the elite of our education system the statistics would measure closely to the rest of the smartest countries in the world, but in the United States every child is given a chance to receive an education.

Blessing #2: Low income children are given a chance to be healthy

I know some people would say that part of the problem with our country is the amount of people who receive food stamps and free housing. Do I believe that is part of the problem with our economy? Yes, I believe it is so. I think many of those people could do better for themselves but have gotten lazy and leach off the government and our taxes. While all this is true, should we punish the children for the sins of their families and say no to giving them the nutritional food they need? No we should not. Many children who eat their breakfast and lunch served by their schools will receive no other food from their homes. This does not negate the responsiblity of the parents, but for that child who is going hungery because of the neglect of his family the provision of food at his local school is a huge blessing.

Blessing #3: Public Schools provide jobs for many Christians

When my wife and I moved to Northeastern, GA in 2011 I had no ideal how I would provide for our family. We were stepping into a new ministry and while they were able to provide us with housing, we still had to make enough income to pay for the rest of our bills. I had put an application in at several businesses, but to no avail. Then I found out how to become a substitute teacher in our local public schools. I took the course, had my background test done, and was able to get on the Substitute list. The first year I was here I was able to sub an average of 3 days a week. This job provided me with enough income to make it through each month. If I had decided that the Public Schools were a “Godless place not fit for any Christian” than I would have failed to provide for my family like the Bible commands me to as a father and would have been “worse than an infidel” (I Timothy 5:8). So I count the public schools as a huge blessing to me and my family.

Blessing #4: Public Schools provide education in areas of knowledge that parents are lacking

Let’s face it, not all parents are experts at Math, English, Science, History…. and the list could go on and on. I can tell you that personally I like History, if I were to homeschool my children they probably would learn more about history than any other subject. I was pretty good at math up to a certain point. While I could help them with basic math, when they get to more advanced math, I am helpless. You probably can also tell that English is not a strong suite for me. I probably put punctuation in wrong places and repeat words a whole lot in my writing. Science, I can get that pretty good to a certain point but when it comes to chemistry and biology “forget it”.

While I know there is some “junk” that is taught in many of the subjects, I understand enough as a parent that I need to carefully explain and teach my child at home the truths from God’s Word relating to Creation, historic events, life styles, and godly living. I need to teach my children how to tell the difference between the facts from God’s Word and the fiction of the world. But in the end I also realize that the school my children attend is able to offer them some very good skills and knowledge. Do I have issues with some of the things my child may learn about in a public school setting? Yes, just as I take issue with some of the things that don’t line up with God’s Word in Christian Curriculum.

I am sure there are other blessings that could be added to this list. What blessings have you found from the public schools?