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Q&A: Where should I send my child to school?

I’m trying to decide where to send my child to school. My friend is warning me about considering public school because my child would be exposed to more temptation. Do you have any guidance?

Differences

This is an important decision, and I commend you for wrestling with it!

We live in a sinful world. That means temptation will be everywhere. Unfortunately, many of the same sins occur in both settings.

One of the differences between the two options is that at a Lutheran elementary school those engaged in sin usually understand that what they are doing is wrong and the sin is not flaunted as a morally neutral or even a beneficial choice. Instead sin is dealt with by leading the sinner to repentance and proclaiming what Jesus has done to forgive the student. God’s Word will be taught and applied throughout the day, guiding every class session and situation. What a blessing as we train our children for now and for eternity!

There often will be philosophical dangers in the public system. Secular humanism is the prevailing philosophy in many schools because God’s Word cannot be used as a guide for life. Secular humanism is the idea that humans are capable of morality and self-fulfillment without God.

However, the idea that we can shelter our children from the world ought not to be our best goal. Our goal is to help our children learn how to live their Christian faith in the world. Jesus said, “I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one” (John 17:14,15). We do not want to isolate our children. No matter what setting of education, it is important to prepare our children for what they will be hearing in this world.

The importance of the home

A Lutheran elementary school can be an important blessing to assist parents in the instruction of their children. However, Scripture consistently gives parents the privilege of raising their children in the training and instruction of the Lord. The Word does not return empty, but if children are hearing one thing in their Lutheran elementary school and that message is not reinforced—or is even contradicted—in their home life, then great spiritual harm can be done. “Do as I say, not as I do” does not work in parenting nor in spiritual matters.

Deuteronomy 6:6,7 says, “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” In other words, do not just talk the talk, but walk the walk. God reminds us here that making disciples starts in the home.

I know of a faithful Christian parent who does not have access to a Lutheran elementary school. He holds a 45-minute Bible class with his kids every morning because they will not get that in their public school. He encourages them with his Savior’s Word to be “salt and light” in their classrooms. He discusses what was said that day at school and applies God’s Word to those situations.

I hope the point is clear. A Lutheran elementary school is an amazing blessing, but wherever you send your child, the most important training needs to take place in the home.

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Author: David Scharf
Volume 108, Number 6
Issue: June 2021

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David Scharf

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