Some very good friends of our sent their oldest daughter to kindergarten this week. She has reportedly adjusted to kindergarten very well, but she has a question.
Why can’t we sing songs about Jesus at school?
This speaks to the very heart of my decision to homeschool our children. My oldest son is almost four, and so far his life has been simple. I mean simple as “not complex or divided”. There have simply been no divisions in his world. He’s with his family all day, every day. Sometimes his family and other families get together to play. The fathers might not be there, but still, it’s one or more families getting together. He is not under the care of strangers. The closest he comes to that is for a couple of hours on Sunday, and generally the people teaching him there are the parents of his friends – the same people he plays with periodically. And the parents of his friends, are our friends. And sometimes his mother is there helping with the Sunday School class, too.
If you were to map out my child’s interactions with others throughout his week, there are no clean divisions in that map. His family, his friends, and his church are all part of one thick web of relationships. Blessed be the tie that binds, huh?
What’s more, is that _he is the same kid_ in all these situations. He doesn’t seem to have any clear idea that there are big differences between being at home, playing with friends, and being at church. Not surprising, considering that it’s basically the same set of people.
To tie this back to that perfectly framed question above, my son is not in situations where it’s OK to sing about some things, but not to sing about Jesus. I sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “Amazing Grace” to him every night. They are not divided in his mind. He has not yet learned to compartmentalize his life. It’s still an integrated, indivisible whole. And I intend to keep it that way.
I don’t want my son to learn that it’s OK in this situation and that situation to sing about Jesus, but when you get to _that_ situation, you need to just kind of keep quiet about Him. Nobody in public schools is actively denying Christ. They are just ignoring Him. And that is by _design_. It’s the separation of church and state.
My son understands that God sends rain, and God makes sunrises and sunsets, and God provides for us. He knows that I discipline him because it will help him learn to be good and love God, and that God says good daddies have to discipline their children. He doesn’t know “Children, obey your parents”. He knows “Children, obey your parents _in the Lord_”. The knowledge and fear of the Lord permeates his entire life. It’s not like we say “Jesus” in every other sentence. We don’t force it. It just _naturally_ works this way. His life is undivided.
I want his education to continue in the same vein. He will learn far more than just “God sends rain”. But when he learns about the water cycle, it won’t be _instead of_ “God sends rain”. It will be _how_ God sends the rain. When he learns math, he will also learn that God is a God of order and not chaos. But he’ll learn that _explicitly_. Genesis 1:1 will serve as the framework for all his learning. And that will be by design. Church and state might be separate, but for my boys, education and faith will not be.
I hope for him to see God’s creation and design, as well as the effects of sin, when he learns about science. I will strive to show him God’s sovereign providence as he learns history and geography. I will teach him to be blameless and harmless, a son of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom he shines as light in the world. A good deal more than “good citizenship”. I will teach him to study to be quiet, and to do his own business, and to work with his own hands. More than economics or woodshop.
My son has not yet learned to compartmentalize his life. He does not understand how to divide himself. He does not know that there are sharp distinctions between his family, his community of faith, and the rest of his life.
I hope he never learns.
PS: It’s not my intent to criticize the 98% or so of parents who do not homeschool. I understand. These are just _my_ reasons, and I have absolutely no criticism for those who do not share my convictions. Scout’s honor. I do not believe you are condemning your child to a life of divided loyalties and corruption simply by sending him or her to public school. Please don’t take it that way.