By Irven Lee
Thousands of parents have turned to private schools to help deal with the serious atheistic influences that reach children through many public schools. Evolution, sexual freedom, rejection of parental authority over their children and efforts to break down faith in God are dangers from which parents seek to protect their children. Alcohol and other drugs present physical dangers, and unholy behavior on the part of the untrained present dangers to character (1 Cor. 15:33).
Parents also hope for more positive things in the private school. It is good to avoid the evil influences, but it is also very helpful to find the wholesome influences of a good environment and effective teaching of truth that builds faith in and knowledge of the right way of the Lord.
The value of the private school depends very much on the faculty. These teachers need to be strong characters who give much thought to what they should accomplish. There are people who are not unbelievers and they are not immoral, but neither are they strong characters with great faith and strong convictions that would enable them to have a good influence on their pupils.
The effectiveness of the private school in training children also depends on the quality of the student body. Children and young people influence one another. If a school allows itself to become a reform school for the depraved young people, it ceases to offer the wholesome environment for which it may have been established. There is a place for the reform school, but it is not the school started by Christians to provide a safe place for training their children. A basket with many rotten apples is no good place to keep good apples.
A school where Christians teach and where children from good homes attend can and usually does maintain higher academic standards than schools where many teachers and pupils live by lower moral standards. The people who are righteous know more of the value of life and the reasons to attain higher goals. As righteousness exalts a nation it also blesses a school or home (see Prov. 14:34).
We need not expect to find perfection anywhere. Neither the teachers, the students, nor the parents are perfect. Parents who are very careless about their own lives and their teaching of their own children need not expect too much from the schools. Home is the place of special responsibility for training children. Excellent private schools can do much to aid worthy parents who are determined to train their children to be Christians. There is no substitute for mothers and grandmothers like Eunice and Lois, and for fathers who bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4; 2 Tim. 1:3-5; 3:14,15).
Schools have in many cases taken themselves too seriously and have looked with longing eyes to church treasuries for help. Churches are not in the school business. It is not wrong for schools to exist and function, but they must operate separate and apart from the church. They certainly do not become wrong if board members, teachers, and patrons are Christians. If churches give to schools they will in turn be dominated by the schools.
Many religious people of various denominations have seen special needs for schools that would not work against their efforts to train their children. In such schools the religious teaching may be seriously in error even if their teaching does fight humanism and other forms of evil. It is amazing how modernism, worldliness, and humanism can influence them who claim to be Christians.
Race conflicts have led to the building of many private schools. In certain communities public schools hardly have a chance to provide an environment that is morally safe. Some private schools at best offer academic excellence with some effort to maintain moral decency. Each community has its own problems and its own advantages. We do not all face the same degree of danger.
Parents, if you take your children out of school to teach them at home, please understand that you have undertaken a difficult task which calls for much thought and constant effort. If reading, writing, and simple arithmetic were the only important needs the job could be done more easily. Even these basic needs will not be met very well in many homes. Teaching is a slow and tedious process. There should be excellent Bible teaching at home wherever the children are or are not sent for other training.
So many children do not have loving parents who are concerned about their spiritual welfare. We may learn enough from the world about us to realize that many children are abused rather than loved, protected, and properly trained. The only references to God they hear may be in the constant flow of blasphemy from parents and others about them. Even the orderly existence of our nation is threatened by this element of society who are drug addicts and alcoholics with animal like behavior. Our property is not safe and we are even in physical danger from such neighbors. Think of their helpless children who have such animals for parents.
Guardian of Truth XXX: 6, pp. 182-186
March 20, 1986