Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It's Not In the Textbooks

Next Monday I'll send my 2 oldest children off to school. Public elementary school. It will be the first time for my daughter who is starting kindergarten.

And the truth is, I'd rather not send them.

For me, I'd rather keep them home.

I enjoy having them around, I feel better knowing where they are all the time, the schedule is easier, and we can shut out parts of the world that are hard to deal with.

But Jesus says, "I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one." John 17:15.

And Matt Chandler of the Village Church says, "The public schools are the only place left where there is a mixture of every kind of socioeconomic, ethnic and religious background. There is no other venue that plays out like that."

And so we send them, out into the child-sized version of the world that is public elementary school. And at home we talk with them, love them, hug them, read the Bible with them, and discuss a lot of what they are dealing with in the hopes it will keep them from the evil one.

But, for my heart, my mother's heart, it is hard when things are not always perfect and lovely for my kids out there in the world.

So, I need to remind myself that even if the lessons are hard, they are preparing my children to stand strong when even greater challenges arise later in their lives.

My first job out of college was a good one, a real career in the business world with potential for much success even early on, and I often think about how funny it is that much of what benefited me most in that career-world were not the things I learned from a book, but the harder life lessons I learned in public school.

13 things I'm thankful I learned as a student in public school that prepared me for the working world:

1. How to leave my home every weekday and go someplace whether I wanted to or not.

2. How to be bored - in work sometimes my assignments were not challenging, but I needed to do them anyway, and sometimes I finished all my work and had to wait before I was given more.

3. If I didn't eat enough at lunch, I'd be starving well before it was time to go home.

4. How to sit next to someone that I didn't really like.

5. How to take directions from a variety of authority figures.

6. How to make friends with people who were very different than me.

7. How to share Jesus with unbelievers.

8. How to feel different because of my faith yet still stick with my convictions.

9. That even if I was tired I had to sit at my desk and work rather than going somewhere to lay down.

10. That you earn respect a lot quicker with hard work than bragging about your abilities.

11. That the most popular guy or girl doesn't always do the best in the long run.

12. When you don't understand something, it's much better to ask for help right away than to pretend like you understand.

13. I'm no better than anyone else, I just have the benefit of an awesome God working in my life!

Find more Thankful Thursday and Thursday Thirteen.


  1. I remember my days in the public school too. The good always outweigh the bad if we seek for it :-) Be encouraged to know that God is with your children every step of the way. Many blessings to you!

  2. That's incredible! We took most of our kids out of school for various reasons and two will be in public school. There is so much to be learned in both worlds for sure. You're a great mom!

  3. Praying for you, and your children.

  4. You are doing an incredible job with your children. I admire you so much and I love reading the things you do with your children.

  5. I like your number thirteen. School can be a scary place--so can anywhere, but God has good plans for you and your children.

  6. How to be bored- so true :)

    Have a great Thursday!

  7. I'm totally with you. Sending our kids off to public school is sometimes so difficult. It's only natural to want to protect them.

    Because of our choice, they will undoubtedly face struggles that they wouldn't if I taught them at home.

    But those struggles aren't all bad. I look at them as opportunities for us to sit down and work through them. To brainstorm and roleplay solutions. And to practice skills they'll need later, as you say, in the job place.

    My little guy had his first day of kindergarten yesterday, and seeing his smile as he got off the bus did my heart so well.


  8. Your post really touched me. My son will be starting kindergarden next year. I kept him out of pre-k this year. Mostly for myself and the reasons you wanted to keep your kids home. I will be battling the same feelings and it makes me feel better that I'm not the only one. Thanks!

  9. I love that list. It brought tears to my eyes - because I had never paused to thank God for all those things. I wasn't a Christian when I was in school - but my children were. I think they might agree with the points of your list, too. It gives me a feeling of accomplishment, as a mother, to know I did not ruin them by sending them to public school where they had to defend the faith. Thank you. Thank you for lifting me up today.

  10. Great and oh so true list! A thought provoking read.

  11. lol I loved your list today! Thank you for sharing and yes sending those babies off to school is not easy, but I pray everyday for them and I know that God is with them when I can't be!

  12. I love this list!! I am a teacher, surrounded by many friends that stay at home. I needed to read this today....

  13. So true! I may show this to my husband, he's a die-hard private school fan, but you just can't beat the diversity of public school.


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