Tuesday, July 14, 2009
True Confessions of a Public High School Graduate
“Clearly there is an appropriate kind of sheltering. When those who are opposed to homeschooling accuse me of sheltering my children, my reply is always, ‘What are you going to accuse me of next, feeding and clothing them?” ~R.C. Sproul Jr
True Confessions of a Public High School Graduate
(From Hearts For Family blog)
So there I was—my very first day in a public school, twelve years old, donning my most fashionable clothing, walking into the gymnasium full of glaring, unfamiliar faces. I was finally in the “real world”. For the previous seven years, I had attended a small Christian school and my soul ached to go to a “real school”. I liked it. But I admit, the first few days shocked me. And they should have. I had heard young people curse before, but not like it was their native language. I had even heard coarse jokes, sexual innuendos, and such; but I had not been aware of a society of children who wallowed in it. To my great detriment, there did come a day when I was no longer shocked. That day would change my life, my character, and my destiny forever.
I attended public high school in the eighties. (I have heard things have gotten even worse.) I boarded a bus around 7:15 a.m. There, as my character was still being molded, I witnessed cruelty, obscenity, and a total disregard for anything moral. When the bus approached Cindy’s house, everyone scurried to share a seat with someone else, even if there were three of four to that seat. There was always an empty seat for Cindy. Cindy was overweight, and poor. Her countenance revealed years of social abandonment and cruel regard. “Don’t sit with me! Sit over there! Oh no, she’s coming over here!” were the typical comments that welcomed Cindy onto the bus every morning.
Two of the “older” kids were usually in the back seat making out. The school bus seats were very high, for safety, (Ha! Save their bodies, destroy their souls!) and so one could do just about anything without being seen by the driver.
At only 8:00 in the morning, I had already witnessed enough wickedness to last a lifetime. Now we were at school. Soon I learned it was really cool to make fun of your teachers and hold a general disdain for any kind of academics. (When the majority of your day is spent with peers, they are naturally the ones for whom you want to “be cool”.) This was a conflict as I had a natural desire to please both peers and teachers. I spent the first few weeks of school crying. The new student has to be “broken in”, so all the girls made fun of me—for anything they could think of. When and if one persevered, this may pass.
Breaks between classes—that is what we looked forward to. You had one of several agendas: If you had a boyfriend/girlfriend, you must flee to him, exchange your fifth love letter of the day, possibly exchange some physical affection, and go back to class starry-eyed. Or if no lover, then you would flock together with your cronies and get the latest gossip. “Fight at 3:30 at the Shell station”…”Kevin and Amy broke up!”…”We made Mrs. Smith cry again today!” These were the gentle things of public school—the “innocence” if you will, of being a teenager—this was “real” life.
Then there were the other conversations exchanged here and there, before school, in the hall, at lunch, at PE, just about anytime. Those things that had shocked me at first. Those things, which having heard them enough times, began to be normal. “So-and-so lost her virginity last night”—she was fourteen. Parties, alcohol, drugs, etc., all very commonplace after awhile. Day after day, year after year, conditioning took place and I was no longer the frog jumping into boiling water.
So, after a year or two, I was one of them. Any reserve I held for sacred things had long dissolved. My Christian upbringing, the principles my parents had tried so diligently to instill had, at the very least, retreated so deeply into the recesses of my character as to appear invisible.
For thirteen years, the effects of this transformation gripped my life. I had once commented to my father, as he tried to make a decision about my going to public school, “You have raised me with a strong foundation…I want to go and share Christ with those kids…I am strong enough”. I was now rebellious, angry, confused, and wallowing in sin.
Today, by the grace and mercy of our Savior, I am a forgiven sinner, seeking after godliness, despite my many failures. So, “it all turned out to be OK in the end, right?” Wrong. The whole point of this article is to emphasize that the consequences of sin cannot be avoided, and they leave an ugly, painful trench in every life—even the life surrendered to God. I admit that my life is on a much smoother course than it could have been, by God’s grace. But did my renewed love for the Lord repair the damage that resulted from years of breaking His law, and being a companion to the wicked? Not a chance. I struggle much, and I know from where my struggle comes. And my heart grieves for the flippancy prevailing among parents this very day, as they turn their children over to Satan’s company to be devoured. I certainly do not blame my parents for my years of rebellion. I do not even blame them for sending me to public school—they didn’t know of an alternative. They did what they thought they had to do.
But now, on the other side of it, I am not ashamed to boldly challenge parents to think about their responsibility for the sanctity of their children. I cannot watch someone driving recklessly toward a cliff and not try my best to stop them! As Christians, we must search the Scriptures for wisdom in raising our children. And we must stop justifying our methods by saying, “Well, it doesn’t say_______anywhere in the Bible!” We must not see how little we can get away with, but rather strive for holiness, pressing toward the mark, seeking to resemble Christ as much as lies in us. I would plead with parents to realize the responsibility of being accountable for the children the Lord has given them. We need to be urgent, determined and devoted to guarding their hearts and minds. Let us commit to raising not mediocre children, bruised and wounded as they enter adulthood, but strong and mighty men and women, a godly generation with a legacy of purity!