Sunday, February 6, 2011

Public Schools and Socialization

As a homeschooler I have often been asked, “How will your children learn social skills if they are home schooled?”, or “What about socialization?” The implication seems to be that my children will not be like all the other children who go to public school. But that’s exactly why we home school, we do not want our children to turn out like the thousands of others who are cranked out of the government schools every year.

The fact of the matter is that placing children with 20 or so other kids their own age doesn’t teach them anything about socialization in the real world and this type of “socialization” is addressed very clearly in the Bible. In fact the Bible couldn’t really be much clearer at this point.

For instance:

“Do not be deceived: evil company corrupts good habits”, 1 Corinthians 15:33.

It is the general pattern of things that the bad defiles the good. A clean hand does not make a dirty hand clean, but generally the dirty hand will defile the clean one. In a similar manner, if we place our child (whose heart is full of foolishness) in the company of a couple dozen pagan children we should hardly be surprised when our child begins to act like the others.

As Mathew Henry put it: “Note, Bad company and conversation are likely to make bad men. Those who would keep their innocence must keep good company. Error and vice are infectious: and, if we would avoid the contagion, we must keep clear of those who have taken it. He that walketh with wise men shall be wise; but a companion of fools shall be destroyed, Prov. xiii. 20.”

“He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed”, Proverbs 13:20.

Those parents who put their children in public school often force their children to walk with fools in total disregard of the word of God. Our nations public schools are built upon the premise that God is irrelevant and unnecessary in order to learn and be wise. They are built upon the sinful premise that men can know without God. Such thoughts and ideas are the very foundations of sin and foolishness and parents who send their children to such places to be discipled should hardly be surprised when their children grow up to be fools. Gods word is clear, the wisdom or foolishness of those we spend our time with will rub off on us, how much more so on our young impressionable children.Charles Bridges asks us rhetorically; “And when, we might ask, have the godly companioned with fools, without injury to their profession, and hazard to their souls?”

“Go from the presence of a foolish man, when you do not perceive in him the lips of knowledge”, Proverbs 14:7.

Once again, those parents who send their children to public schools will often force their children to disregard this word of God. For while many of the children there will qualify as "foolish" because they do not fear the Lord, often times the “foolish man” will be the child’s teacher.

“Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil. AVOID IT, do not travel on it; turn away from it and pass on” Proverbs 4:14, 15.

You who profess to be Christians and yet send your children to public schools, how do you expect your children to take such verses seriously when you are the ones forcing them to spend most of their waking hours walking with the wicked and even looking up to some of them as teachers?

Listen to Charles Bridges once again on this passage: “How often does fellowship with the wicked loosen the fast hold of instruction! Their path is so contrary to the way of instruction, that the very entrance into it is forsaking the way of God…..Surely then it is mercy, that forbids needles intercourse with the evil man. (Eph. 5:11) With a constitution prone to evil, when the alternative is, whether we shall shun or dare the danger, can we doubt our path? The whole scripture is on the side of caution, to hazard nothing, except on the plain call of Providence.”

I believe it was John Trapp who compared young children to the mighty oak tree; while they are still young and tender you may bend them and shape them however you wish but when they have aged and grown hard they are immovable. This is at least part of the meaning behind Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

If you take your pliable, totally depraved child, who by nature is bent away from God and towards evil, and place him in the company of 10, 20 or 30 other totally depraved children, what exactly do you expect will happen? Not only will those other children be totally depraved, but many of them will have come from godless, wicked homes and all the things that those children pick up in their homes; the filthy language, the dirty jokes, the pornography, drugs, etc. will be brought into the immediate environment of your child’s heart. How can we possibly gamble with their young souls by placing them in such situations?

Who will be there to instruct your child in the ways of righteousness and guide them in discerning what is right and wrong? Who will be there to help them apply the scripture? An unbelieving teacher? Twenty or 30 other depraved 8 year olds? Do you expect them to take the brief training that you may have given them in the few hours that they are at home and apply it in the face of overwhelming peer pressure and opposition?

As your children spend their days amongst a multitude of unbelievers, who will be there to guide your child in his or her friendships? Proverbs 13:10 tells us that “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.” Proverbs 14:7 tell us that we must “leave the presence of a foolish man, when you do not perceive in him the lips of knowledge”. Proverbs 22:24 tells us to “make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul”. Proverbs 24:21 tells us not to associate with those given to change. Why does the Bible say these things? Probably because we tend become like those we hang out with and call our friends! Our hearts begin to cling to those with whom we spend the most time just as those things with which we invest our time tend to become our hearts treasure. By forcing our children into such situations before we have even spent sufficient time training them in the ways of godliness, we are tempting them to sin.

Fathers, your children have been placed in your home by God to be discipled and disciplined by you! They are to learn wisdom from you! “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child” (Proverbs. 22:15). Will you throw your foolish children out into the midst of the wicked and just expect them to naturally do what is right?

But someone somewhere is bound to say: “I know someone who sent their children to public school and they turned out just fine”. That may be in some cases but how do you know that they are as "fine" as you think they are?, Are you willing to take that chance with your child? Are you willing to gamble with their eternal souls? Are you willing to force them into situations that God says are wrong and destructive and hope that God will override your foolish decision making?

God has created the “ends” as well as the “means” to achieve them. Is it right for us to disregard His “means” and just assume that He will make the desired end come about? Isn’t that putting the Lord our God to the test (Matthew 4:5-7)?

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