The Benefits of Christian Education
A Christian education is an investment. You are investing in your children and their future. You and they will reap the benefits. Removing many of the negative influences makes Christian schooling an attractive alternative. Some say Christian schools shelter children from the real world.
YES, SHELTERED. ISN'T IT WONDERFUL?
One of the primary functions of the Christian school is to develop discerning hearts. We can do so by working through issues and negative influences with students in a constructive and Biblically based environment. We strive to develop hearts that challenge or test the influences of things like: humanism, evolution, immorality, and materialism, influences that are simply promoted in some public schools. Even ignoring all the positive influences the Christian school provides, simply removing the unquestioned negative influences makes it an attractive alternative.
SHELTERED? I CERTAINLY HOPE SO!
The Christian school is chosen by parents who see that one of their primary responsibilities is to monitor the input their children receive and how that input shapes their view of God and His world. Most parents make an effort to shelter their children at home by monitoring the books they read, the programs they watch, the sites they surf, and the friends with whom they play. Our school affirms the importance of this parental role and logically extends it to the school day, actively continuing the work parents do.
THE REAL WORLD? WHO ARE WE KIDDING?
The real world is the one created by God in which all things hold together by the power of His Word. Only an education which acknowledges the sovereignty of God over the affairs of men can be considered an education about the real world. To the extent that public schools fail to acknowledge God and give Him His rightful place, they are sheltering children from the truth. Therefore, in reality, public schools are the ones which shelter children from the real world, not Christian schools.
ONLY FOR A TIME ...
The Christian school works somewhat like a greenhouse which is designed to provide optimum conditions for growth while a plant is young. Young children are protected and carefully nurtured to help them mature properly. When the time comes for them to be transplanted" into a more hostile environment, they are more likely to endure difficulties and continue to thrive because they have been trained well and have developed a discerning heart.
THE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL PROVIDES A WHOLESOME ENVIRONMENT WHERE CHILDREN CAN DEVELOP TO THEIR FULLEST POTENTIAL.
The Christian school serves to support and extend the work of the Christian home and church by reinforcing the same values and beliefs. The Christian school makes the very difficult job of parenting a little bit easier by removing a major source of unquestioned negative influences from a child's life.
SHELTERED FROM THE IMPACT? YES! FROM A KNOWLEDGE ABOUT IT? NO.
Christian schools routinely discuss humanism, evolution, and other concepts readily accepted by mainstream society, but they do so from a Christian perspective. All of the problems which are part of a sinful world are also thoroughly discussed. We discuss solutions based upon Biblical ethics. The public school ignores the Christian view (or presents it as only one alternative from among many). Therefore, students cannot be guided into making the right decisions.
Thanks to Cornerstone Christian Academy in Kingston, CA for these thoughts
Taking a Fresh Look at Faith-Based Education
Dr. Edward Grigg
This is the time of year when parents are facing the task of choosing schools for their children. In deciding about education, parents, should consider faith-based institutions
Faith has long been the driving force that called out to noble leaders to pass along knowledge to the next generation. While the motivation for a few people was teaching faith, schools did not limit teaching to a sacred text, but included all aspects of the universe. Believing that God designed and created all that exists, faith-based institutions strive to teach all knowledge, by forging a deeper understanding of God’s sovereignty and omnipotence within the learner.
Faith-based education works on the premise that the more knowledge and wisdom a person gains, the more solid his or her faith becomes. These institutions are not afraid of the sciences, but rather count on the sciences to help complete the puzzle of knowledge. Regardless of the field of study, correctly learned knowledge points to intelligent design and helps to complete the puzzle that man has worked on for hundreds of years. The faith community does not fear knowledge but embraces it.
In seeking [a school], parents should seek one that develops true wisdom in the student, not just knowledge. Data exists and is raw, it has no significance beyond its existence and is little more than symbols. Information is data that has been given some relevant meaning and provides some answers to the “who,” “what,” “when” or “where” questions. Knowledge is the correct collection of information and answers the “how” question. Students take raw data and information and gain knowledge by the proper collection of information. .
True faith-based education provides the needed tools to enable the student to use cognitive and analytical skills. This is the difference between memorizing and learning. Learning takes place when understanding is evident. Understanding gives the student appreciation for the knowledge and answers the “why” questions. Most people are content at this point, they are joyful that they have gained data, information, knowledge and understanding.
Russell Ackoff adequately pointed out in his “Theory of Wisdom” that the stored information in the human mind — data, information, knowledge, and understanding — all point to the past. This is where most education ends, but not in the faith-based institution. True faith-based education tries to move the student to wisdom. Wisdom is an analytical, extrapolative, and discerning progression that calls on all previous levels of training, especially moral principles, and enables one to perceive and demonstrate understanding in areas where no previous understanding exists. It is the process by which a person discerns good from bad and right from wrong, a characteristic needed for success in business and patriotism.
Along with embracing knowledge, Faith based Institutions develop codes of conduct to stress integrity of character and on character development as well as academic achievement. These schools are concerned with more than mere academics, and seek to provide the student all the tools needed for a well-rounded disciplined life. It is the difference between gaining knowledge and gaining wisdom.
There is a wide misconception that secular institutions provide a better education for today’s youth. Those holding such a theory argue that education should be about discovering information, facts and data. These modernists think that education is faith versus fact. Therefore, most secular schools ignore teaching faith.
Faith-based [schools] believe the two are natural companions and that all knowledge comes from God. Without faith, there is no moral compass to guide humanity. Life descends into bottomless sinkholes of self-absorption and animalistic mayhem. Faith-based schools strongly believe that a true education is the ability to think, reason, and create from a moral perspective. Faith-based education enables the realization that each person is created in the image of God and given the ability to think, reason, and create from a moral perspective. It drives students to respect themselves and others, instilling a desire for doing right and for helping other people. One does not have to look hard to see the need for a greater moral-compass in today’s society. It is visible on Wall Street and on Main Street. It encompasses the offices and the boardrooms and is in political arenas and sports arenas. Without a moral compass, civilization can justify dark and wicked digressions. In fact, it is the lack of a greater moral compass that cries out across this country and around the world. This is why every parent should consider sending their child to faith-based schools.
Faith-based institutions do not restrict enrollment to those holding a set dogma, and they do not want to mold every student into identical spiritual men and women. Faith better qualifies the student to face the challenges of life. The student gains the assurance that God is guiding and enabling him to succeed in life, and enabling him to overcome obstacles that arise in life’s paths. Students from faith-based schools better understand the need to encompass faith and a biblical world view into their daily lives, whether about family values or life’s vocation.
Education is much more than simply rushing blindly into a sea of theories decorated with scattered ships of facts blown about by winds of fiction. Education must not ignore faith and civilization’s search for that higher ideal which makes humanity more than animalistic. Faith-based education addresses the whole person, not just academics.
Take a fresh look at faith-based education. It has come a long way and represents the gold standard of excellence.
Dr. Eddie G. Grigg is President of New Life Theological Seminary in Charlotte, NC. For information visit www.nlts.edu.
Printed with permission
Archbishop Listeski Discusses the Value of Catholic Schools.
I graduated from my Catholic school toward the end of the height of Catholic education in the United States. My grammar school had 900 students, and when it came to school population in comparison to other schools, it was not exceptionally large. My school was filled with religious sisters, whose convent was right next door. It housed 36 religious sisters.
In addition to the grammar school, the sisters staffed and operated a girls’ high school. My sister attended and graduated from that high school. My neighborhood was predominantly Catholic, and the school was a significant part of our Catholic identity. It was an industrial area, so the students were products of hard-working parents, many who worked at U.S. Steel.
I mention this, because I want you to know the reason I am definitely biased when it comes to Catholic education. I know the value and the importance of the reinforcement that Catholic education provided in creating the vision necessary for me and others to navigate the course before us to become productive members of our society.
Of course, academics are important, and instilling a sense of academic achievement is part of the foundation. However, one’s success in life is not necessarily being the brightest, but one whose character has been built on the reinforcement of virtues that will shape the lives of individuals. Leaders were being created for the next generation.
Everyday, my classroom experience began with prayer, and everyday it ended with prayer. There was little doubt in the minds of the students that God held the primary position in your life. What supported this sense was the religious sister in her habit standing before you, whose life was dedicated to Christ and, because of her faith, she was serving this community. We were supported by the priorities of the greatest generation (as Tom Brokaw would write) – God, Family and Country.
Many would argue today that the picture I painted of Catholic education no longer exists. The religious sisters are almost all gone, educational costs limit the access for students, and competitive public education is free. These certainly are valid criticisms. However, just because the picture of Catholic education has changed, it does not mean that the purpose, spirit and vision of Catholic education has changed.
Why do parents send their children to Catholic school? I would hope because they desire an environment that places God first, and reinforces the Christian principles. Why did God make you? He made you to know, love and serve Him in this life, and to be happy with Him in heaven.
Yes, the religious sisters are no longer dominant in our schools. However, they have been replaced by professional lay Catholic teachers who are formed in the faith, and take that knowledge and formation into the Catholic parishes that comprise their communities. There is a whole new group of Catholic lay professionals that did not exist in the past.
Although spiraling costs have limited accessibility of some students, what was true years ago is still true today – Catholic education is marked by sacrifice and dedication. Parents sacrifice to send their children to Catholic schools. Parish members, through their contributions, sacrifice in their support of Catholic schools. Teachers accept salaries that are less than other comparable institutions, and priests and deacons sacrifice their time in forming and promoting the school community.
We should all have a spirit of gratitude for the many people who have supported, and continue to support, Catholic education. We, as a Church, need Catholic education in our society more today than ever before, supporting the dignity of human life and reminding us to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archdiocese of Milwaukee
Used with permission from the Archbishop’s blog Love One Another January 29, 2018