Let’s be honest. Many people think you are irresponsible – or even foolish – for sending your children to a private school.
In 2013 Slate published an article that highlighted just how foolish (and rotten) one author thinks you really are for sending your children to a private school. In “If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person: A Manifesto,” Allison Benedikt at least has the virtue of pulling no punches: you are “Not bad like murderer bad—but bad like ruining-one-of-our-nation’s-most-essential-institutions-in-order-to-get-what’s-best-for-your-kid bad. So, pretty bad.”
Do you feel a creeping sense of guilt already?
Allow me to make it worse. Here are a few of Benedikt’s assertions, thoughts, incidentally, that I believe many people in our community might share and that you might have actually heard yourself.
“Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good.” This is obviously a false dilemma. What if you could secure an excellent education for your children that simultaneously contributes to the common good?
Many parents “go private for religious reasons” which is not a “compelling reason” at all. That is exactly the kind of thinking that you would expect a person who doesn’t consider herself “religious” to say. With one verbal flourish of rhetorical overstatement, she sweeps aside two thousand years of Christian educational practice.
“I left home woefully unprepared for college, and without that preparation, I left college without having learned much there either. You know all those important novels that everyone’s read? I haven’t. I know nothing about poetry, very little about art, and please don’t quiz me on the dates of the Civil War. I’m not proud of my ignorance. But guess what the horrible result is? I’m doing fine. I’m not saying it’s a good thing that I got a lame education. I’m saying that I survived it, and so will your child.” I have a hard time even knowing where to start with this one. However, you will hear it said by many well-meaning Christian adults that they went to public school and turned out all right. However, the very fact that they think that way shows that they didn’t turn out as well as they think.
“You want a cohesive educational philosophy. You want creativity, not teaching to the test. You want great outdoor space and small classrooms and personal attention. You know who else wants those things? Everyone.” So, because everyone can’t have these things, my family shouldn’t have them either?
Relax, Providence parents.
I want to assure you that you are not a bad person because you enrolled your children in a private Christian school. In fact, by providing a Christian education for your children, you are not only making the right choice. You are making the courageous choice. And you are doing the most good not only for your children but for our community and our nation by doing so.
You sacrifice to send your children to Providence. You’ve made lifestyle choices in order to be able to do so. You do without in order to prioritize your children’s education. You are committed to spending time daily helping with your child’s academics. But by your sacrifice for and commitment to your child’s private school education, you are investing in something that has eternal consequences and that, not incidentally, is your single greatest duty before God – the raising of your children for Him.
Cost is measured in different ways. The cost of private Christian education might be high, but the cost of not giving your children a Christ-centered education is not one you want to bear.
So stay the course, friends. You are not a rotten parent or a bad citizen by choosing a Christian education for your children, no matter what our detractors say.
Here’s an idea: let’s ignore the noise and just do the right thing.