Monthly Archives: June 2016

Why is Christian Education Important?

Christian education isn’t important at all, unless you are a Christian.  Then it’s not just important, it’s essential.  This may sound like an exaggeration, but it’s actually not. Allow me to explain. First, what is education? Is it just the mere learning of facts? If we consider it as such, then we should value Christian education as important for teaching academic material through the lens of a Christian worldview. For example, in a public school setting, health education is taught with the preconceived notion that all teens will be having sex and instructs the children on how to do so safely and cautions them of the dangers associated with such practices and how to avoid them. This teaching is contrary to what the truth is and is therefore not taught in Christian schools. Many other untruths are propagated throughout public school education, such as the purposeful omission of the religious reasons the Pilgrims immigrated to America, that the earth was created billions of years ago, that humans were not created but spontaneously and randomly evolved from primordial plasma, that our genders are whatever we choose to identify. They teach that there are no absolute truths at all. Jesus said, in John 14:6  “I am the way, the truth”.  There is truth, and truth is found in God.  So if we are Christians, we are called not to follow the Father of Lies, but the truth, which is only found in the Lord our God. For that reason, Christian education is the logical choice. But education is not just the mere learning of facts. It involves the development of an entire human being-physical, emotional, intellectual, mental and spiritual.

Proverbs 22:6 calls us to “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  Children spend roughly 2,080 hours a year at school, over the course of 13 years. This is 27,040 hours of a child’s life. If a child is awake for 12 hours a day or 84 hours a week and spends 40 of those hours at school, that is roughly half of their waking hours being disciplined, trained, and taught by the school. That is half of their waking hours over 13 years of their lives!  The Bible specifically tells us that it is our job as parents to teach our children. God, when speaking about His words, said in Deuteronomy 11:19, “Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Biblically, homeschooling would be the ideal way to carry this command out, but if that is not possible, I believe that providing a child with a Christian education is also a means of carrying this command out. But to have a child spend almost half of his waking hours, over 13 years of his life, in an institution that does not value God’s word, would not be following God’s plan for how we should raise our children as Christians.

Schooling is a huge part of a child’s development and affects more than their intellect. It affects their character and who they are as a person. Jim Drexler, in his article Why Christian Education (World Magazine Sept 2014) says, “A genuine Christian education provides a quality liberal arts education that glorifies Jesus Christ and prepares students for lives of faithful and obedient service to Him.” The key phrase is, preparing students for lives of faithful and obedient service. The secular world and secular education promote exactly the opposite-do whatever feels good to you, make yourself happy and comfortable, do what you want. How can a garden produce rich, healthy, nourishing fruit if the soil has nothing good in it? It’s the same with education. How can an educational system produce young adults that put God above all else and are willing to serve Him in love (thereby not only changing the world we live in but affecting their own lives and the lives of others both now and eternally for the glory of God) if it does not include, embrace, and is not imbued with God’s word and His love? Martin Luther said, “I would advise no one to send his child where the Holy Scriptures are not supreme.”

Making a financial sacrifice and putting this kind of emphasis on a Christian education also makes the child feel cherished and important. It gives them the example that investing what God gives us into things that glorify Him, is good. We take the money He has blessed us with and invest it into a Christian education for our children.

Some may argue that public school is fine and that kids need to be the light of the world. So, it’s fine to send them. It’s true. Public school is fine, but is that what we want for our kids? Do we want just fine? Or do we want excellence? Do we want the best for them academically and more importantly, spiritually? Yes, we do need to be the light of the world. A surgeon also needs to do surgery, but would you send him out to do surgery before he finished medical school? Why would we send our children, who are still learning, still growing, still developing as Christians, into a battle where they stand virtually alone against the forces of an extremely large non-Christian institution? Why not give them a chance to fully grow and develop under God’s love, word and protection? Then, when they are more mature and better-equipped, send them out into the world to be the light, knowing that we did our part to give them what they needed for the battle.

Some might argue that if the kids have a Christian home, then it’s okay to send them to public school. While this might be true, as a parent who has had kids in the public school system, I can say that the amount of post public school damage control that is needed is almost insurmountable. There are academic gaps and holes, false moral teachings, poor role models, just on the academic side. The social component brings a whole slew of problems and situations that are against what Christians believe. It creates a situation where, as a Christian parent with a child functioning and working within a secular school system, the amount of correction and damage control that must be done is overwhelming. It’s like trying to empty a pool with an eyedropper.

Furthermore, if we place the children in a non-Christian setting where the authority figures do not embrace God or what is valuable in His eyes, we are sending mixed messages to our kids. For one, we are saying, we know that Christian education exists, but it’s not so important to always choose the option that glorifies God. Faith becomes compartmentalized instead of all-encompassing. We are Christians at home or at church but, because of the secular pressure, we are not visibly or comfortably living out the Christian faith at school or with school friends. At a Christian school, children are not only free to be Christians, speak about their faith and practice it, but they are encouraged to do so.

Additionally, the support system that exists in a Christian school cannot be found in public school. The value of things such as parents, students and staff praying together, weekly chapel sessions designed to uplift and encourage students, and after-school clubs that glorify God is incalculable.

Still, there is no perfection. There is sin everywhere. However, in a Christian school, sin is recognized as sin and is dealt with using Christian precepts of repentance, mercy and love. This teaches kids to deal with things the way Jesus taught us. This is not done in the public school system.

Christianity is not just something we do on Sundays. It encompasses our entire lives. It permeates every aspect of our beings.  Choosing a Christian education is important for every aspect of our children’s lives here on earth and eternally because it gives them the opportunity to be closer to God through setting a foundation of Christian morals, intellectual concepts, exposure to the word of God, Christian teachers and staff who are positive role models, Godly relationships with staff and other students, conflict resolution that is rooted in God’s love, the presence of the Holy Spirit in the school, the family-like support system, the presence of prayer in the school and the encouragement to live by the rules God has given us. In regard to education, what is more important than that?

A Crushing Truth

“They want you to take your camos off, put your civvies on, wash ’em and put ’em in the closet. And they want you to go back to your normal life, the way that you were. And a lot of people can’t do that. And so, whether you call it PTSD or anxiety disorder or whatever, you have failed to cut loose those experiences.” This is the crushing truth of how veterans are viewed in America today.

Veterans face many issues when they return home from war. They are left with three main questions, “Will I be met with proper health care,” “Will there be aftereffects from what I’ve seen,” and “How will I be accepted socially?”

Many citizens believe that the U.S. government should make these provisions for veterans, but are they? And if they are, could they be doing a better job? The answer is “Yes!”, and the best way to make strides toward improvement is by changing America’s mindset.

After World War I, returning soldiers were looked at with admiration. They were welcomed with parades and viewed as heroes. This mentality stuck in our minds for a while, but everything changed after Vietnam. The public was outraged over the senseless deaths of thousands, and the antiwar movement began. Protests were commonplace, and many turned violent. Soon, the anger was turned toward the veterans themselves. This was the beginning of a subconscious disregard for U.S. veterans that would soon spread so far that it even crept up the ladder to federal America.

Compared to other countries, the U.S. appears to put many resources toward caring for its veterans. Each year, the U.S. allocates $100 billion for veterans. Perhaps then, it is not entirely the fault of the government, but also of the citizens. The public cannot empathize with how difficult it is for veterans to process information in the same way that the average American does, and this is why the solution that is currently in place is a complete mess.

TRICARE is a military health care program that caters to active duty and retired service members, as well as their families. TRICARE provides many mental health services to veterans. These services look fantastic on paper, but it is the day-to-day interaction that truly demonstrates the faults of the system. Rules are bent and fraud is prevalent, causing veterans’ families and loved ones to feel concerned.

The most common way for a veteran to receive federal assistance is through the U.S. Department
of Veteran’s Affairs, or the VA, which has roots tracing back to 1636. Veterans registered with the VA are entitled to free medical examinations deemed necessary by an examining clinician. The VA appears to be doing its best to care for veterans, but the question presses on: Why are veterans still suffering?

A returning soldier goes through a significant change when he or she returns home. Families may not realize it, but the person that was deployed will never fully return to them. The soldier’s worldview is radically altered. They see life as nastier, crueler, and infuriating, and they can become incredibly distant from their families. When he or she is rejected from his or her family, this is when they need assistance the most.

One of the most common aftereffects of war is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD, including paranoia symptoms. PTSD can be triggered by a multitude of things, but the common thread between all cases is the symptoms veterans experience.

These include paranoia and depression. The paranoia that veterans face is real and horrifying. It can only be properly addressed if the victim realizes that it is there. Many people who return from active service do not recognize their own PTSD. All they know is that something is wrong. So, they try to self-medicate. However, most of the time self-medication means turning to drugs and/or alcohol, which is why – as of 2015 – 70% of veterans face substance abuse problems.

The first time clinical depression was seen among veterans was after World War II. Those who were released from concentration camps suffered a depression so deep and severe, it was often deadly. Depression loomed over the nation as a whole. The same spirit returned after Vietnam, where over one third of returning soldiers were diagnosed as clinically depressed.

Veterans face a social struggle unlike any other. The way that veterans are portrayed in the media is very positive around national holidays, a couple times a year; however, most of the time they do not receive that much coverage. Much of the attention that they receive is only when they are tied in with major stories and/or crimes.

In 2014, 140,000 veterans were in prisons all across America, 21,000 of whom had been convicted of murder. Realistically, this is not a large number; it is less than 10% of the military population. However, the media emphasizes what it wants, and so the veteran population is consistently shown in a negative light. Although the media is able to twist any idea into something negative, it is especially harmful to veterans because they are often unable to demand the reverence they are owed.

A great injustice has been done to those who deserve to be revered as national heroes. The sacrifices and repercussions men and women make by entering into the armed forces is so significant; they deserve not only to be treated with equal respect as all human beings but perhaps even more. The idea of serving for one’s country should be greater, because it is no longer mandatory.

The aftermath of war is always going to remain the same. It is unnatural for man to witness many of the things he sees on the battlefield, and those memories can be difficult to cast aside. However, those who suffer with their past through every second of their present deserve all the assistance there is to offer, and – so far – it has not been enough.