This is a sensitive topic for me to blog about for different reasons. One being that I am a licensed elementary teacher who is currently subbing in our local district, and another because we send our children to the public schools in our town.
I witnessed last year as a classroom teacher, and again this year as an all grade "guest teacher" the daily persecution that students face that believe in God (Jesus Christ) or talk about God in school. As a christian teacher, I am- by law, required not to get involved in these discussions, but I love when they happen because I like to observe the mannerisms of all parties included and listen to how the stand up, or give up, on what they believe. More often than not, I see the Christian students back down from their arguments and beliefs. It has been my experience that those that don't share the same beliefs come full force to beat down the Christian's views and opinions. It saddens me every time it happens. It's hard enough for an adult, let alone an elementary aged child, to defend what "faith" is. I often hear kids ask, "How is God real if you can't see him?" I wait for the Christians answer, and usually, it's "I don't know." Not real convincing. After this, the Christian students walk away from the argument feeling defeated, confused, and maybe angry that they don't have a stronger answer. It breaks my heart, and I wish I could jump in with my testimony and life experiences of how God is real in my life-but I can't.
This has weighed heavy on my mind and heart lately especially since Jacob has started school and Izzy will next year. Am I am being naive to think we can raise our children to be a light in the public school system? Are we setting our children up to doubt, reject, and walk away from Jesus because it's the "cool" thing to do? I don't fully believe in homeschooling, but am not completely against it either. I don't want to go overboard and shelter them from the real world, but as their parent, I feel a great deal of responsibility to "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." (Proverbs 22:6) There are other issues I have with public schools besides this, large class sizes, wasted time, unclear school or classroom goals/ focus, behavior/ discipline plans, parental support, etc. But today, because I witnessed it again, I am thinking about the persecution of Christians in the classrooms.
It's a slippery slope to climb. All I can do right now is pray daily for our children. I do hope and pray daily that they can be a light to those that don't know Jesus. I tell Jacob everyday before he leaves, "Jacob, try be a blessing to someone today!"