By Roy W. Lowrie, Jr., Ed.D. (1974)
When their third child was graduating from Christian school, Mrs. Alexander Hussar told me that the family’s many years in the Christian school had been a great experience which required both parents to be disciplined people. She said that discipline had been good for all of them. They were glad for the Christian school and would do it all over again.
Enrolling children in the Christian school never lessens parental responsibility as some think. The school is not a remedy for parents who are unwilling to fulfill their obligations in raising their children in the home. Please consider the following parental responsibilities.
In the Home
Christian school students need strong Christian homes, under fathers who are spiritual heads as well as financial heads. They need to grow up with parents who love each other, who love God, and who love each child. No teacher can compensate for failure here.
The Lord Jesus Christ must be central in the home. Prayer must be meaningful. The Bible must be central. Family Bible reading and prayer must be consistent.
Parents must show their children how to apply biblical principles in all of life. Children follow parental example, and the example set by parents must be completely Christian. The best teachers in the world are parents.
The Christian school does not excuse inadequate training in the home. It is not an escape, not a balm for a parent whose conscience is bothered because of shortcomings in the home. It may seem strange, but the Christian school is most effective in the lives of the students who come from strong Christian homes.
In the Church
Christian school should never become a substitute for regular attendance at a sound gospel church. If students do not develop positive attitudes toward the church, they will drift away from church and the things of God after they graduate from the school. This would be disastrous. Because attitudes toward church are so important, Christian school families should be members of strong, sound, gospel preaching churches which parents and children can support with their whole hearts, and with enthusiasm.
Students should not be excused from attending Sunday School or Youth Meetings because they learn Bible in school. Sometimes Christian school students are far ahead of their friends who attend secular schools when it comes to understanding the Bible, and this can cause some problems. The answer is a stronger program in the church, not withdrawal from activities by the Christian school students.
Cliques in a church are sinful. Christian school parents and students must never stick together in exclusive fellowship. Fellowship must be maintained with all of the church, for our fellowship is in Christ and not in our relationship to the Christian school. Satan would like to make the school a divisive factor within the church. We must guard against this tendency, for it is the natural thing for students to stick with their school friends in church.
In the School
When Christian school parents pray for their own children, they should pray for the board members, administrators, teachers, and other students. Prayers of Christian have a powerful effect and no school can do an effective job of Christian education without parental prayer. There should not be any slacking in prayer because the students are in Christian school, not in secular schools. Satan opposes Christian school, and is only overcome by spiritual means.
Most schools need volunteer help in many activities. Parents must help in painting, cleaning, library duty, aiding teachers, etc., as they are able, upon request. Many hands make light work. This is also a good way to meet other parents and teachers.
Although perfect attendance may be impossible, parents must attend all parent functions regularly. By inviting their friends to these meetings, parents can introduce them to Christian education as offered at the school. Parental endorsement of the school is always the best.
Financial obligations to the school should be paid on or before the date due. If not, the treasurer should be notified in advance explaining the delay and stating when the payment will be made. As God enables, parents must also give money to the school in addition to tuition and fees. When possible, relatives or friends should also be encouraged to give to the school. Gifts to the school make it possible to keep tuition at reasonable levels.
Parents invited to run for office, or appointed to places of leadership or responsibility, should consider that an honor. It is an unusual opportunity to serve God through the school.
If parents become dissatisfied with the school in any respect, they should seek to resolve the matter with the person or persons involved rather than begin to spread criticism or hold a negative attitude. Every good school has some problems, and it is important to solve them in the right way. If the Spirit of God is grieved in the school, the spiritual objectives will not be attained.
Today there are more students in Christian schools than at any time in the history of America. As parents thank God for Christian school, they must fulfill their own responsibilities at home, at church, and at school. Christian school is a discipline, a good one, for parents as well as for students.