Public or Private?
I used to think it was silly to spend money on Kindergarten. What complex subject matter could possibly be taught that would be worth the tuition of private school? I mean really, how hard is it to teach a kid about basic numbers and the calendar and cutting and pasting and how to read. Shouldn’t we have our kids go to public school to start with and then potentially switch to a Christian school when their minds are tackling more complex matters? That’s what I used to think at least, but that was before I really understood that school does not just teach knowledge.
True, knowledge is gained by going to any decent school. But kids learn a lot more than how to read and write in their first year of school. They learn how to interact with a new group of people. They learn how to obey new adult authority-figures. They learn how to change the calendar and laugh at recess and tuck their shirt in. But most important of all, they learn the way the world works – according to those around them. It’s called worldview. It’s like a colored lens that shades the way a person sees and perceives everything; like the old saying that everything looks better through rose-colored glasses. That’s a worldview. Everyone has a worldview or a lens by which they perceive the world around them, and every school teaches a worldview, whether intentionally or accidentally. And when the worldview at school doesn’t match up with the worldview at home, even a 5 year old notices and starts to question which one is true and which one they prefer. Mom and Dad do not always win.
For example, let’s say at home Mom and Dad tell their son Jason that God created the world and Adam and Eve. This is a story they have presented as truth. During share time at public school, classmate Billy talks about his understanding that the world went “Bang!” and appeared and that we used to be apes a long time ago. This is also a story that Billy has presented as truth. Let’s say best case scenario, the teacher responds by saying it’s okay for Billy to believe that (as opposed to a very realistic scenario where she tells Billy he’s right and shows him “evidence” in an illustrated book). Now Jason has heard two opposing stories that were presented as truth. He now has a choice. He can believe Mom and Dad, he can believe Billy, or he can remain unsure and believe some combination of the two. All of this is about what Jason believes, which is important, but I want to talk about Jason’s worldview.
Truth vs. Belief
The teacher has started to teach Jason and Billy an important (and false) worldview all in one conversation. It’s the worldview that teachers in public school are required by law to teach, even if accidentally; the worldview that says truth is relative, and belief is permissible but personal. And although Mom and Dad’s story may come out as the winner in Jason’s mind, the infallible truth of the Bible has been compromised in his little worldview. That little worldview is going to develop more and more every day until his little worldview becomes a big solid worldview that was accidentally (and sometimes purposefully) taught to him by law by a handful of individuals who were probably genuinely wonderful teachers. The result is a grown Jason who may be lucky enough to have held tight to the true stories of the Bible, but who perceives them through a secular lens, leaving him at times confused and even skeptical. I know because I am like Jason. After 12 years in public school in Oregon, I am having to retrain my mind to see the world through a Biblical lens as opposed to the relativistic, postmodern perspective that I naturally (unfortunately) filter everything through.
Shaping a worldview is something that happens subtly and it’s hard to see, but it paints our perspective on everything we hear and say and believe to be true for the rest of our lives. Worldview is our perspective on everything and everyone. So would I pay money to ensure that my child grows up with a Biblically sound worldview? Because in reality a worldview is something precious that money CAN buy. Yes! Ten times over, yes. And 2 years later, it has been worth every penny.