The final part of our schooling-related blog series is here: Discipling the Private-Schooled Child. And for this article, I have wisdom from a good friend, who…
Last week, Leslie Linstra gave 5 great tips to maximize discipleship when you are sending your kids to a private school (If you missed it, you can read tips 1-5 here).
Today, she has 5 more helpful ideas…
6. Prepare them for the world!
It has been said that private school kids can be “soft”. What does that mean? Are they ill-equipped to know God’s word and apply it? Not necessarily. But much like an athlete who trains only one certain way, when resistance and friction is applied to another muscle group, they may not have the strength they thought they did. Similarly, kids in private school that haven’t learned critical thinking or considered how the rest of the world thinks about things, may falter later in life when faced with resistance to their beliefs.
Instead, we want our kids to know how to stand strong. So teach them to think critically about the world, consider other opinions and ideas, and use the Bible to inform their views. Bring up the tough topics that might not be covered in school to help them prepare for what the world has for them.
7. The Great Commission still applies.
Being in a Christian environment may mean we need to be more intentional to share Christ with non-believers. First of all, there are likely plenty of non-Christians at your kid’s private school, and our kids should always see us ready to share the gospel. But we also should be seeking out other opportunities to share the hope and saving truth of the gospel.
Talk about evangelism with your kids before you go to the grocery store, play with neighbors on the street, or head to sports practices or games. Pray with your kids for opportunities. God will surely put people in your path that are in desperate need of hearing the gospel! There’s no better way to raise up ambassadors for Christ, than to be one ourselves. Let’s model how important the Great Commission is.
8. Pay attention to the details of their soul.
Kids who spend a lot of time at church or Christian schools have some distinct temptations to watch out for. For example: while they usually know a lot of Bible stuff, it can sometimes become academic. Or worse yet, some kids eventually drown out Biblical teaching thinking they’ve heard it all. Sometimes pride follows knowledge. And sometimes “good kids” learn to hide their sin. All in all, they can become experts at “looking Christian” before they’re even saved, and that can carry some danger.
But the wise parent will stay attuned to the leanings of her children and will see the subtle red flags before they become real problems. So prayerfully pay attention to the weaknesses of your child, so you can best direct their hearts back to the truth.
9. Burst the bubble.
It can feel very safe in a private school and the term “Christian bubble” is often used for kids that split their time between private school, church, and home life. And that may be semi-true…they are a tad bubbled. But that won’t be the case forever, so we need to start teaching our kids to be courageous and bold when faced with the uncomfortable now. At times it might even be appropriate to purposefully bring on the uncomfortable.
What ways can you teach them to be brave, to do the hard things, to say yes to God when it’s not easy or popular? How can you encourage them to take risks for God? What discomfort can you converse about — helping them see they can still be at peace, and content, because God has them. Help them practice living for God in their mini trials, so they can one day live for him whole-heartedly in their larger trials.
9. Remember the goal – making an impact for Christ.
When you think about the long term goals for your kids, it can be difficult to not consider things like a good college, a successful gratifying career, financial stability, and a family. Those are not bad goals or aspirations. And often times those who send their kids to a private school are very much wanting a “quality” education that leads in those directions. But Christ has so much more for us as Christians!
When our eyes are fixed on His Kingdom and making an impact for Christ, the list above pales in comparison to the eternal rewards that God brings to a life sold out for him. So, when you think about your kids and their future, where are you aiming? Is it to get good grades and do the next “successful” thing? For that matter, what is your definition of success? We need to make sure our eyes are fixed first and foremost on Kingdom rewards, not on the earthly ones. And that focus alone will steer a lot of our parenting and our discipleship.
10. Pray without ceasing.
No matter where we send our child, they are ultimately in God’s hands. We must never forget it is he who changes hearts and he alone saves souls. The best thing we can do for our child’s salvation and for their future in Christ is to pray consistently for God’s saving work in their lives.
No private school will be the source of bringing your child to Christ. Can a Christian school make a difference in pointing them towards Biblical principles? Yes! Can it help in sending them on a trajectory of living a fruitful Christian life? Absolutely! But living a “Christian life” and living for Christ are two very different things. We must remember the power of prayer and rely on God alone to work in our child for a life change that lasts.
There are so many blessings of a Christian private school education. But as parents, we need to stay on guard and be diligent to do the job God has appointed us to do in discipling our children and teaching them to go out in the world and make a difference for Christ. When we are willing to keep our eyes focused on Kingdom purposes, we can guide our children to be the warriors for Christ they are called to be.
To that end, pray faithfully for God to use them, and give them over to His good and perfect hands.