Monday, April 29, 2019

Anonymous Asks (37)

“Why does school suck?”

For a Christian teen, there could be all kinds of reasons.

If you’re in a public school in 2019, you are being non-stop propagandized with — in no particular order — naturalism, secularism, materialism, existentialism, neo-Marxism, multiculturalism, diversity-worship, post-modernism, neo-Darwinism, progressivism, globalism, extreme environmentalism, feminism, militant sexual deviancy and licentiousness, pro-abortionism, hatred of the so-called “patriarchy”, generalized political correctness and a poorly-concealed loathing of everything that built Western civilization or that you read in your Bible.

I may have missed a couple there. Small wonder a Christian may wish to be elsewhere.

Hyper-Vigilance and Mental Exhaustion

If this stuff is not already living in your head, be assured that over time some of it will sneak in by osmosis no matter how carefully you try to defend against it, and no matter how diligently your parents try to pick through the bad ideas and help you weed them out when you are at home. You will need to live in a heightened state of alertness and question every assumption you are asked or expected to make, testing every new concept you are presented with against your knowledge of the word of God in order to keep from being totally brainwashed.

That’s a lot to ask of a young person. Hyper-vigilance is exhausting.

If you’re in a rural public school miles from anywhere, the curriculum may be awful, but many of your teachers are probably still sane. If you’re in a “Christian” school, things may be marginally better in both departments, but don’t think for a moment these negative influences are not leaking into Christian education from the culture at large. They are, but just at a slightly slower rate.

You may have figured all this out, and that’s why you hate school. Or it could be any number of other perfectly good reasons. It may be that you do not fit in and really want to, or that you are too smart for the lowest-common-denominator drivel you are learning, or that you are being bullied, or that you find your fellow students shallow, depraved, or so much unlike you in habits and upbringing that you can’t even begin to figure out how to relate to them. It could be that you can’t figure out how on earth any of the things you are learning in school will actually make you better at life in the real world. And the fact is that most of them will not.

Good Things About Public Education

However, there are a few good things about encountering the influences of the world full-force while you are still a teenager rather than for the first time as an adult. One is that you are learning to cope with the same sort of mind-altering ideological blather and chronic temptation to compromise your principles that you will have to deal with your entire life unless you plan on becoming Amish. University will be like high school, only more so, and the workforce will hit you with many of these same problems. Any modern HR Department is just your high school’s virtue-signaling PC elite writ large. You have to learn how to identify evil and resist its allure at some point if you are going to be a testimony for Christ in this world, so why not now? I’m not saying your current age is necessarily the optimal time for that, but if you haven’t got a choice, you may as well make the best of a situation you can’t change.

Another good thing about repeated exposure to evil ideas you have already identified as evil is that you can learn to combat them more effectively. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Take the opportunity to fight back; to bring the hard questions school raises in your mind to older Christians who can answer them for you, or to seek out answers from fellow believers online. There are plenty to be found there. I find bad ideas are almost as helpful as good ones in provoking me to go back to the Bible and ask “Why is that wrong? What will that idea produce in my life and in society if I accept it, and why would that be a bad thing?” Men and women who have worked these problems out are invaluable to the Christian community as apologists and spiritual resources. In time, you could become very useful to your fellow believers as you battle with the world’s efforts to convert you to its way of thinking.

A third good thing is that you have an opportunity to be a testimony for Christ right where you are, and right now. People are watching you all day long, be it teachers or fellow students. Society is so corrupt these days that you don’t have to be a teen version of the apostle Paul to stand out. All you have to do is avoid the worst of it, and you’ll draw plenty of attention from your peers. Personal holiness is a bit shocking to people who have never seen it before, and you have the opportunity to model that for them. Some will hate it, and you. Good. You’ll develop a thicker skin. Some, maybe only a few, will be attracted to you, and perplexed by your way of living. Even better. As Peter put it, “They are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery.” So don’t. Once you do, it’s awfully hard to get your reputation back.

Saying ‘No More!’

There is also no shame in hollering “No mas!” if you find you really can’t take it and you feel like you’re sinking. Talk to your parents about it. Public school was not the standard educational environment for most of our world’s history. There is no compelling reason you must be educated that way other than that it’s the default assumption of our society. Other options do exist today. Many Christian kids are homeschooled, and many learn the required material independently in small online classes with a virtual teacher.

If your parents feel the need for you to remain “socialized”, a switch from a public school to a Catholic/Christian school may ease the pressure a little and improve the quality of your education at the same time. There are alternative learning programs and Montessori schools to be found in every major city. If you are mid-high school and feel you would be better off getting out of the classroom and into the workforce faster, there are programs and streams available most places that will get you into a combination work/learning situation. This website lists 13 different school options for U.S. readers, and Canada has many similar programs.

One thing I will definitely assure you of is that you are not wrong: school can be a truly miserable experience. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be. If you’re alert enough to recognize the cesspool modern public education has become, then you’re surely alert enough to change your situation for the better, one way or another.

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