January 29, 2010

A Modern-Day Revolutionary

For better or worse, Dan and I send our children to public school. It was never a deliberate decision, it's just something one does around here. There are very few Christian schools nearby and I don't know a single local person who home schools. We live in a good area, with good schools but I wonder if we've made the right choice for my kids—not for their education (which for the most part has been very good), but for their character.

As much as public school has to offer, one thing is very clear: They do not protect the innocence of our children. Perhaps in an attempt to enlighten or to expose students to what they're eventually going to be exposed to anyway, it seems few topics are off limits. Add to this the fights, profanity, and talk of sex and drugs they witness in the hallways, at the lockers and on the bus, my kids are certainly getting an education! Last week a boy in my daughter's class wrote a front page story for our local paper about being gay and coming out. He's only 14.

I'm no Puritan who's calling for restoration of 16th century sensibilities. I know all of these issues are a part of our world, but when it comes to our children, once their innocence is gone, it's gone. Schools (society and parents) have tossed children into a sea of adult themes forgetting they don't yet know how to swim or even discern if the water's polluted. Collectively our moral responsibility has been hijacked in the name of social acceptance, political correctness and progressiveness. "Times are different now," we tell ourselves.


A high school near me has been in the news recently because they added R-rated movies— featuring scenes of sex, drug use, violence and suicide—to their curriculum. Some of the parents object saying the movies are gratuitously vulgar and softly pornographic. They're raising a fuss with the school board and they're losing. The parents have been maligned as being intolerant, repressed and promoting censorship. Squares out-of-touch with the times.


Yesterday a local columnist wrote about last week's school board meeting when a young "square" confronted the board, teachers and students during the public comments. His words left most speechless. And many angered.

Here's an excerpt of the column, as reported by J.D. Mullane of the Courier Times:

"It's hard to say anything on moral grounds when the teachers define the terms," Daniel Kilby, 24, said. "They're defining what morality is. They're defining what good is. They're defining what is evil also. And I want to also mention how many things have been censored through the history of American education.

"The history of American education within the past 40 years mostly has censored the Judeo-Christian world view. Have you guys every heard of 'Pilgrims Progress'? C.S. Lewis' 'Mere Christianity'? These are all works banned on religious grounds. Have you ever heard of G.K. Chesterton?

"Censorship is a problem coming from both (sides). As a Christian - I'm not afraid to say it - I am appalled by the things that are being censored in public schools. The Bible. (There are educators who) have told Christians who have brought the Bible to quiet reading time that they're not allowed to bring the Bible to quiet reading time. And the evil ..."

Kilby added that "evil" - as understood in epic Western literature - was defined by the Bible.
Kilby was cut off by the school board president. Outside the auditorium, Kilby told the reporter he felt compelled to speak when no other student did.
"They want these kids to believe that they're opening them up to the world, to experiences that are needed to function in the workplace or wherever," he said. "They are really opening them to the dark parts of the world. Why aren't they emphasizing the good of human nature? The revolutionary ideas that take all that evil we just heard (is) in those movies, and turn it to good, which is even more compelling. It's more powerful than the darkness of sex, drugs, rape, suicide and all. But let's face it, there is a mindset in the culture that sees evil as more thrilling and captivating than good.

"Someone has to stand up for it. Well, you saw them, how they looked at me. The person standing up for good is the revolutionary now," he said.
I want to find this young man and give him a hug—for his words, his courage and his conviction. I talk about living faith out loud, of being a light in the darkness, of defending the faith. But he actually DID it. And in a very public way, at the expense of ridicule, threats and chastisement.

Reading his remarks sobers me to how complacent I am. I wouldn't have spoken up like he did.  I'd followed the story in the paper and those thoughts weren't even in my head. While I think I'm wise of the ways of the world,  the reality is I've become far too tolerant and accepting of "societal norms" and of thinking that's just the way life is now. 

I don't want my children to live in a bubble, fearing the "world" and cursing the darkness. But, how can I equip them to be a light in the world, when I myself can't recognize the gray?


Cheryl Barker said...

Kelli, it's unbelievable that a high school is making R-rated movies part of their curriculum. That doesn't even make common sense, when you consider kids have to be 17 or over to even see them in a theater & then many parents wouldn't allow it even then... Sounds like it's time to vote for new school board members when things like that are going on.

I had to take a pretty unpopular stand on a couple of issues when my kids were in grade school. The Lord will fight for you when you step up to do what you think is right. And when you take a stand, it teaches your kids like nothing else can...

Kelly said...

Hey Kel-

I've been reading a book and doing a lot of thinking and I really think that when the spirit within us moves us to take action, we know that it is gray.

That feeling we get in our chest, or the pit of our stomach...our natural reaction to injustice, inequality, evil. We listen to that. We teach that to our kiddos.

No offense to anyone, but perhaps this young man was chosen to speak out because of his age. Because it is common for parents to strike out against evil, but for a 24 year old to stand up with his heart on his sleeve and his convictions in hand, people have to take note.

I've been hearing it a lot- God doesn't want us to do what we cannot do, but what we can do. This is why we are all equip with different gifts and talents. This is another example of that.

He stood up in a room of strangers, solo, yes.

You write, on a regular basis might I add, things that bring people closer to a full understanding of God. You spread a message to those who might not otherwise be reached. To those who need it and don't know it.

Ginny said...

Great post! One of our big goals in taking back America needs to be to take back our schools. Many disgusting things go on there, but gentle and assumptive wrong teaching is even worse--especially on the topics of secular humanism and evolution and a woman's 'right to choose'.

Two or more generation now have been corrupted by these teaching, and ,of course, the lack of any mention of God anywhere in the classroom.

Now that we are awake and fighting, some of our energy needs to go where our little ones are being taught that God doesn't exist, that abortion is okay (for whom?), and that instead of being created in God's image (imago deo) we came crawling out of the goo.

Kelly Combs said...

You're scaring me. My kids go to private Christian school, but we have decided to send my oldest to public middle school next year. What you wrote is what I fear.

I pray she has a solid foundation to be salt and light and to know right from wrong. And that when she does make mistakes, she's still home with me to get guidance and when necessary discipline.

Kudos to that young man! He is so right.

Susan S said...

I too have been following this in the paper, knowing my kids will be going to this high school. Then again, most Disney movies are PG so it's so hard to keep them in an age-appropriate world. They get on the bus as cute kids and come off the bus with an attitude. Overall I'm very pleased with our school; but it will never do the job required of a parent, nor should we expect it.

Sue J. said...

Just to pick up on what Kelly was saying above, we have all been given different gifts, and God calls different folks to step up at pre-appointed times. I don't think it's that you don't have a heart for this issue; this post clearly suggests otherwise.

I probably wouldn't be able to stand up at a school board meeting either. But I could write a sharp letter to the editor (or school board) if I had to. Different gifts, same heart and message from the heart, yes?

Indeed, we need to encourage those who are using their voices and standing up for God and His children. Let's not think that those who are heard are the only ones with voices, however.

My heart aches more for when MY relationship with my girls isn't where it should be. Because that makes the worldview all that more appealing. God, hear our prayers!

Carmen said...

That's quite the post Kelli! I so hear your mothers heart. Just to quickly encourage you, I have 4 sons (20-27), all raised in public school, all serving the Lord. I do realize that the world seems to be spiralling downward faster and faster these days.

The youth of today are so different, you know. Many people think they're rude and sometimes they are. But many of them want the real thing and they're not afraid to speak up for it. It's another reason we need to live a real transparent christianity.

It's interesting we are labelled as intolerant, when they are actually being the intolerant ones. Black becomes white, wrong becomes right. I admire those who are willing to stand up against that kind of authority. These are interesting times we're living in!

Great post!

Laura said...

Wow. What a brave young man Kilby is. And articulate too. I also send my children to public school, Kelli. Like you, I just never had the role models to do it any other way. I see positves and negatives to all types of education. My boys know that they are a light in this world. I am often proud of the way they speak up about their beliefs among their peers.

But you are right, once innocence is lost, it is lost.

Some things to think about.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Sounds as if the "trumpet" has sounded, calling for more than just a casual glance. Time to move forward in the battle, if not for ourselves, for our kids. They cannot afford our complacency. They deserve better. They deserve the Truth.

If I'm going to "err" and look like a fool in the world's eyes, let me err on the side of the Truth... the kingdom... Jesus Christ.

Yes, I'd like to hug him too. If you find him, would you do so for me?

Keep vigilant, friend; we are not of a people of shrink back and are destroyed. We are part of an unshakable, reliable, eternal kingdom.

If all of "this" keeps us, can you even imagine what it's going to be like for our grandkids? Have mercy.

Prayers for you and your family's faith as you navigate these strange waters.


Kristen said...

Let me assure you, I went to a Christian school and it was no better! Sure, we learned creationism and read the Bible but the students at that school - and most of the Christian schools my friends attended - were vicious.

It is such a hard balance. I applaud Kilby for standing up & voicing the hearts of many who go unheard every. single. day.