Hello! Today I’m doing a blog swap with my friend, Emily, who I met through American Heritage Girls. She is also a fellow member of the Young Writer’s Workshop (I roped her in ;)) and recently started blogging at More Than a Church Kid. You probably know the drill by now: by “blog swap,” I mean that I’m posting something she wrote on my blog, and she’s posting something I wrote on hers.
Since I am homeschooled, I asked Emily to write about her experience in public school. So here is her piece!
“What Public School Has Taught Me About Faith”
I am in between two worlds. There’s the world of Christians who homeschool, and go to co-ops together, and there are the Christians are immersed in the daunting world of public education. I have friends on both sides. Both of these methods of schooling are legitimate and there are pros and cons to each. Sometimes one option is better than the other for a family than the other.
I went to a Waldorf method school from kindergarten to eighth grade. My parents wanted something different from the typical public school education, but still at a public school. Now I go to a regular public high school. I won’t lie, some aspects of public school are challenging, but I believe there is a lot that can be learned from the experience. Here are my main tips for Christians going to public school.
Be mindful of how you act
We are Christ’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). The way we present ourselves impacts the legitimacy of our message. You can’t serve a loving God with a hateful attitude. People won’t want to follow God if He’s is represented by an unkind person.
Being a public schooler can be hard. There will be unkind people and people who gossip about others. Don’t join in, even though it might seem like fun. We are told in Luke 10:27, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
As Christians, we want to be known by our love for others. We want people to see God through us. We want to be the ones that people are drawn to because of this love. This doesn’t mean we need to be popular, but we need to make sure our behavior reflects all that is good. 2 Timothy 2:24 sums this up perfectly: “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil.”
Don’t be afraid to have your worldview challenged
Your faith will be challenged. It could be in your biology textbook’s ideas about the nature of life, in history book’s depiction of Christians, or in a debate about human nature in English class. I don’t think that that’s always a bad thing. Why, you ask? Because that means you have the opportunity to learn.
Don’t assume you know everything. Christians may understand things about our reality that non-believers don’t, but then again, we don’t know everything. Public school is a place to learn, so hear what others have to say. It is okay to disagree with them, but make sure you hear them out first. You would want the same consideration from them.
Our faith must not be stagnant. It needs to grow. We can’t believe in God passively; it needs to be a constant thirst to learn more. When our faith is challenged by what the world thinks, it can be an opportunity to learn what God thinks. Read the Bible, read books, listen to podcasts, or watch videos made by Christians to learn more about other’s beliefs and decide for yourself what you believe. You need to have an open mind to grow your faith, and that includes challenges. Challenges to our faith can strengthen it, because if taken the right way, we will learn more about what we believe which is a great benefit to us.
Another way that this is beneficial, is that the more we understand what we believe, the better we can articulate it to unbelievers. Challenges will become an opportunity to teach and pour into others.
Keep the faith
This point ties in with the one above: learn! Learn more about what you believe. Don’t be afraid to have your beliefs challenged—yet at the same time, know what you believe. If you don’t know what you believe, it is easier to be swayed by the incorrect views of this world. Though you should still respect the people with these views, you do not need to agree.
Reading your Bible is the most important thing a Christian can do. It is God’s Living Word. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteous.” 2 Timothy 3:16. Read the Bible–unlike the world, it will not fail you.
Some of you might be thinking, I have so many classes to manage and so much homework! I don’t have time for an extra reading assignment. Hey, I understand, I’m a public schooler too, remember? One of the downsides of public schooling v.s. homeschooling is that your schedule is not as flexible. But reading your Bible is still very important, so here are a few things you can try.
- Reading before bed. I like to do this because I’m a night owl, and it’s easier for me to focus on reading at night so I get more out of it. Plus, reading before bed is better than screen time. Win-win.
- Likewise, reading in the morning is great too, especially because you start your day with God’s Word. The only thing is you need to get up a few minutes earlier so you aren’t running late.
- Getting a study-buddy. Accountability is always good to keep you on track, especially if you want to start a new habit. There are so many other good things about a study-buddy too! (My study-buddy happens to be Eliana! :D) You can talk about what you are reading, and you get to learn for the other person and it strengthens your relationship. If you have someone you might want to study a part of the Bible with, I highly recommend it!
- Being in a Bible study group. A group is great for all the reasons above! Another perk is that most groups aren’t daily, so you have more time in between the meetings.
It’s important to note that while it is highly beneficial to read the Bible daily, if that is not realistic for you and you will be more likely to skim through than actually read, it might be a better idea for you to set aside a certain day or time to study. The key thing is to study consistently, and consistently does not have to mean daily.
Public school is a great opportunity for Christians. It’s the literal definition of “in the world but not of the world.” You are surrounded by students who may or may not believe the same things you do or have the same background. It’s a great learning experience! Not only will you learn academic subjects, but coming into contact with others will teach you about people, kindness, and beliefs. Be mindful of how you act, don’t be afraid to have your thinking challenged, and know what you believe. These are my tips for Christian teens going to public school, yet they are important for every Christian, no matter what your schooling method is.
What do you think?
What did you think of Emily’s tips? Which kind of schooling do you have, or did you use to have (if you have already graduated)? How do you represent Christ in this lost world?
Also, since I was baptized more recently, Emily asked me to write about baptism for her blog.
4/12/22 – Update: Emily is no longer blogging, but a rewritten version of the same article was republished on The Rebelution. You can read it here: https://www.therebelution.com/blog/2022/04/what-every-teen-should-know-before-being-baptized/