“I don’t want my kids to be weird”: Common Objections to Homeschooling, pt. 4
That seems to be the sentiment among many. But many who would think this are those who live vicariously through their children. They want their kids to be the coolest and the most popular, because their children’s social status gives many parents a sense of personal validation. And yes, this is true even among Christian parents who should know better.
Listen, “weird” people are everywhere. They exist in public schools just as surely as in homeschooling settings. And the worst part about being weird in the public school setting is that the social misfits are either ridiculed, or ostracized and relegated to the lowest position in the pecking order. Shy kids, or ones who are socially awkward, grow up with terrible insecurities in the public school settings because of how insignificant they are made to feel. In recent years, those feelings of worthlessness in some kids have rebounded in murderous rage toward their peers and has fueled some of the school shootings we have heard about.
In contrast, socially awkward kids in homeschool settings are not made to feel worthless, but are accepted as one of the group. At least, this is how it was when my two older kids, Hannah and Luke, were growing up and involved in their homeschool coop group. There were “weird” kids in that group, too. But it always impressed me how my kids and the others within that group accepted the weird ones just as much as the ones who were more fun and popular. In fact, I always taught my children to look around the room in a social gathering and take notice of the kids who were not talking to anyone and who looked uncomfortable and out of place, and go talk to them and make them feel accepted. I taught my children that doing so will not always be fun, because it is difficult to get some people to come out of their shells. But the inner and eternal rewards that one gains from giving of one’s self to ease the discomfort of others is priceless.
Another thing to keep in mind is that having “cool” and popular kids should not be the highest aim of parents who claim to love God. Jesus taught us that it does not profit a person to gain the whole world yet lose his own soul. Parents can groom cool and popular kids who are on the highest level of the pecking order only to lose them to a godless culture in the long run. When you train children to conform to a social pecking order and to work their way to the top, you are setting them up to be godless, or at the very least setting them up to be compromisers and spineless in their spiritual walks.
Children who truly love Jesus and who walk with God will stand out in this godless generation, and they won’t stand out in a good way to those who live in the darkness. Jesus’ words as recorded in John 3 teach us that those who love the darkness hate the light. The Apostle Paul’s writings also teach us that light has no fellowship with darkness, and warns believers to not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. Therefore, a person who assimilates easily into a worldly school system (or any godless setting) and becomes admired by the ungodly masses is usually someone who is not walking with God in any serious fashion. The scriptures tell us clearly that those who wish to live godly will be persecuted.
Being homeschooled does not equate to making a child “weird” any more than going to public schools make some kids weird. In fact, I think if an analysis was made of the percentage of kids in public schools who are socially awkward compared to the percentage of homeschooled kids who are socially awkward, you would find a higher percentage in public schools. I believe this because in public schools settings most of the kids there come from households where the parents have no fear of God, and the larger percentage come from broken homes. The broken home scenario in and of itself creates insecurities, which can result in self-desctructive behaviors. And when you combine that with the pressure of having to conform to a social order in public schools that may seem impossible, you have a perfect storm where kids — even some of the popular ones — feel worthless and out of place.
Don’t you find it interesting that suicide is the third leading cause of death among teenagers? (Source: CDC) There are thousands of teenagers in our culture who struggle with feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness, and the pagan culture of public schools have contributed greatly to that. It would be interesting to see what the percentage of suicides are among public school children compared to homeschooled children. I’ll bet nearly all of the suicides that occur in teenagers are among those who attend public schools.
Yes, I have known kids who were homeschooled who I thought were a little strange. But I watched them grow up into godly adults who truly love God and who are blessed of the Lord. I also have known kids of Christian parents who were cool and polished and high on the social pecking order in public schools who have gone on to reject the faith and shame their parents. My wife and I have said for years that if given the choice, we would take kids who are seen as weird in the eyes of the world but who love God and make us proud over kids who are loved and admired by the masses but who have no love for Jesus and His Kingdom.
What about you?