Growing up, we were “those public schoolers” in the Catholic circle.
But in the public school circle, we were those “church kids” to our peers.
It’s hard when you’re the outsider from all angles, and you feel totally alone. You want to be a witness to the secular society you’re immersed in, but you have no Catholic community to stand behind you.
I went to public schools for most of my schooling.
It was so very hurtful when people (adults and kids both) in the Catholic School and Homeschool arena looked down on us and even refused to include us because we were “those public schoolers.”
I don’t say this to make those who engaged in this mindset feel bad. I think there’s an aggressive movement to spread this mentality that made you fearful and cautious. I forgive you and I love you.
I say this because I want those families who are in the same situation I was in, to know that you are not a bad Catholic because of where you send your kids to school.
I don’t know why you send your kids to public school.
- Maybe both parents need to work to afford to meet the family’s needs.
- Maybe you can’t be home to homeschool.
- Maybe you don’t feel equipped to homeschool.
- Maybe you can’t afford Catholic education.
- Or you don’t trust today’s Catholic schools.
It doesn’t matter why.
You are the parents of your family, and you have the God given right to prudently discern what’s best for your children.
When others say or imply that you are not a good Catholic because you send your kids to public school, it is a lie.
When others say or imply that your children will leave the Catholic faith because you send them to public school, it is a lie.
It’s not right for Catholics to heap fear and shame on each other for making different choices.
We don’t need that.
We need to stand together.
What I’m saying to you today is this: “It’s going to be hard. Your children will be under attack. But you can do this.”
Your children are going to be under attack, but so are all the children in our society today, no matter what schooling choices we make for them.
Catholic School Kids Are Not Safe
I went to Catholic high school.
My peers were, frankly, lousy.
I didn’t find any more faithful friends there than I found in the public school system. Fewer, in fact, because the small class size left no variety of choice in peers.
I was lonely.
And more than that, I was exposed to things that I never should have been.
I learned way too much about the world’s view of sex from my peers than I ever wanted or needed to know in high school.
Having been sheltered in an “ignorance is bliss” kind of way, this was my introduction to sex. I wished I had acquired the knowledge of the beauty of sex and sexuality before I had to wade through the task of sifting it from the garbage on my own.
My innocence was stolen from me right there in Catholic school.
And I don’t fault the school for it. Apparently my class was a doozy, and that’s not the norm for that school. I still love the school and the sisters for who they are and what they do.
But my experience there still served as a battleground for my faith and my innocence.
Catholic school kids are not safe from the evil influence of the world.
Homeschool Kids Are Not Safe
Public school is not in the cards for us. We have discerned that homeschooling is what our family needs to be happy and holy, and we are willing to sacrifice almost anything to make that happen.
But at the same time, I know that while homeschooling is the right choice for us, our kids are not completely immune to the dangers of the world.
I recently heard a story from a homeschooling friend whose child was introduced to pornography by a kid in his religious education class.
Where our kids are supposed to be learning the faith!
As much as we want homeschooling to protect our kids from the world, it can’t do that.
They are going to meet other kids who have been brought up in the lies of this culture, no matter what we try to do to stop it.
They are going to meet kids in religious education class, in dance class, on the soccer team, at the playground – everywhere!
And at some point, our kids are going to see the thing we don’t want them to see.
They’re going to hear the twisted lies that we don’t want them to hear.
Homeschooling kids are not safe from the evil influence of the world.
You are Not Alone.
Dear public school families, you are not alone.
As much as we may not want to admit it, none of us are safe, no matter what schooling option we pick for our children.
If there’s one thing I learned from my experiences, it’s that I want to stand with you.
- I want to see you at the park
- I want to have feast day parties with you.
- I want you to come to the parish picnic.
- I want you to know you’re not alone.
I don’t want to be the family that shuts you out because you make different schooling choices from me. And if I ever do that, admonish me. Correct me. I want to change my ways.
We are in this together.
We can fight side by side against the world, the flesh and the devil.
You don’t have to do this on your own.
We are Catholic, together.
How Do We Fight This Over-Sexualized Culture?
There are so many different ways our kids are under attack, but I’m going to zone in on this one because it’s the one that has affected me the most in so many different ways – as a child, an adult, a parent, and a Catholic.
We need to stop thinking that “ignorance is bliss.”
If we don’t teach our kids the truth about sex and sexuality, someone else will.
This means answering all their questions, from the earliest age on. Answering them honestly. Not with some cutesy, misleading answer that makes them question coming back to us for information when they’re older and figure it out.
It means being proactive in teaching them about the human body and reproduction. Using the real words to talk about body parts and childbirth. Teaching the goodness of the body and God’s design for it.
It means finding age appropriate ways to give them the words they need to communicate when they’ve come across something harmful to their souls. Keeping our emotions in check. Letting them know they’re not in trouble.
If we want to protect our kids, we all need to recognize we are in the midst of the battlefield, whether we homeschool, Catholic school, or public school.
We are in this together.
We need to support each other.
We need to join forces, not divide them!
You Can Do This
It’s going to be hard. Your children will be under attack. But you can do this.
Say that to yourself.
Now say it to yourself again.
Repeat it to yourself every day.
Pray for the grace of God to carry you through this challenge.
And if you need someone to be by your side, to understand the alienation you feel as a Catholic family in public school, to support you and accept you in the Catholic community…
I am here. I see you.
You are not alone.
Leave a comment, or send me a message and I will pray with you and for you.
We can fight this battle together.
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