Well, it's been a while since my last blog, and I have enjoyed the comments. Thanks to all engaged in this conversation. Let me start by saying this:
1) Homeschooling is a GREAT idea for some. I wish we were in the position to homeschool. I am in NO WAY opposed to homeschooling. However, being in favor of something does not negate one's ability to criticize.
2) I need to elaborate on my starting point, so everyone is on the same page. I began this conversation because I had some HS kids visit our base youth group; their dad then told me that they did not enjoy it because the "speaker" (not myself) didn't know what he was talking about. This is, in a word, untrue. I don't have speakers who don't know what they are talking about. It is this kind of attitude that I have seen in other HS, in Christian school proponents, and in public school proponents--I can't learn from people who don't meet my expectations exactly.
3) My goal here is NOT to bash HS, or public schoolers, or . . . . . ., but to learn how to meet the needs of HS in my youth group(s) and to learn how to engage them in the church's conversation as well.
Now, how do I answer all of the posts? That's a great question, and I'm to which I'm unsure of the answer. I'll do it like this--I'll post the name of the commenter, and then my comments to the commenter, and we'll go from there! Sound complicated? Good!
Chickadee--In my opinion, we ALWAYS swing too far, thus the constant reminder for humility in Scripture (something all Christians are generally short of).
EEEEMommy--You're welcome to come out ANY TIME, and we'll have this conversation over cinnamon rolls and cappucinos. Just don't laugh at me in uniform! Now, for your post . . . 1) "Socialization" a la public schoolers is not all bad. 2) I would define "socially mature" as able to relate to peers. Personally, it took me forever to get to that point. It's hard enough, but not learning to engage with one's peers socially makes it harder. Does it matter? I believe so, but mainly because I know it has to happen at some point in time, and it should happen under a parent's guidance, not when they go to college! We don't want to be in danger of raising culturally-irrelevant children, do we? So how do we "socialize" in good ways, and not in the bad? 3) As for not wanting to talk about boys, etc., Kayla is the same way. She's simply not interested. We have some HS friends (another Chaplain) whose girls feel the same way. However, can't we learn to change the conversation, or even learn how to engage appropriately? As for HS "kissing dating goodbye," my question is this--do they understand why they are kissing dating goodbye, or is it because it's the "Christian" thing to do. Knowing why allows them to engage and to keep it up (which I'm in favor of). Not knowing why causes too many kids (HS or otherwise) to go too far when "released" from their parent's protection. 4) There's a danger in saying that the culture is in all ways BAD. It's the same danger as saying all Christian music is good. Both statements are untrue. High School Musical? My kids can watch it. The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman? My eldest could read it. Am I going to allow either without supervision and trying to think it through? I hope not. Am I a horrible Christian because I would allow it? There are those who would say so, but again, I'm in favor of teaching my children discernment by practicing it. Does everyone have to agree with me?! I wish!!! Are people horrible Christians if they don't? No. 5) As for HS not being used to being in a classroom environment, they need to learn to be. Almost every training I go to is classroom-based. Are you "complaining" about the classroom, or about the lack of relevance of the material? Two different things here. If you're talking about the lack of relevance of the material, then you should be talking to the Youth Minister and helping him find examples, etc., which ARE relevant. I know you know this, EEEEMommy, but engage with the Youth Minister.
Conservachick--A prideful attitude is already present in our sinful nature, and parents should be on the lookout for it. Unfortunately, it's usually more "caught" than "taught," and is certainly not relegated to HS alone. One question I have is this--are HS considered "spiritually elite?" I hope not.
Shindigs--You might know me too well! 1) I'm taking issue with the snobbery that I have seen in HS (as well as Christian schoolers, just by the way). 2) As HS parents are human just like the rest of us, then yes, I doubt any parent can raise balanced kids! We try . . . . 3) Who has the responsibility to train our kids? Why, the State, of course!!!!!
Just kidding. Naturally, parents do, as do the elders in a church, as does the church, as does the Family of God. As a former full-time Youth Minister, I both understand and take issue with the comment of "Young-Inexperience Youth Ministers." Are you saying that they have NOTHING to teach your children? I hope not. As a matter of fact, why do Christian parents have more issue with "Young-Inexperienced Youth Ministers" than they do with Senior Pastors who are blatantly sinning? God puts people in our lives from whom we can learn, and we do our children a disservice by not teaching them that principle. 4) Speaking at different levels is a part of the process. I see too many Christian parents telling their children, in words and actions, NOT to learn to speak on different levels. "Only those just like us have something to teach us" (James 2, anyone?) 5) A child may well be "socially-immature" when unable to relate to peers. As for having "fun," I'm speaking of the ability to enjoy fellowship without having to have a dissertation every time. Sometimes, we just need to enjoy being a Christian and enjoy being with our "brethren."
Anonymous--Relevance is important. Reaching out to the "sick" is important. Bearing fruit and NOT hiding our lamp is important. "Dumbing down" was nowhere implied. Higher standards are certainly called for. Pride is not. Favoritism is not. "Middle ground" does not imply compromised beliefs. It does, however, imply engaging in the conversation. Jesus may not have come to the middle, but He certainly came to Earth (much beyond the middle, wouldn't you agree?!). Jesus reached people where they are. Standing on an ivory tower and saying, "I can't learn from you; I can't talk with you; etc," is also not what Jesus did. It's great to stand aside and snub our noses at others who don't think like us, but I don't have time for that. I'd much rather teach my kids to learn to love others. PLEASE HEAR ME--homeschooling parents are not the only ones guilty of this, nor are ALL homeschooling families guilty of this, but I hear these same arguments from Christian School Educators, Homeschoolers, etc.
Taralynn819--Great comments! I wish I had written this in the first place!!! Let me point out just one comment: "The goal is finding common ground without compromising my faith in order to encourage other believers and to share Chris with the lost . . . if parents give their kids the tools, they have to entrust the outcome to the lord and not shelter them from the world." Thanks for sharing.
KYTransplants--I like stirring up trouble--it's a gift of mine!!! :) I don't actually feel "beat up," but engaged in great conversation.
Let me close with these questions--
1) How do I, as a minister, help homeschoolers (parents and students) to relate to other kids and other teachers and to the life of the Church as a whole?
2) How do we use the gifts of homeschoolers and their families in our groups?
3) Is there a way to "cross the divide" between HS and "others"?
4) How do I help HS learn to engage and relate without being dragged down?
5) How can YOU, as HS parents, help the rest of us to welcome your kids into our groups without a sigh and a worry that you will stand back and judge, not come alongside and help (which I have seen as well)?
Thanks for engaging in the conversation. If I have offended, I do apologize and ask for your forgiveness.
Peace and greetings,