Friday, April 26, 2019

A parent's goal and responsibility. . .

In the wake of the college entrance scandal, perhaps we will begin to discuss the difference between having a degree or even a degree from a elite university and getting an education.  That would be a good thing, to be sure.  It has been a long time in coming for America to have a conversation about what education has become, how degree mills have hampered the real goal and purpose of education, and the broken state of the American system of education.  But there are other things worth discussing.

How is it that parenting has become about making sure you child has all the doors opened to him or to her, protecting the child from responsibility or consequences of his or her actions, spending whatever is necessary to give the child all the technological tools available, and pursuing the illusive dream of happiness?  What happened to the larger issues of truth and morality and of faith and goodness?  We have all followed cars with bumper stickers lauding their children's achievements.  I also recall once following a car with a bumper sticker that said My kid can beat up your honor roll kid.  And then seeing one that said My kid is not on the honor roll but is a good kid. 

Mark Hemingway wrote a piece about the college entrance scandal and some other things in The FederalistYou can read it here.  I was struck by this paragraph:
... my wife and I have a very different view of what a proper education looks like than does American culture writ large. Our primary goal is that we raise children who continue to practice our Lutheran faith and have stable, child-rearing families.
Now there is a once common idea that has become a noble but uncommon today.  That is the idea that parenting is more about raising stable children, with honest values, with a strong Christian faith, and with the goal and desire to become honest and decent husbands, wives, and parents themselves.  I happen to have met the Hemingways (you might know Mollie from her work at The Federalist or as a commentator on Fox).  They are a high profile couple but they are faithful Lutherans, who are regulars at the Divine Service in their home parish, and who raise their children in this faith.  That was once more common than it is today.  I wonder if that is not a big part of the problem.  When the focus shifts from the core of what it means to parent to the peripherals, the children are not the only losers.  Our culture suffers when we fail to prepare our sons and daughters to be husbands and wives, when we fail to prepare them for their role as parents, and when we fail to instill in them the values that equip them to be good citizens and good neighbors.  But most of all, our children suffer when we fail to teach them to know God as Father and their Lord Jesus Christ and when they live outside the realm of His mercy and love.  So parents, bring your children to baptism, teach them the catechism, read to them the Scriptures, pray with them, and bring them to the services of God's House.  An Ivy League school is no substitute for this.


Carl Vehse said...

"...perhaps we will begin to discuss the difference between having a degree or even a degree from a elite university and getting an education."

That includes getting an education on the difference between an earned academic doctoral degree and misusing the associated title when one only has an honorary degree.

Anonymous said...

As a Lutheran, nothing bothers me more than to watch some of the more prominent families in the congregation choose to send their kids to the local public schools instead of supporting the LCMS grade school. I realize that for some people, the decision not to support the Lutheran grade school may be a financial one. However, for many others, it is not.

The most common reason for Lutherans to send their kids to public school: More sports opportunities! For some twisted reason, most parents still think that their little Johnny is going to get "a free ride" playing sports in college someday. So the kids have to start training hard now. They join the public school team, the local park district team, and maybe a private league or two. Got to plan Junior's future! I do wonder what kind of example some established LCMS families in the congregation are setting when their kids attend public school......

Meanwhile, at our local LCMS grade school, some of the most active parents are not even church members. Even though 50% of the student body in our LCMS school is non-Lutheran, we do have some families decide to join the church as a result of their kids' experiences at the school. I am grateful for my sons to be able to pray and learn about Jesus in school every day. It helps us out a lot at home, too.

Regarding a university education, the most successful graduates are the ones who have majored in job titles. Society as a whole would be better off if all students were taught to view the university as a trade school. Smart students study a trade for four years whether or not they realize it: Nursing, Accounting, Engineering, Radiology, etc. By contrast, a generalist degree is worthless. How to pay for such an education without ruining your kids financially is the tricky part. Does anyone have an answer to that?

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Anonymous said...

The two LCMS congregations in my town have long operated a joint school at one of their location, but serving both parishes. I had the impression that it was a great school, with good teachers and lots of good students.

Two days ago, my wife was with a group of ladies from that congregation (she is the only non-member in their Red Hatter group), and they were discussing the decision made the previous evening to close the school at the end of the current term. There was no clear indication as to the reason, except that it was a disagreement among the parish members.

The larger parish that has hosted the school has to Pastors, while the older, smaller parish only has one. I thought it was very telling that neither Pastor of the host parish had attended the congregational meeting while the Pastor of the second parish was there. Is this weak leadership, or what?

Fr. D+
Continuing Anglican Priest