Oh Calcutta!

Imagine if you will a young couple with small children, elementary age. They say to each other,
“Honey, we want our kids to be able to handle the world, to rise to its challenges, and to be the salt of the earth. We also want our young children to be exposed and grow strong by being so exposed, and to have the strength to resist the world.”
“So here’s what we need to do, each day, at 8am we’re going to drop young Johnny and Sally off on the streets of Calcutta. There, we’ll leave them alone; we won’t stay to protect them. We’ll let them go find their own friends. If they’re tempted, we’ll let them resist or not, depending on their own strength. If there are diseases, well a good immune system can be developed in no better way than exposure, right? If they are led astray by evil adults, well’, well just make sure that we take care of them in the evening and weekends to counter that. If they eat garbage for lunch every day on the streets of Calcutta, we’ll just be sure to give them a Flinstones vitamin on Sunday to make up for it. ”
“And each afternoon at 3:30, when we retrieve them from the streets of Calcutta, we’ll be really good parents and spend “quality time” with them, asking them about their day and what they learned that day, on the streets of Calcutta.”
I’ve was shocked to listen to the stuff my children were bringing home from the local elementary school.
During the Christmas season while driving my second grader at the time, I hear him singing. What’s that you’re singing I ask, he says “oh, a song about Ramadan”. “Ramadan?” I reply, and he says, “You know, that other Christmas, the one for Muslims”.
Then on another day, I’m my kindergartner at the time, and we were discussing in particular his repeated “black marks” for misbehavior in class. I told him that disappointed me as a father and I wanted him to make me proud. I told him I knew he could be a good student and I was sure he would. Then I taught him and required he memorize, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. I told him the next time he was “acting goofy” in class to think of what I’d think about his behavior and to say that verse to himself for strength to be good.
Sounds terrific you’re probably thinking, but you know what he said to me?
He said, “Daddy, isnโ€™t the really only important thing that you believe in yourself?” I nearly keeled over. “Where’d you hear that I asked?” “From my teacher, at school” was the reply.
That’s not just mere book learning, that’s a philosophy of life. “Religion”, like the truth of Christianity, is banned, but humanistic, relativistic self-esteem philosophies are taught by the teachers themselves.
Now, mind you, I’m describing a brand new school, with all the latest facilities, in a posh neighborhood and part of the County’s best school district. The student teacher ratios are less than 20:1 and the school has among the most involved PTAs in the district.
But what good is all that if my children are taught erroneous philosophies of life? How should I measure a school? By the number of computers in the classroom or by the content of the lessons?
And it comes from the other children too.
My kindergartner asked me if “ghosts” and “spirits” really haunt houses. And I hear my second grader volunteer the answer “only if they die in the house and someone was mean to them”. I ask, “How do you know that?” and he says “I heard it from Neal, my friend at school”.
Sure, no one is going to grow up and not hear about such things, but I thought I was in control of what my children were taught, but I was not.
Even in a physically safe environment, at a highly rated school, I’d left my kids alone on the spiritual equivalent of the streets of Calcutta! They were all by themselves without me holding their hands. I let them fend for themselves. I let them eat spiritual garbage and while thinking a little Awanas and Sunday School on the weekend is going to make up for it. Is it any different from leaving ones kids on the streets of Calcutta to leave them on the philosophical, spiritual and religious equivalent?
So shortly after these events, now 10 years ago, I enrolled them at Maranatha Christian School.