You can get Morality at any School

By Joel A. Hess

You can get morality anywhere

Recently our Christian day school board discussed plans for marketing our wonderful product to our community. What sets our school apart from other similar enterprises? We pursue excellence in education, but so do others. Some might say that a Christian day school offers higher expectations regarding morality. The kids will learn strong Christian values of right and wrong. They probably won’t have to deal with the riff raff of public school. They likely won’t be tempted by drugs and sex. Plenty of parents probably think the same as they drop their kids off at the door of St. So and So Lutheran School.

But let’s be honest. Parents can get morality anywhere. Of course, there are various degrees of success in this area, and there are some moralities that are more complete than others. But seriously, if morality is the only difference between a private school and the rest, there are probably cheaper institutions for your child. Christians don’t have a monopoly on good behavior, after all.

It’s important for a Christian School to teach right and wrong, Christ-like citizenship, and Samaritan neighboring. But a Christian school has something far greater to offer that no other learning institution can: real forgiveness, real hope, real peace, Jesus.

At the end of the day, when the student looks into the mirror and doesn’t see the good person everyone calls her, she will treasure Jesus’ words that tell her “it is finished.”

At the end of the day, when a student realizes that no matter how hard he tries he can’t always be the best, the smartest, the strongest, he will be comforted by remembering his Baptism, his new identity in Christ.

At the end of his life, when the student faces death itself, neither morality nor natural knowledge will calm his heart except Jesus’ words, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will never die.”

These aren’t words simply for our “spiritual” life, as if one can actually separate the mind, body, and spirit. While that distinction may be helpful as categories for conversation, we don’t really function that way in reality. Knowing Christ, a mental activity, affects the body and how we use it as much as the spirit. Our outlook on life has a great effect on our psychology, even our body. Knowing that God loves and forgives us in Christ can certainly give a student a peace that relieves them of physical and mental stress.

Every school runs with a certain worldview, whether it is explicit or not, even a spiritual worldview. By not teaching about God, a school actually teaches a lot about God. By saying nothing about God, a school teaches that God’s existence is either not certain or does not matter.

The teaching of Scripture, especially Jesus’ death and resurrection, not only places a student in the only reality that actually exists, but plants their feet in a perpetually positive reality; God is for them. A Christian school does not excel in behavior management any better than other schools. But it does excel in truth and reality more than other schools! And the truth and reality is, God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him will live eternally!

The world needs these sort of schools more than ever!

One thought on “You can get Morality at any School

  1. Growing up and attending Catholic schools from first to ninth grade, I have often wondered why it was mainly the Catholics, more than Protestants, who focused on educating children and advancing the Christian worldview. Why is this so? In every community on Long Island and throughout the metropolitan NY area, scores of Catholic parishes each had their own elementary schools. Even Catholic high schools were available. In the early years, the parishioners supported Catholic education, and the cost to families was reasonable. Eventually, some Catholic schools became too expensive for many Catholics. However, when they were affordable, families like mine sent all of their children to Catholic school. I did not attend any public school except for a few months when the family was moving, and then from tenth to twelve grade in high school. The interesting part of attending parochial school was that the focus was on education and the promotion of lifelong scholarship and keen study habits. In Catholic school, there was no excuse for failing to do one’s homework, or prepare for tests. In ninth grade, we studied Latin, and religious education was important throughout the parochial school experience.
    I know there was always Lutheran schools as well, but even they are now in short supply. I think the fault lies in the unwillingness of parents to support these institutions with hard cash, and without full support, they cannot flourish as they once did. We have become too secularized, even in the Christian community. Parochial education is important, but not as much as it was viewed in the past. The consequences are clearly seen in the morality and ethics our society now embraces.

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