The Degree that Makes People Apologize

It’s no secret that both of my degrees have something to do with theology/Christian ministry. If people ask me what I went to school for, or what I have my degrees in I tell them, and Kristen does as well. What is interesting is how some have reacted to this knowledge over the years.

Most of the time when it comes up in conversation with people I don’t know or don’t spend a lot of time around the reactions aren’t too interesting. They either have no idea of what my degrees are for, and if they do they usually think I’m going to be a priest. That’s fairly close, so we eventually wind up at an understanding.

Kristen has had a more interesting reaction to this information happen over the years. A number of times this has led people to be very concerned about their behavior or language in Kristen’s presence because of what I went to school for. This reaction is probably because Kristen interacts with them enough that they worry, but don’t necessarily know me all that well. Of course, this hasn’t been the reaction of everyone, but it has been a rather consistent reaction that has come up throughout the years.

To be honest this reaction gives me mixed feelings. It somewhat amuses me to think that people really care that much about what I think about them simply because of what I went to school for. I mean it’d be the equivalent of apologizing to me for every poor health decision you make because Kristen has a job in the medical field. It sounds pretty silly right?

As time has gone on though, this reaction has started to make me uncomfortable. It’s a reaction that reveals the impression Christians and that pastors and Christian leaders may give off. That we are highly offended by swearing, certain types of jokes, and maybe even more than that. Now certain types of jokes may be offensive and swearing may not be my favorite way of communicating, but at the same time I’m not sure I need to be apologized to, especially by proxy, for it.

My worry in all this is that this is a reaction to the way Christians and Christian leaders react to the world around them. That we’re quick to be offended and even be upset with others for not upholding our values. That we’d rather have people craft and hide behind masks instead of being honest with where they are right now.

If this is true then we’re encouraging dishonesty simply so that things can appear proper, sanctified, holy, or whatever word you want to fill in there. Isn’t there something profoundly wrong with that? It is this possibility that really troubles me about the reaction to what I studied in school. I mean I’m not even an official pastor at this point and that’s already the reaction?

The funny thing is, there isn’t much I can do to change this in any widespread manner. People have their impressions of Christianity and there is little I can do to change that for people I haven’t met yet. It comes from their experience or what they’ve heard or read about.

The only real solution is to get to know people, this is really the only way to have people know if their fears are validated or not. The only way people may move past the labels we represent, the subject we studied, or the profession we have is to replace it with knowing us. I’m not sure that makes me feel better about the reactions I get to my degree nor does it hinder my discomfort with the title of pastor before my name if that ever happens (but that may be something to talk about another time), but it is really the only way to combat it.

If we want to be viewed as people who are safe and worthy of respect and openness, we have to prove it. The reputations of both safe and unsafe Christians precede all of us. I have to be able to show what type I am, or at least if I’m more one than the other. It may be a rather slow and messy way to go, but it’s really the only one that I can think of.

 

 

 

The Battlefield of Schooling Options: Home Schooling

I was hoping to get this post out much week, but the last couple weeks wound up being fairly busy and I just didn’t have the time to get this finished. Better late than never right?

Here is my last schooling option that I’m going to take a look at. It is the home schooling option. It seems to me that this option has become an increasingly popular option as more and more people become dissatisfied with public schools for a variety of reasons. Maybe it has always been popular and I just wasn’t exposed to it when I was younger, but today I hear about it fairly often.

So naturally as we think about schooling options for Ryan this is one we’ve considered and thought through. As with all of the other options there are a host of pros and cons I’ve thought of. I by no means claim to know all of the nuances or if we’d really fall into the pros or cons mentioned, but they are out there and need to be considered.

Flexibility

Homeschooling is definitely the option that allows the most flexibility. Want to teach all through the year instead of three fourths of the  year? Go for it. Want to be able to take family trips to museums, libraries, historical sites, or other cities during the school year, and even incorporate that into your teaching? No problem. Want to additionally teach about your faith and connect it into certain subjects? You can do that.

Now there are constraints on this flexibility. Looking up info for my state (Pennsylvania) about homeschooling, parents are to have a portfolio of a students work for a year sent to the school district they’re currently living in to be reviewed. They’re also required to do standardized testing in grades 3, 5, and 8. There are also requirements for the education as well, here is an example from PA, but most of the subjects are fairly general and allow for some amount of freedom.

Homeschooling definitely allows for a flexible schedule that can be beneficial for some families wanting to pursue it as an option. There are a couple negatives that I could see spinning off of this positive, but I’ll come to those later, as I think they’re significant enough to have their own mention.

Hand Crafted Education

When you go to public or even private school there will be a classroom that contains more than just your child. This means that you’ll go the pace of the classroom and depending on the child that may be too slow, too fast, or just right. By going the home schooling route it allows for  you to cater to the needs of your child or children by having them be able to follow a path that matches where they are.

Need a bit more time on a certain subject? You can take that a bit slower or focus on it a bit more for a spell. Finding that the lessons are a bit too easy? Feel free to speed up and go a little further in that particular subject. These are both option if you’re taking a home school option. This point definitely ties in with the idea that home schooling is flexible, but I think is maybe looking at it from the child’s perspective more than the parent’s.

The drawback here is that your child may get too used to everything revolving around him or her. This won’t be the case forever. College, the workplace, and many aspects of life won’t speed up or slow down to their whims, so I could see where this could potentially also do harm once they’re done with the home schooling process.

With Your Kids All Day Long

This is an aspect that can either be positive or negative. To home school it requires being with your kids every day. Not only does that mean you have to be with your kids everyday, but homeschooling requires teaching your children.

Now, this could be a great thing. You love your kids and want to spend every moment with them and you never get tired of being around them or having to meet their every need or desire. Typing that out though, I wonder if there are any parents like that… but anyhow you have a good relationship and the thought of having them stay at home all the time doesn’t phase you. Maybe it’s even a bit exciting.

However, maybe you love your kids and need breaks from being around them. Maybe you kind of look forward to time alone when they’re napping or sleeping at night. The idea of teaching them every day and not having many breaks from them may seem quite daunting. I certainly think that’s understandable, but it will be a con to the idea of homeschooling.

Teaching is Harder Than You Think

I’ve taught in a number of settings before. I’ve led Sunday school classes, small groups, and prepared sermons, but I can tell you that these things aren’t necessarily easy to prepare for. Now I realize that these things aren’t necessarily equivalent, but I do think the general action of teaching is a difficult one no matter the venue, age, or subject.

Both Kristen and I are fairly well educated, but even we feel a bit inadequate to teach both our children the entirety of K-12. Admittedly, we’d probably be able to make it through elementary school fairly decent, but getting to high school I’m worried we wouldn’t do so well. I mean a positive would be that we’d be learning stuff that we’ve long forgotten, or maybe never learned in the past. The negative is that I’m not sure that’s the best for trying to turn around and teach it.

Not only does it require intelligence to teach and pass on information, but it also requires time and diligence. You’ll have to prepare lessons, set up trips, drive to trips, teach, and all of these things on a regular basis. So not only are you having to spend all the time with your kids, you’ll also be spending a good amount of time figuring out what you’ll be teaching, how you’ll want to teach it, and actually teaching. This will take quite a bit of time, I’m sure you could ask any professional teacher about such things and may or may not like what you hear.

Bottom line it seems that a lot of home schooling proponents think that teaching is easy. That teachers are just bozos that they picked up off the street to teach their kids. That’s why the school system is so bad right? I’m not sure it’s as easy as that, and if you think it is than I somewhat worry about the quality of education you’re really going to provide as a replacement.

Requires Flexible Parents

As I said above, flexibility is a positive of home schooling. However, it really requires a situation where one parent has to be available at all times. This could be that one parent stays at home, or that both parents have flexible jobs that they can arrange their hours in such a way to have one parent who is always able to be teaching the kids.

This won’t be a possibility for a lot of families out there. Many families have both parents working to pay bills and make ends meet. So there is a bit of a financial security aspect to home schooling. It maybe isn’t quite the same as private schooling where you have to pay tuition, but it could result in less income in general, which may be better or worse depending on the situation.

I’m already the one staying at home with the kids, so this wouldn’t necessarily be an issue with us, but I know that it could be with others. Of course I’m not sure if that’s my plan for the course of the next twenty or so years that it would require to school both of our kids either. So it’s worth noting as a potential negative.

One Voice to Rule Them All

Another potential negative from the positive of flexibility is that it can result in too much control on the parent’s part. Now this could look a number of different ways in my mind. Here’s a few that come to mind.

One of my personal fears of homeschooling is that homeschooling can simply become an echo chamber for what we believe. Homeschooling certainly can limit the number of voices that speak into our kids lives. While I understand the appeal to this, I worry that I could begin to believe that Kristen and I have the right opinion on everything, or that this is the message that will be picked up by our kids. I’m sure that many are able to overcome this hurdle easily, but it is a worry that I have about homeschooling.

Related to this is the fact that control can go to a parent’s head. When we’ve taken on quite a bit of control on what our child learns and how they learn it, I could see it difficult to give up control on other decisions and begin micromanaging our kids lives. Again am I saying that every homeschooling parent does this? No, I’m just saying a worry that I’ve had about it.

Some parents want to home school so they can control what their kid learns, that can lead to a lot of control in other areas too. I mean public education isn’t the only way to learn wrong things. It just makes me worry about how I or other home school parents would deal with that control. Especially as kids become teenagers and young adults and want and almost need to be able to have at least some responsibility and decision making power.

Potential Isolationist Policy

Another aspect where I worry about with homeschooling is that it seems like a lot of people do it as a form of separation, with overtones of being superior. I guess I worry about that tone a bit, particularly when it comes from Christian circles and treating anyone outside the acceptable lines and somehow inferior either explicitly or implicitly. Add in that your voices wind up being one of the potential few teaching voices in your kids life and you could very well pass those ideas along even if you don’t mean to.

I think that if we were to home school we would need to be very very intentional about getting invovled in our community with other programs and people. Something that right now we’re not very connected in, since we’ve been here for about five months, with about three of four of them being a nasty winter. So I worry that we could be unintentionally isolationist if we were to go the route of home schooling.

Wrapping It All Up

I’m getting long here so let me wrap up. As I’ve said with all three options there are potential positives and negatives for each option out there. I don’t agree with people who try to tout one option as completely superior or more godly or whatever than the other. In my opinion in probably depends on the parents, the kids, and the area that you’re in.

So this is true of homeschooling as well. I think that homeschooling has the potential to be amazing. I also think that it has the potential to be damaging and can even be abusive in some cases. People can use it to truly seek a better way to educate their children and others can use it to control every aspect of their child’s life to dangerous degrees. I’m also not sure of those who just want to home school to spite the government or whatever.

You may wonder after all this where my preference lies. Well to be honest I think that for us, public school would be my top choice. It is an easy way for us to engage with the community, you have trained professionals involved in the acts, and we currently live in a good school district. Do I think it is perfect or the only way? No, but it is probably my preferred way.

After that I’d probably choose homeschooling. As I’ve said we don’t have the best private schools around where we are, and I’d probably feel better teaching our kids ourselves than sending them to the ones locally. This would probably only be an option that we’d follow if we have severe problems with our local school district. It’s not something I’m planning on having to act on, but it would be what I’d probably turn to if something ever did come up.

Private schools, well they’d be my last choice. They’re the most expensive option and in looking at what we have locally, I wasn’t too impressed or they’re just further than what I think we should have to go for a private school. So that’s where I stand on these issues.

What do you think? Any pros and cons that you’ve dealt with? Some you’d add? Remove? Feel free to let me know.

 

 

The Battlefield of Schooling Options: Private Schools

Last post I focused on the option of public schools and gave my thoughts on some of the pros, cons, and realities of public school. This was the only option I’ve had personal experience with. So as I start to look at the option of private school, understand that I may not have as much knowledge as others.

So with that in mind let’s move into some of my thoughts on private schools. We’ll start with the aspects I find to be positive first and move from there.

Education Shaped By Faith

One of the big positives for many Christians who are thinking of schooling options is that many private schools have a religious component to them. This means that in addition to other subjects there will typically be instruction on Christianity and the Bible. Now, I know that not all private schools are religious, but there are a number that are and for many Christians that is a significant positive.

In addition to having the Bible and Christianity actively taught, Christian schools also typically hire people who are Christians and believe the faith. This could also be a positive in that it could lead to a safer environment for younger Christians to strengthen and wrestle with their faith. This potential positive has a negative flip side though that I’ll hit a little later.

Professional Teachers

I mentioned this as a positive for public schools, but I think it is also a positive for private schools as well. There is a bit of a caveat to this though, because these schools are private they don’t have to require the same standards for their teachers that public schools do. Now this could lead to teachers that are not quite as good, but just like public school teachers are not always good, neither do I think that this reality means that private school teachers are superior or inferior.

Another thing to note is that private school teachers make significantly less. I’m sure this could have different effects depending on the teacher. You may wind up with super committed teachers who teach simply because they love it and maybe have a spouse who makes enough that they don’t have to worry about income very much. The other is that you wind up with a lot of turnover because if you do have a teacher that is needing this as a main income, it is possible that teaching at a private school may not be enough income. I’m sure this depends on the size of the school and how much tuition is and everything, but  it is something to be aware of.

At the end of the day though these teachers are still showing up day in and day out to teach kids. This doesn’t guarantee anything one way or another, but I’d still say that having a group of dedicated teachers is still a positive in general. If you find out they are not so dedicated in actual interaction that’s a different story, but that’s true of any teacher.

A Smaller Social Element

Just like public schools, going to a private school will result in being able to socialize and mingle with other kids of a similar age group. Typically though it seems that private schools are much smaller than private schools. I know that Kristen had 13 kids in her graduating class. This could be a positive which leads to closer relationships and better education due to small class sizes.

However, it is also possible due to the small class size that if you don’t connect with the main “popular” group then you have a hard time making friends, because there may not be many people left after that. Just because it is a religious school doesn’t mean that the kids are necessarily nicer.

A Privilege to Attend

So let’s move to some of the things I view as negative aspects of private schools. Private schools all require tuition to go to. This can make going to a school like this an option only for those who have the spare money to afford a tuition or who can earn some kind of scholarship (if available) to attend.  Those who don’t have extra money around will likely be unable to afford a private school, especially if said family has more than one child.

Throw in the fact that we already pay a school tax for the public school and it makes me wonder about paying again for a private school. I’m sure some people may find it worth it, but I’m just not sure. It seems like this would greatly limit who could attend a private school and would be quite expensive to keep the kids enrolled especially when both would be attending school. Although I’m sure that prices can vary greatly considering where you are and the quality of school.

Still Doesn’t Mean You’ll Agree

This is the negative side of the idea that many public schools teach matters of the faith. In case you haven’t noticed there are many different expressions of Christianity out there. When tying a school to Christianity it seems like the impulse is to go down moralistic and legalistic paths very quickly. I know with Kristen’s school that a number of things weren’t allowed like dancing, movies, and I think even playing cards.

These things may be very silly in long term, but I worry about that kind of trajectory. Is morality and ethics a part of Christianity? Yes it is, but the heart is more that we are unable to reach God through our morality and “goodness” and must rely on God and particularly on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So this focus on morality can chafe against grace and reliance on what God has done for us. Also, often times our morality can go beyond what the Bible lays out and travel into man-made realms awfully fast.

There also may be more significant beliefs that the school may have different than you. For example, the closest private school that we know of to us is a Roman Catholic school. While I don’t question the faith and legitimacy of Roman Catholic believers, there are aspects of the Roman Catholic faith that I don’t really agree with. So their teaching of faith would be different than what our church and Kristen and I would teach on some matters.

So really there is still no guarantee that what your kids will be taught is what you actually believe, unless you happen to get lucky and find a school that is of your denomination and they believe everything the same as you. There isn’t always a guarantee that going onward despite your differences would be viewed as a positive thing either. Again I’m sure this depends on the school or even the teachers within a school, but I also could totally see push back over differences happening.

My Kingdom for a School

Depending on where you are, you may not even have many good options for schools. Besides Roman Catholic schools the nearest private schools we’ve been able to dig up are a half hour away. That’s a bit of a travel compared to the fact that we could walk to the local public school in less time than it would take to drive to a “local” private school.

I’m sure that the options vary quite a bit depending on where you are, but at our current location there aren’t many viable options for the taking. This is also assuming that the ones that are local are ones you can afford, you wouldn’t mind going to, and that they wouldn’t mind having you there. It may not always be very easy to find a private school around you for these reasons or others.

Two Down

So here are my thoughts on the private school option. As we’ve looked into it, it doesn’t seem like it is going to be an option that really works for us where we are. I still think it is a decent option, but I’m not sure it is any panacea for education. It, like any of the other options, has positives and negatives. Again I doubt I’m comprehensive here so I’d be glad to hear other thoughts.

Any other positives or negatives that you can think of for private schools? Anyone with positive or negative private school experiences? Anything else related to the topic? Feel free to comment.

 

The Battlefield of Schooling Options

I’ve always known that there are options of where to send your kids for school. Between Kristen and I we’ve pretty much hit all of the options. Kristen has been home-schooled and went to a private Christian school and well, I’m not so interesting as I only did the whole public education thing. I’ve also met and been friends with other Christians who have run the gamut either in their own education backgrounds or in the options that they are pursuing for their kids.

What I haven’t been prepared for is how heated some people get in their opinion about what the “right” way to educate your children is. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since any opinion, no matter how minor, can get heated pretty easily, and I think most of us agree that the education of our children isn’t a very minor detail. Not that everyone takes this kind of defensive or offensive posture with their decisions on this matter, but some certainly do.

Maybe it’s just that I don’t understand what all the fighting is over. I don’t like how some positions are the “Christian” position and others are the “worldly” position. I don’t think things are that simple at all. For those of us like me who are trying to weigh their options and figure out what they want to do with it all, it is very discouraging to find someone questioning your faith simply because you chose a path they don’t agree with. Sadly, it also reflects poorly on the choice you’re presenting like it or not.

To me there are positives and negatives to each path you may want to take. That’s certainly how I view it as Kristen and I have tried to figure out how best to proceed. There is no perfect way, and I’m a bit suspect of anyone selling a particular way as such. I’m even more suspect when people decide to toss others to the lions simply because they didn’t make the same choice they’ve made.

We’re wandering into this battlefield mainly because Ryan is not that far away from school age and we have to start thinking about it. This isn’t the only reason it’s been on my mind though. Another reason is that last weekend a couple of people posted a blog post about homeschooling on Facebook and it made me think about it even more. So between the two things I’ve been mulling over the various schooling options.

I originally thought to just stuff all three of the main options (public school, private school, and home-schooling) in this post and talk about it, but I don’t think that I’m going to do that. I’d either have a gigantic post or I’d try to cut off my thoughts too quick just to make it not go on forever.Instead I’m planning to make a little “series” out of it.

My thought is to give each of the options an entire post. Present the pros and cons (in my opinion), thoughts based on experiences, and other more general thoughts on each choice. It definitely won’t be comprehensive, it’s more just to get my thoughts out and try to find my way around the battlefield that this issue has become, at least for some people.

 

Education vs. Indoctrination

Every parent faces this significant challenge. How do we teach our children what we believe they should know? We wonder when we should start teaching letters and numbers. We ponder how hard to push such teaching. Personally, the area of education that I most wonder about, is that of educating my children in the faith that my wife and I hold. How to teach them what the Bible says without reducing it to mere morality. How to teach them about God and yet allow space to let the mystery and the greatness of God to still have room in the discussion. Really to teach about God without acting like I know it all or that I even think we can know it all. I want my children to follow God because they believe in Him and want to follow Him more than to simply make us happy. This is not to say it wouldn’t make me ecstatic to have two children who grow up committed to God and never leave those teachings behind, but I still worry about how that will all play out.

I guess this worry gets exacerbated when I read some atheists basically say that teaching your children about religion at all is indoctrination.  This hits me with a weight that is greater than I like to admit. The weight doesn’t last long, but it makes me think about how does one educate what they believe and not have it be indoctrination? I guess it depends on your definition of indoctrination really. If it is the idea of brainwashing and not wanting any critical thought at all, then I agree that I don’t want to do that. What seems to be meant by these comments is more the idea that teaching your children about the faith you hold is indoctrination as brainwashing, period.

The problem I have with this is that, well wouldn’t that be impossible? Even the atheist will most likely teach or not teach things that are in line with their own beliefs about the world and how it came to exist. Now I’m not saying that indoctrination of the brainwashing and lack of critical thinking type isn’t the case in some places, but simply teaching ones beliefs to their children in the hopes of them believing doesn’t seem like indoctrination to me, even if it was a belief system that I didn’t personally believe.

This argument of teaching religion as brainwashing would give me pause a bit longer honestly, if the church wasn’t losing a lot of people who were raised within a religious home. In the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey it says that 55% of all of those who claimed no religion were raised in a household where both parents identified with the same religion; 18% came from households where both parents were religious but identified with different religions; and another 10% held a mixed parent household with one identifying with religion and the other not. That puts the percent of “nones” that had some religious experience in their household at 83%. Now these percentages are not just for Christians, but the study also goes on to say that of the new “nones” in that survey 83% of them previously identified themselves as Christians or some denomination within the Christian faith.

It is interesting and disheartening (from a believer’s standpoint) stuff, here is the link to the study so you can see the numbers yourself http://commons.trincoll.edu/aris/publications/american-nones-the-profile-of-the-no-religion-population/. This is just the part focused on the “Nones”, I’m putting it here because other articles have mentioned it, and provide a link, but don’t actually link to the study which just seems weird to me. You can also find the more general study on religion on that site as well. Anyhow, my point in saying all that was if just teaching faith is brainwashing, well let’s face it religions are doing a terrible job at it, and in particular Christianity.

I sometimes wonder, but admit this is a pretty sweeping generalization, that we tend to use labels like indoctrination for ideas we don’t like being taught. I’m not saying that this is just the tool of atheists or people who don’t agree with me on religion. I’ve seen this rhetoric at use to condemn the public school system by Christians too. We don’t like the way a particular thing is being taught and so we call it indoctrination.  We think it is indoctrination mostly because it something we don’t believe. Just like with religion I’m sure that there are teachers and administrators who do want to “brainwash” kids to believe just like they do about this issue or that. I think though we toss this word around a little too much to be taken seriously though.

As someone who was educated in the public school system I wonder what the hubbub is about. I suppose that a lot could have changed in ten years, but if not then well what’s the problem? On the other side, as someone who was raised in a nonreligious family, but now am a committed Christian, I question the “wisdom” of those who claim that faith is only a product of what we were indoctrinated with as children. Jumping to the use of indoctrination so fast and in sweeping generalizations often serves to discredit the view rather than strengthen it, in my opinion. It is one of those loaded words that has a negative gut reaction in our culture and is used that way quite abundantly, mainly to create a negative reaction to something before you even get to what that subject is.

This leads me to a very significant question, what is the difference between indoctrination and education? When we learn our ABC’s are we not being indoctrinated by the English language? Wikipedia on its article on indoctrination says that the difference between the two is “that the indoctrinated person is expected not to question or critically examine the doctrine they have learned.” Well I don’t remember being taught to question or critically examine the ABC’s or many other of the classes that I took in elementary and even high school. It was mostly just fact memorization or at least memorization of things presented as fact. I don’t say that to disparage public school, because honestly I don’t know how much I could have critically examined things in elementary school or even the early years of high school. We still call this education, unless you’re of that mindset that public schools are involved in the brainwashing kind of indoctrination, even though most of the one’s receiving such education are unable to question it or critically think about it. I remember being taught about evolution and the big bang in school, but never really remember being taught to question it or critically think about it. It was just given as irrefutable fact and ignored that even we’re not entirely sure how it all started and that we don’t have all the details figured out.

Honestly, I’m not sure if I have an answer for my question of what the difference between education and indoctrination is at least practically. The idea that indoctrination is where you are not expected to question or critically examine the doctrine, or information, they learned is a nice one, but somehow when I think about it practically that isn’t the way that most education is framed. Honestly, even to think critically about something you often have to have some sort of framework in place to be able to compare, contrast, and evaluate. That framework has to come from being indoctrinated in some way at some point. Doesn’t it?

Maybe the negative kind of indoctrination is better presented as forced adherence to particular information using tactics of fear, manipulation, and even violence. So say I grew up being taught about God, and I asked my parent, “How do you know God really exists?” If the response to such a question was “Good Christians don’t ask those questions,” or “You’ll go to hell if you even think about asking that.” That in my mind is indoctrination as a negative, it is a reaction that tries to shut down the question using fear and doesn’t engage it at all. Where, in my mind, good indoctrination or education would be saying “Well there is no absolute proof, but <fill in the blank> makes me pretty sure that God exists.” This is engagement and allows for honest question asking. You maybe aren’t changing your belief about God, or trying to have your child believe opposite than you, but are at least encouraging open discussion about doubt and serious questions while leaving space for your child to make a decision about that statement.

I want to teach my children about God, the Bible, Jesus, and Christianity in a way that is open for discussion. This doesn’t mean that all the info is up for grabs, but I want to be able to discuss doubts and issues of faith with my children, if they need to. I don’t want to simply brainwash them or shut down their honest inquiries about God or the Bible, even if they are critical. So will I be indoctrinating my children, yes I suppose I will. But you’re indoctrinating yours too, in some way. You’ll call it education, and in reality so will I. Let’s just hope that we don’t use indoctrination as word to evoke negative feelings just because we disagree, that wouldn’t be too cool. I’m fine with fighting brainwashing and use of fear, manipulation, and even violence to adhere to particular information, but on all fronts not just religious ones.

What do you think? Think this is a fair look at indoctrination and education? Anything you’d put different? Let me know, preferably as nicely as possible.