Prepare Your Kids — Don’t Just Protect Them — From Harmful Cultural Elements in the School System

School is in full swing, but for the 84% of Christian parents in America sending their children to a public school, an air of uncertainty lingers about their safety. We recently heard this question from a parent: 

“How can I best protect my child from harmful cultural elements while still keeping them in the public system?”

In an age where we have so many protections afforded to our children — helmets when riding a bike, crossing guards for crossing a busy street — our first thought when faced with a fear or danger is easily one of protection.

But what if instead of asking how we can PROTECT our children, we shift the paradigm and ask how we can PREPARE our children?

A Navy seal once said, “Always play offense – prepare before you get there.” The best protection from harmful cultural elements for your children while in the public school system is preparation. But, how do parents do that? In this blog, we outline four critical steps parents must take to prepare their children for the road ahead regardless of their schooling choice.

First, fill them with God’s Truth. Harmful cultural elements are rooted in untruth. So, the first key to preparation is replacing untruth with truth. Help your kids to know God’s truth so well that they can recognize untruth easily. Read the Bible with them on a regular basis. Attend a Bible-focused church regularly. Surround them with trusted adult mentors who will point them to God’s truth. See our blog article, 3 Things You Should Say to Your Child Every Morning, for some practical tips to put this idea into action. 

With this knowledge, your child will be able to recognize untruth, flag it, and respond well. This training and the next step are the most loving and protective things we can do as parents.

Second, provide safe places where children can share and ask questions. It may be discussing the tension they feel being in the spiritual minority, the confusion of being taught an opposing worldview, or even the difficulty of just being different. Go ahead and practice your “I’m not surprised face,” because responding with anger or fear is not going to help prepare them for the road ahead. In fact, it may shut down communication. Instead, learn to ask good questions, be a safe place to share, and seek God’s wisdom together.

Third, stand behind them. Not all situations will need action by parents, but keep in mind our religious rights are protected by the Constitution and we can speak up. Our kids need to know we have their back, especially when it comes to matters of their faith in a secular school system. In some cases, parents need to be willing to have hard conversations with those in authority. Consider that God may be calling you to get involved in that school system. Whether it’s being a part of the PTA or running for school board, some of us must step forward to be light in the school system and help guard our kids against harmful agendas and untruths.

Finally, cover your children and schools in prayer. Prayer is undoubtedly one of the most important contributions you can make in the life of your child and the public school system. Missionary Hudson Taylor wrote, “When we work, we work. When we pray, God works.” The infinite power and protection our children and schools need lies solely in the hand of God. Only He can perfectly protect and guide them. Likewise, only He can bring about the revival and spiritual awakening that we long for in our day. Prayer is not passive; it is essential.

As you and your children journey through another school year, do so with courage and joy. The struggle doesn’t need to be defeating or fear-inducing. To the contrary, this journey through public school may be the catalyst for a life-long relationship of trust between you and your child, and the training ground for a matured and tested life-long faith in God.

This critical topic is exactly why organizations, like Bible2School, exist. We believe that ALL children should have the opportunity to hear the Gospel message and respond to it. Because of the Bible2School program, children attending public school have the opportunity to hear about God’s Word DURING the school day. Want to learn more? See if a program is offered for your public school or learn how YOU can start a Bible2School program in your community.

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Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments I give you…Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road…Deuteronomy 6:5-7